Saturday, July 07, 2007

Genre Movie Image of the Day: The Giant Claw poster!


If this movie wasn't used on MST3K, it should've been.


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

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Here's The Atom #1... which I'm posting just because it's an "a"-title... that is, a title beginning with the letter "a", probably from my 1-10 files.

One minor quibble... a "Venus's Flytrap"??? Every reference I've ever seen to these things calls them Venus Flytraps, no possessive needed.

And honestly, how big a threat would a carnivorous plant be to a guy who, even while six inches tall, can increase his mass to 180 lbs?


Friday, July 06, 2007

Classic Collectible of the Day!


Batman and Robin Marionettes.

Let me just type that again. Batman and Robin Marionettes.

Just in case you have a fantasy of what if Gerry Anderson had made the 1960s Batman TV show, now you know what it would look like.

Weirdest. Batman. Item. Ever.

(Now, if they had produced an all-wooden Flash marionette, I would not only understand it, but I'd want it!)


Genre Movie Image of the Day: King Ghidorah!


Or, if you prefer, Ghidrah... either spelling has been used... as well as Gidrah, I'd imagine!

I don't have to tell you how big a fan I am of the Toho monsters, do I?


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

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Yes, it's Avengers #4, with the return of Captain America, one of my favorite Marvel Silver Age covers of all time!

Thanks to the Way Out Junk blog, you can download the Golden Records book and record version of this classic comic. I already downloaded it myself and listened to it... and I've got to say, if I wasn't fairly familiar with the book already, I'd have had a hard time keeping track of who was speaking at various times! The voice for Cap is just plain wrong.

I'm hoping that eventually Way Out Junk will come up with an MP3 of the Fantastic Four #1 Golden Records album (which I used to have long ago, minus the reprint comic, of course) or any of the other ones that were done! These were the precursors of the 1970s Power Records book and record sets!


Geek-Related Stuff About T3 (Older Foster Child)

So, if you've been reading the "Building Our Family" blog about Jessi and I doing foster parenting, you know we've got two boys placed here, whom we refer to on the blog as T1 (the one-year-old) and T3 (the three-year-old). Both their names start with "T," hence the numbers.

Anyway, when we were first told about T3, we were informed that T3 loved Spider-Man, which was good news for me, being a comic book geek! But by the time he was placed with us, when we mentioned Spider-Man, he told us that "Spider-Man is naughty."

This confused us, because we couldn't figure out where he got that idea. Perhaps it was from commercials for Spider-Man 3 (I can't imagine someone taking a 3-year-old to see Spider-Man 3)... his former foster mom, N, told us in a recent email that she didn't let him watch super-heroes, because in her experience, it made children violent. (She also claimed she only let him watch certain cable channels, so I don't know how he could've seen commmercials for that movie)

Well, I'm sure you'll agree with me that that's a complete load of crap. If a child is going to be violent, they're going to be violent. But I'm not going to go off on a rant here about parents who won't let their kids watch the same cartoons they used to watch as kids and didn't have their minds warped.

Instead, I'll talk about the success I've had with the geekification of T3, if you will! Not too long after he moved in with us, we needed to keep him a bit occupied while we were getting T1 to bed (or something). Since I have Krypto, we figured that maybe he'd like watching the Krypto the Superdog DVD with the pilot episode that I got free with one of the Krypto action figures.

Well, he just loved that... he's watched it at least 20 times since then, and we're going to be ordering the boxed sets of Vol. 1 and 2 from Amazon in the next few days.

The next victory? He loves Spider-Man again, and it's all thanks to the 1966 Spidey cartoons, which I naturally have the DVD set of! He watches at least one episode each day before story time.

He-Man, on the other hand, he wasn't impressed with (I have all the He-Man episodes, plus the New Adventures, on DVD thanks to my transcription work). I'm going to try him on Super Friends next, once I get the original series on DVD (I only have Vol. 1 of Challenge of the Super Friends currently).

One of these days, I'll try him out on some Popeye and Looney Tunes, too... and maybe the 1960s live-action Batman movie.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gettin' Some Link-Love!

Well, two of my favorite blogs have mentioned me and my column lately...

First up, there's the always-cool Patrick Owsley's Cartoon Art and More, with his posting of some of the "Comics They Never Made" covers which I created using some of his artwork (with his permission, natch), and which will be appearing in the not-too-far future in "Cover Stories"...

And then over on This is Pop Culture, John there mentions the Batman merchandise from the Montgomery Wards catalog!

Granted, some of these may be old news to you guys (especially if those posts led you here -- in which case, welcome!)... but this is the first night I've had a chance to read anyone else's blog in some time!


Classic Collectible of the Day!


I have no idea if the battery-powered Batmobile seen here from the 1966 Montgomery Ward's catalog is one of the ones I've posted before or not... I just wish I had one.


Genre Movie Image of the Day!


Ah, Forbidden Planet... one of the true classics of sci-fi movies, and probably more of an inspiration to George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry than either of them ever acknowledged!

I'll bet I've never written about the first time I saw this movie. Some of you may remember I used to, in my youth, belong to a science fiction club based out of the Tacoma area. Actually, there were two clubs... the first was a Star Trek club, and when the Puget Sound Star Trekkers basically evaporated, our local club transformed into a general sci-fi club, with a loose affiliation with the Northwest Science Fiction Society.

I don't remember if we were still part of PSST or if it was after that, but about a year or two after Star Wars was released, one of the Seattle theaters was doing a revival showing of Forbidden Planet. This was probably, as I said, about 1979 or 1980. I'd heard about this movie, but had never seen it before, so I was happy when our group decided to plan a road trip to Seattle to attend as a club!


I was spellbound watching this wonderful movie... Robby became one of my favorite characters in the movies (I can kind of understand why some people confuse him with the Robot from Lost in Space... most people don't pay that close attention to anything around them, y'know).

I am very happy that nobody has decided to try to remake this movie these days, too... you just know that Robby would be CGI'ed (as well as the Beast from the Id) and all the charm would be lost, because he'd be completely redesigned (kind of like the movie version of Lost In Space's robot bore only a vague resemblance to the original).


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

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We do seem to be in my "Bad Dog!" files now, as witness the above cover with Ace, the Bat-Hound, appearing to help one of those strange aliens that plagued Gotham City during this period of Batman's career.

But I'm not going to talk about the alien era of Batman. Nope. This just reminds me of one of my "Comics They Never Made" ideas that I haven't done yet, but which I hope to some day, and could be a lot of fun.

It occurred to me that all I've done to date are Gold Key, Dell, and Charlton CTNM covers... not a single DC or Marvel title. So, I have been thinking about what I could do there that would be a bit different from what my Cover Stories readers have come to expect from me.

And then inspiration struck. I could create a "missing" issue of Showcase. "Missing," at least, in the sense that it would be a different issue than the same one in our reality. Maybe it would take the place of the "Windy and Willy" issue that was just altered Dobie Gillis reprints, for example.

The first idea (and only one, so far) that I had for that was a teaming of the extraordinary animals of the DCU in the 1960s. Yes, I know, there was the Legion of Super-Pets, and that's all well and good... but that excludes all present-day animals that don't wear red capes with yellow s-shields! What about Ace, the Bat-Hound, or Detective Chimp, or Rex the Wonder Dog?

And I know there were other animals that appeared in the DCU books... heck, the Golden Gorilla from Congorilla could be brought into this, without being possessed by Congo Bill!

The cover idea I have in mind would show the JLA laying on the floor of their cave headquarters, with Gorilla Grodd facing the reader, announcing that his evolutionary anti-ray (or something like that... basically it affects humans or humanoids only) has let him beat the JLA, and now the world is his... while the assembled animals are charging onto the scene, thinking, "That's what you think!"

First thing that's stopped me from going further on this is coming up with a decent name... Justice League of Animals is just not right. I was tempted to call them the Power Pack, as a "pack" is a term for a group of animals, but that's just canines. Maybe the Mighty Menagerie, or the Zoo Crew (with a nod in the text that "maybe this inspired Roy Thomas") or something like that.

Anyway, there it is.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Classic Collectibles: 1966 Montgomery Wards Batman Items!


Wow, is this Batman costume pathetic or what? But I suppose at the time this was the best the manufacturer wanted to do. No gloves, no boots, the mask is a two-piece hood and domino mask, no decent utility belt, no scallops on the bottom of the cape, and they've got Batman's name on the insignia!

I tell you, if my son wants to be Batman for Halloween, you can be darn sure he'll have a much better-looking costume than this one!


Now, doesn't this Batman game look like it'd be more fun than the Superman ones I've previously posted? I can't say if it plays well at all, since I've never seen a copy of it before... but I do have a fridge magnet of the box art, and it looks great in color.


If they made this Batmobile today, I would've already bought it for my kids. 'Nuff said.

More Batman items from the 1966 Montgomery Wards catalog to come!

Genre Movie Images!

Destination Moon Still


Wow, it's been a long, long time since I've seen this movie! I believe it was loosely based on one of Robert A. Heinlein's books, and for the most part, it was pretty accurate in showing what a moon mission would look like!

Doctor Cyclops Still


Speaking of movies I haven't seen in a long, long time... Doctor Cyclops is another one of those movies in which people get shrunk, and as long-time readers know, I always dig movies in which things are shrunk or enlarged!

Escape from the Planet of the Apes Still


Now, this one I've seen more recently! I am a huge fan of the original Planet of the Apes and its spin-offs, and for a while, I was regularlly checking the cable channels to see when they'd be showing them. Bizarrely, there was a one-week period of time when Planet of the Apes, Beneath, Conquest and Battle were all shown, but not Escape! They finally got around to showing it about three months ago, but I forget if it was Sci-Fi or a different channel that broadcast it.

I'm guessing that you guys are all familiar with the plot behind this, but just in case you're not: At the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the mutant's Omega Bomb was set off by a dying Taylor, destroying the future Earth. But as we found out early on in this entry, Cornelius and Zira managed to find Taylor's old ship, and with the help of another Ape scientist, managed to get it running so they could flee their planet. Somehow, they hit the time warp Taylor (and the astronaut featured in Escape, whose name escapes me now) went through, but in reverse, landing on Earth in the early 1970s.

Things are then reversed... the humans, of course, are the dominant species, and everyone looks at the Ape-O-Nauts in fear, especially when they learn they're from Earth's future... and that Zira is pregnant! One man in particular decides that the apes must be killed to save mankind, but a few humans help them escape the zoo they're being held at, and they hide out on a deserted ship.

However, it's discovered where they are, and Cornelius, Zira, and a baby chimp are all killed (the scientist died earlier).

But all is not lost! The baby chimp who died wasn't the real child of C & Z! Their child, named Caesar, was placed in the hands of Ricardo Montalban, who plays the owner of a travelling circus, and as the movie comes to an end, Caesar says "Ma-ma!"

Roddy McDowall returned to play Cornelius here, having had to hand the part to someone else in Beneath, due to a prior engagement. He'd return in the remaining two films to play a grown-up Caesar, and also in the live-action TV series to play Galen!


Comic Book Covers!

Since it seems that I'm still having issues posting on a regular basis, thanks to my new fatherhood status, here's a multiple posting!

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So here's Batman Family #1, from the era of DC's Giant books, which supplanted the earlier 100-Page Super-Spectaculars (and would, before long, give way to Dollar Comics). If I recall correctly, the only new feature in this issue was the Batgirl-Robin story, in which they battle the reanimated Benedict Arnold (hey, it was the Bicentennial, after all). I think Mike Grell did the interior art as well as the cover. Grell was still learning the ropes here (as well as in his Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Legion stories), but you can still see his style emerging, which would become full-blown in the pages of Warlord.

Batman Family was one of DC's best-selling books, from what I've read... in fact, it even outsold Detective Comics! When the Dollar Comics format started, DC actually considered cancelling Detective, because it was selling so poorly, believe it or not... but then, someone pointed out that Detective was the book that gave DC its name, and to cancel that would be madness. Since Batman Family was selling so well, Detective got converted to Detective Comics Featuring The Batman Family, and all was well and good.

At least, until the Dollar Comics format went away, then Detective went back to just Batman stories (without even a back-up... well, that may have gone away a while after that).

While we're on the subject of Batman...

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Here's Batman 100, which features several different covers from the previous 99 issues. This was pretty much the norm for DC's big number books, or at least the super-hero titles. I think even the "anniversary" issues in the 1970s used the same kind of format, although by then, the cover reprints would be background for a new piece of artwork!

I wonder if any kids buying this issue thought it contained reprints of those cover-featured issues?

And last, for no apparent reason...

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Here's Captain Marvel Adventures 105, which I believe I also have in my "Bad Dog!" files. You'd never see Superman intimidated by a non-super-powered dog, no matter how big it was... but here, Cap reacts much like any of us would! Based on the size, I'd guess the big dog is a Great Dane.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Genre Movie Images!

Poster: Curucu, Beast of the Amazon!


Curucu, Beast of the Amazon is yet another of those many, many monster movies that I've never seen (at least, not to my knowledge!).

I do have one bit of trivia about this movie, though: Bevery Garland, the heroine of the picture, later went on to play Lois Lane's mother in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (actually, the second to play her... originally, I think Noel Neill had the part). She also owns and runs a Holliday Inn!

The Day the Earth Stood Still!


And now, a very special presentation! And isn't this poster one of the most misleading of any classic SF movie?


One of the first movies I bought on DVD was this one, The Day The Earth Stood Still. Actually, I think I bought it twice, because I had one copy, then sold it when I was out of work, and then latched on to another one!


It's been one of my favorites for many years, almost surprisingly so because there's really very little special effects work in it, compared to most sci-fi movies of the period!


I suppose it's the script, more than anything else, that makes it a classic. The acting is... well, in my opinion, some of the acting (especially by the leads) doesn't really work all that well, at least taken out of context. And, too, there's a few moments in the script that, if you think about it too much, makes one wonder...


But still, when it comes down to it, the movie is a classic, and one that made director Robert Wise's career, at least in the eyes of genre movie fans!


Bonus Barris Picture!


Here's the real Munsters car, which of course was designed by George Barris, who also designed the Batmobile, the Monkeemobile, the Black Beauty, and pretty much all the cool TV and movie cars of the 1960s and 1970s.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Classic Collectibles of the Day (3-in-1)


Aurora's Vampirella kit... probably one of the hardest to track down these days, eh?


The classic "Big Frankie" seen above was actually used in an episode of the Munsters!

And now... the first page of the Montgomery Wards Toy Catalogs that I thought you'd be interested in!


This is the 1955 catalog, featuring Lone Ranger stuff.

Three-In-One Comics Cover of the Day!

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I've never read a single tale of the Black Terror, but from what I've seen, he appears to be kind of a Batman imitation. Cool costume design, isn't it? I especially like the bands separating the boots, gloves, and trunks from the bodysuit.

Note, too, that the Nazis (I'm guessing that's who their battling here) don't feel compelled to put English-language signs on everything, unlike the Nazis in the Timely WWII books!

Next up:

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Yes, it's another comic with "Black" in the title... gee, ya think I'm posting first issues of books in sort of alphabetical order?

Black Lightning is probably one of Tony Isabella's proudest creations in comics, and I can't say that I blame Tony one little bit for feeling this way! Even though Jefferson Pierce's alter ego has really made very few appearances in DC books since his first series was unceremoniously cancelled (and the same for the second one, too... funny how Black Lightning's solo series didn't last when Tony, the creator of the book, got kicked off it), there's still a pretty good-sized fan following for BL. In fact, Tony's mentioned many times how he'll get asked about Black Lightning more than anything else he's ever done in comics!

Hmmm... Black Terror, Black Lightning... how about Black Cat?

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I wonder how many of you thought that when I wrote "Black Cat," you thought I was referring to Felicia Hardy, instead of the character pictured above? Hopefully few, if any! Not that I've got anything against the Spider-books' Black Cat... heck, to be honest, I don't think I've even read anything she was in for at least five years... but I just prefer the Linda Turner incarnation you see above!

Did you know that the Black Cat made subsequent appearances elsewhere, being called "The Masked Marvel"? I used to have this book... "Mad Peck Studios" or something like that, which told the story behind it... I don't recall too many details right now (because I haven't read the book in a long time, and sold it long ago), but she was used in it, with the different code name, all right!


Sick and Tired...

...literally, I've been sick as well as tired, too much so to post the past few days, but I'll do my best to get caught up here tonight!