Saturday, March 29, 2008

Movie of the Week: Son of Frankenstein!

As you can see, this week's film spotlight is on "Son of Frankenstein," and it's going to be a bit different this week, because there seems there's no YouTube or any other embeddable video available to include in this post!

son of frankenstein

"Son of Frankenstein" would be Karloff's third and final time playing the Monster, although it wasn't his last part in the Frankenstein Saga, returning in "House of Frankenstein" in a different role, which we'll get to when that's the movie of the week!

son of frankenstein

From what I've read, Karloff felt that the way the series was going, the Monster was going to become more of a monster, with none of the characterization or pathos seen in the first two movies... or even "Son". And, indeed, the Monster is more of a lumbering beast after this entry.

(Belgium poster)


This movie would also mark Bela Lugosi's first appearance in the Frankenstein series. Of course, you know he'd originally turned down the role of the Monster for the first movie, but now, he's entered the series as Ygor, the hunchbacked criminal who's befrended the Monster... and indeed, as others have noted, Lugosi really shines in this part -- it may sound presumptuous on my part, but I think Ygor was Lugosi's high point in horror movie acting, not Dracula! There's a lot more "meat" in the Ygor role, if you ask me.

(French movie card)


Basil Rathbone, best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, plays the titular character, Wolf, the son of Victor (although he's called Henry here). He brings his family with him to the site of his father's experiments, and ends up reviving the monster, who wasn't destroyed when his father's lab was exploded by the Monster.

(Italian poster)


Well, okay, so the monster didn't need revival as much as a recharge. Ygor, who had been hung for his criminal acts, had his neck broken by the hanging, but didn't die, so they let him go (apparently the legal system is a bit skewed in that country). He'd been hanging around the ruins of Castle Frankenstein, and discovered the Monster. Befriending the creature, Ygor plans to use the Monster to wreak revenge on those who convicted him...


...which he pretty much does as soon as the Monster's recharged by Wolf! Frankenstein, of course, discovers what's been going on, and attempts to stop things, but by this point, Ygor's had the Monster kidnap Wolf's young son (who trusts the Monster implicitly... the kid has no friends except for the nanny, after all).


Another memorable character is portrayed by Lionel Atwill as Inspecter Krogh, whose backstory is that the Monster pulled his arm off as a child (an act that seems way out of character for the Monster, who seemed to always treat children tenderly... but perhaps there was more to the story than the movie presented?). Krogh was brilliantly parodied in "Young Frankenstein."


Krogh, naturally, suspects that Wolf is going to try to duplicate his father's experiments, and the good Inspector is right -- in fact, Krogh visits the Frankenstein home after Wolf's revived the Monster!


The Monster is all-too-easily dispatched by Wolf, who swings on a rope to knock the Monster into the sulphur pit that is accessible via a large hole in the laboratory, presumably to be gone forever, but we know better, don't we?


As is the case with at least all the earlier Frankenstein movies, the production values on this movie were very good, and the lighting is just plain amazing, as are the sets. The kid aside, the acting is very enjoyable, and the makeup still looks great on Karloff!

(Yugoslavian poster)

(Spanish poster)

Overall, it's a very enjoyable movie, and a worthy installment in the series. Lugosi would be back as Ygor in next week's "Movie of the Week" installment, "Ghost of Frankenstein," and the role of the Monster would be assayed by Lon Chaney, Jr., after his success playing the Wolf Man (whom we'll get to after "Ghost"). Yet another son of Frankenstein shows up for that installment, as well!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Castle of Frankenstein #12: Pages 54-56!

Back to my look at Castle of Frankenstein #12! We're starting with pages 54 and 55, which are all about the comics!


Page 54 features ratings by the Comic Book Council, which included Mike Barrier, John Benson, Clark Dimond, Martin Jukovsky, Bill Spicer, Bhob Stewart, Don and Maggie Thompson, Trina (Trina Robbins, maybe?) and Ted White!

Of the items they reviewed, top ratings went to Best of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, Blue Beetle 2, Brand Echh 1, Charlton Premiere 1, Creepy 16, Daredevil 31, Fantastic Four 65 and 66, Flash Gordon 4, 45 Hours & 36 Min. in the Life of Jack Ruby (May Esquire), Inferior Five 3, Larry Ivie's Monsters & Heroes 1, Magnus 19, Phoebe Zeitgeist 10, Play With Your Cells, Uncle Scrooge 70, and Wonder Warthog 2.

On page 55, following a longish quote from Marshall McLuhan proclaiming the imminent death of comics, there's more in dept reviews. John Benson gives good marks to King Comics' Flash Gordon, Bill Spicer uses half the space talking about Charlton Premiere, Don Thompson lets us know that Teen Titans is sometimes good, sometimes bad, good remarks on Charlton Premiere...


...and Don's reviews continue onto page 56, saying good things about Wonder Wart-Hog 2, gives an iffy review to Mad 112, and says Detective 365 is crap. Bhob Stewart offers the review of 46 Hours and 36 Minutes In The Life of Jack Ruby (comparing it to EC), while Ted White says Brand Echh is an improvement over #1, says Dick Ayers is limiting Ghost Rider #4 (the western character), Stan Lee hadn't figured out Daredevil as of issue 31, X-Men 35 has gone downhill since Stan and Jack left it, Severin is pulling Sgt. Fury #45 up, Steranko's SHIELD feature in Strange tales #160 is exciting while Doc Strange isn't, FF 66 is Stan and Jack in top form, Spidey #52 is almost as good as FF 66, Captain America is good in Tales of Suspense #93, Everett inking Kirby doesn't work in Thor #143, Hulk better than Sub-Mariner in Tales to Astonish #95, Peacemaker #4 is dull, Batman #194 has a great cover, poor interior, Detective Comics #365 is a lame issue, Flash #172 is "typical moronic DC scripting," JLA #55 is the first part of that year's JLA-JSA team-up, so far better than the last year's... and Blue Beetle #3 is gathering momentum! Of course, I was paraphrasing big-time here!

Also on this page is a positive review and ad for Famous Fantasy Films #1, as well as ads for the fanzine All Stars and the mag Zodiac Mindwarp, and as you can see, the bottom of the page touts the Sunday pages hardback of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon!

Next time around, we'll get to Lin Carter Looks at Books, and another house ad!


New Auctions Are Up!

Yes, it's a day later than I originally planned, but I have new comics auctions up on ebay. It's a real mixed bag this time... I relisted one lot of Brave and the Bold issues, plus there's some other stuff from the Bronze Age to fairly recently, including a lot with All-Star Batman and Robin 1 & 2! All lots are no reserve, low starting bids, with your choice of Priority Mail or Media Mail shipping, with Delivery Confirmation always included (my usual standard for tracking).

As always, if you win an auction of mine and let me know you're a reader of the Random Acts of Geekery, I'll throw in something extra in appreciation!


10 Things That P*ss Me Off On eBay

For no particular reason, I thought I'd just get some of this out of my system. In no particular order, here are 10 things that really p*ss me off when I'm looking for stuff on eBay.

1. Items Listed in the Wrong Categories. I've seen Disney stuff listed in a category that's supposed to be Spider-Man, for example. And don't get me started on the wretched misplacements that occur in the "Original Comic Art" categories -- well, OK, I will start myself! I've seen stuff listed there that isn't even comic books! And there's people (who aren't working comics professionals) selling their own drawings in the wrong sub-categories, too (I kind of wish eBay would just give them their own subcategory).

2. Keyword Spamming. As some of you already know, I have many saved eBay searches set up for my "Found on eBay" posts, and many of them use specific keywords in those searches. For example, I'm trying to find a photo of a Kid Flash Mego figure on the card, so one search looks for the terms "Mego" and "Kid Flash." Yet I keep getting "Our Gang" figures on that search (as well as several other ones). "Kid Flash" should not be a phrase you'd find in your auction for your Spanky doll listing, you know? I've found similar abuses just with the words "Mego" and "AHI," both used in auctions that aren't for items manufactured by either company -- oh, someone will try to say the item they're selling is "Mego-like," but often it's not.

3. Postage Charge Abuse. This is something that's a blatant disregard for eBay's rules, but I think sellers get away with it because it takes so much effort to track down how to report it. Plus, most sellers who do overly inflate their postage charges seem to feel they're entitled to the extra charges (I had one recent seller who charged $7 for postage, and when I received the item - a still from Planet of the Apes -- it was packaged in a plain manilla envelope, with a few pieces of cardboard cut out from an unused Priority Mail flat-rate envelope, no tracking information... and it cost $1.50 to ship. This seller, when I asked them about it very politely -- I'd won the auction for $0.01, so I wasn't going to report him, since he needed to make something off the sale -- basically gave me a song and dance about how they have to pay for gas to the post office, pay for shipping, blah blah blah. Now, if I pay $7.00 to ship a photograph, I would reasonably expect it to be shipped in a Priority Mail envelope at the very least -- or perhaps even a padded envelope which would be available 2/$1 at the dollar store, where I buy most of my shipping supplies). This could easily be fixed by providing a link on each auction listing for potential buyers to report a suspected postage charge abuse. Honestly, it's not about covering expenses, it's a way to make extra money off the auction without paying eBay fees!

4. Sellers Proclaiming Something as "Rare". Like I said, I have a lot of searches set up, and I'll tell you, at least nine times out of ten, when someone says in their listing an item is "rare," there's going to be at least one if not two or three of the exact same things for sale at the same time!

5. Sellers Proclaiming Something is "Vintage." I'm sorry, if an item was produced in the 1980s or more recently, it's not vintage. I can barely accept the idea of something from the 1970s as vintage!

6. Sellers Who Delay Shipping. When I pay for an item, I expect it to be shipped in a reasonable time period. Let's say three business days at the latest. If a week has passed, and I haven't received what I bought, I'll ask the seller what's going on, and more often than not, there'll be excuses galore. Apparently, being a regular seller on eBay tends to put your family at risk, because at least half the time, the excuse I get is a sudden death in the family. Now, if that's really what happened, then I feel sorry for the seller... but you know what? Part of the price of doing business is not letting your personal life get in the way of performing that business. It's not difficult to send a quick email out saying that something's happened that will delay shipping, and they'll let you know when it's shipped. I, for one, have put on my current auctions that I ship on Wednesdays and Saturdays at least, and I may ship on other days, too. Addendum: on March 3, I purchased an item from a "Power Seller" and paid immediately... according to the order details on eBay, it just shipped yesterday... yes, 24 days after I paid for it. This seller -- whom I' am definitely not going to be putting on my "Favorite Sellers" list -- used the "death in the family" excuse when they told me it was going to ship 10 days before it actually did ship... and that's assuming it did actually ship that day. Considering I paid $15 for the shipping (it's a Give-A-Show Projector set), it had better arrive Priority Mail!

7. Sellers Who Don't Know About What They're Selling. I'm sure you remember the case of the person selling an issue of Marvel Tales thinking it was an issue of Spider-Man, and how I tried to let them know of their mistake, but they never responded back, nor did they change their auction (which closed without selling, naturally). I don't think it's that hard to learn the minimum amount of information one needs to sell anything... and just assuming you already know enough can make you look stupid, which nobody should want to do!

8. No Shipping Tracking. I know I've written about this before, but you know what? In my opinion, it's just plain stupid to not include tracking on any package you're sending to a buyer. It protects you as a seller, and by giving that information to the buyer, it lets them know when you shipped, and when they can expect it. Almost as bad are sellers who do put tracking on a package, but won't divulge the tracking number.

9. Sellers Who Don't Take PayPal. There have been a lot of sellers who haven't gotten my business -- no matter how rare or cool what they're selling is -- simply because they don't take PayPal. I would guess that at least 90% of domestic eBay sales are paid for via PayPal, because it's fast, secure, and you don't have to wait for checks to clear or payments to arrive in the mail. And as a seller, if the buyer isn't happy about some aspect of their purchase, it gives you a quick way to refund some of their payment to make them happy. It's just good business. eBay's search function even lets you exclude sellers who don't take PayPal!

10. Crappy Photos. Part of this complaint is because I'm trying to collect pics for "Found on eBay" posts, but most of it is just that most sellers don't seem to know how to take a decent picture! It's too small, it's too dark, it's blurry, the flash makes an insane "hot spot" on the photo... There are times when I've looked at an auction, and even having read the description, I still can't see what it is they're selling! And considering how many places there are that will host your photos (Flickr, which I use, can be completely free, although the "Pro" package is only $22 a year or so, and they also have Picnik available, which will do most of the color corrections and so forth most pictures need - not as good as using PhotoShop, but not too bad for something that's free!).

OK, I'm done ranting now.


Give-A-Show Fridays: Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn and William Tell!

Sheesh, I keep posting these later than usual!





Next week, a repeat of "Stowaway in Space", putting it in its proper position, plus an Aesop's Fable!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

By The 10's: Adventure Comics 310-400!

OK, the auctions have closed, winning bidders have been invoiced (and I hope if any of them are you guys, you include a note to that effect in your PayPal payment), so let's wrap up the evening with another installment of By The 10's!


Adventure 310 features probably the most bizarre Superboy & Krypto cover ever! I'm guessing Red Kryptonite was involved here.


The Legion has the cover spot here in Adventure 320... was the "Knave from Krypton" Dev-Em? I could look it up, but it's late...


I've posted Adventure Comics 330's cover before, as part of the "Ch-ch-ch-changes" theme... but it's always worth looking at again, right?


Death strikes the Legion in Adventure Comics 340, as Triplicate Girl loses one of her selves, and renames herself Duo Damsel... a story that was worked into the current (but ending all-too-soon) Legion cartoon series!


If I was more familiar with Legion lore, or at least remembered more of the earlier Legion stories I probably read when I was much younger, I would probably know why this stuff was happening on the cover of Adventure Comics 350... but I'm guessing it's some kind of hoax perpetuated by the LSH to protect the Kryptonian cousins.


Here's Adventure 360... I can't help but think that the cover's not to be taken entirely literally, but that it's more symbolic, as the trio of Legionaires pictured are probably undercover in the story itself... but I could be wrong!


Hey, it's Lana Lang as Insect Queen on the cover of Adventure Comics 370! I think I may have had this book at some time.


Now, Adventure 380 I know I used to have... but for the life of me, I can't recall a single detail about the story! Nice cover, though!


While the 80-Page Giant format itself may have been done by this point, DC was still producing Giants, as evidenced by issue 390 above, reprinting a bunch of Supergirl tales! I believe this may have been the issue marking Supergirl taking over the title, graduating from her back-up position in Action Comics...


And I leave you with Adventure 400, when Mike Sekowsky had taken over the book. While Sekowsky was a great comics artist (especially on Justice League), although unappreciated by many kids who learned better as adults... I tell ya, he had no business writing Supergirl! All the established lore was pretty much disregarded willy-nilly, as Supergirl was exposed to Gold Kryptonite, but it didn't permanently remove her powers, just made them go on-and-off at the worst of times... the Phantom Zone was presented as a place she could go fly to... Well, that wasn't all in this issue, of course!

Supergirl would hold onto Adventure Comics for a while longer, and then got her own self-titled series, as Adventure Comics seemed to change formats at least once a year, but we'll get into that in the final installment of Adventure Comics: By the 10's, as we look at Adventure 410 through 500!