Thursday, March 03, 2011

Comic Book Advertisements!

Our first ad this time around is from the January, 1980 cover-dated DC books, and it features Mego's Elastic Superheroes figures of Batman and Superman! I trust I don't need to go into my usual rant about how these were two characters that shouldn't have been made in elastic versions? They also did an equally-inappropriate Hulk and Spider-Man, but apparently also made a much more appropriate Plastic Man! I'm not sure why they never got around to an Elastic Mr. Fantastic.

Random Videos of Geekery: Power Records "The Incredible Hulk At Bay!"

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of listening to the Power Records Book and Record sets, and obviously I'm not the only one! So this month, enjoy videos that people have made by scanning the books and ripping the records and putting them all together!

Ten of a Kind: Great Beatles Songs!

So for this edition of Ten of a Kind, I'm picking ten of my favorite Beatles songs to write about, and tell you why they're ten of my favorites! Most of these will likely be penned by John Lennon, 'cause that's how it tends to go with me! Without any further ado (and in no particular order), they are:

1. Come Together, Abbey Road
From the last album the Beatles recorded together, this bluesy rocker is just excellent! Sure, John stole the first line from an old Chuck Berry song, but the rest are all out of his head... Okay, so much of it is nonsense, "He wear no shoeshine, he got toejam football," for example... but between the music (heavy with Paul's bass playing) and John's singing, it's just a great song to listen to! "One thing I can tell you is you've got to be free," if there's ever been a line in a Beatles song that was classic John, that has to be it, right?

2. No Reply, Beatles for Sale
Some of John's greatest songs with the Beatles were about personal anguish. In this song, the singer's girlfriend is obviously hiding the fact that she's going out with someone else, and the singer is crushed ("I nearly died," "I saw the light," etc.). As with most songs of this type, the singer's saying that he loves her more; uncharacteristically, he's willing to forgive her (quite a contrast to "Run For Your Life," for example).

3. Hard Day's Night, A Hard Day's Night (Soundtrack)
Could John and Paul have written a better title song for their first movie? It's fast paced, gets you going right at that opening chord... it's amazing to me how people don't realize that it's John singing lead (with Paul harmonizing) on the verses, and Paul singing lead on the middle eight ("When I'm home... everything seems to be right..."). Apparently the phrase "A hard day's night" came from one of Ringo's malapropisms, giving the Beatles' first movie its title (originally they were going to call it "Beatlemania").

4. If I Fell, A Hard Day's Night (Soundtrack)
Most people will generalize that Paul wrote the love songs, and John wrote the rockers, but this one was John's all the way, and it's a great love song... the singer's had his heart broken before, and wants to love someone new, but he's afraid to experience another broken heart ("'Cause I couldn't stand the pain, and I would be sad if our new love was in vain"). There's even a bit of a twist in that there's already a girlfriend of sorts that apparently the singer doesn't really love.

5. Help!, Help! (Soundtrack)
John knocked it out of the park with the second movie's title track (originally, it was to be called "Eight Arms to Hold You," by the way). This was possibly John's most personal song to date... he'd said that he was really crying out for help himself at this time, calling it his "fat Elvis stage," and insisted you could see it in the movie. I dunno about that myself. Regardless, it's a fantastic song, with some great guitar riffs by George in the chorus!

6. Ticket to Ride, Help! (Soundtrack)
Another of John's anguish songs... and one I have related to very much in the past myself. Simply put, the girl that the singer loves is leaving town, and she doesn't care. An unforgettable lead guitar line at the beginning running through all the verses and (in modified form) the chorus!

7. I Am the Walrus, Magical Mystery Tour
When I'm in a chaotic mood, or just need something to break me out of a funk, nothing does it quite like this one, John's maniacal take on Lewis Carroll. As with the later "Come Together," it's mostly nonsense (some of it taken from John's childhood in Liverpool)... well, it's all nonsense. The opening of the sound features an organ (or is it an electric piano?) mimicking the sounds of a British police siren, and of course at the end we get some Shakespeare fading in and then out again.

8. I Want To Hold Your Hand, Past Masters Vol. 1
The song that introduced America to the Beatles! This is one of the best feel-good songs out there, if you ask me, and one I cannot resist singing along to if it comes on the radio. It's a happy, happy song! It's included on Past Masters because the Beatles didn't release it on an album in the UK (that was policy there... no singles on the albums, although when Capitol Records released the Beatles recordings in the US, they made sure that everything got on an album, and even some albums got bits and pieces taken off of them to make additional albums... something the Beatles did not care for, which is why they went for the infamous "Butcher Cover" that originally went on "Yesterday... and Today," but I digress). When the Beatles catalog was released on CD, they went to the original UK albums, and put the singles on Past Masters Vol. 1 and 2.

9. Don't Let Me Down, Past Masters Vol. 2
Yes, another of John's songs that's apparently anguish... although it's really just a great love song, written expressly for Yoko ("Nobody ever loved me like she does..."). In the movie "Let It Be," this is one of the songs performed on the rooftop of Apple Studios, with Billy Preston playing the keyboards on the song. Both the "live" version and the single version were released (the live on on Let It Be).

10. And Your Bird Can Sing, Revolver
One of John's songs in which he's protesting, this time it's a protest against the need to own stuff, especially stuff that doesn't really matter. "When your prized posessions start to weigh you down, look in my direction, I'll be 'round, I'll be 'round," he sings, promising to be there when realization strikes. For a fun treat, listen to the alternative take on "The Beatles Anthology 2," where Paul keeps giggling throughout the recording, and there's a bit of a difference in the ending of the song.

Wow, ten great songs, and I didn't even get to all of my favorites! Well, I guess I'll just have to do "Ten of a Kind: More Great Beatles Songs" in the future, then!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Horror Monsters #10!

This issue features articles on Vincent Price, Black Sabbath, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Frozen Ghost, and much more!

Cool Stuff!

Time for a bunch of cool stuff, all things that I've seen offered on eBay in the past that I thought you guys might want to check out!

This still from Destination Inner Space doesn't look too intriguing, but there's more after the jump!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

By the 10s: The Defenders!

I can't believe it took me so long to get to this book! The Defenders (at least in their first few dozen issues) were one of my favorite Marvel groups, just because of the membership... the Hulk, Namor, Doc Strange, the Silver Surfer, Nighthawk, Hawkeye (for a brief time)... and Valkyrie, definitely my favorite of the bunch! The Defenders got started through a convoluted bit of storytelling that began with Doctor Strange #183, Sub-Mariner #22, and The Incredible Hulk #126, which involved Doc Strange teaming up with each of his future co-stars to prevent the plans of the Undying Ones! The second part of the coming of the team took place in Sub-Mariner #34 and 35, where Namor gets the Hulk and the Surfer to help him stop a weather control experiment. The Undying Ones returned in Marvel Feature #1, where the founding members gathered to battle Yandroth, and the team earned its name. After three try-out issues in Marvel feature, the Defenders got their own self-titled book, which started in 1972, and lasted 152 issues (plus five Giant-Size installments and an annual) before being cancelled to make room on Marvel's schedule for X-Factor. Valkyrie was introduced in an early issue of the series.

Probably the most memorable of the Defenders earliest issues was the crossover with the Avengers, known as the Avengers-Defenders War. It kind of got started in The Incredible Hulk issue where Hulk fought Zzzaxx (or something like that), an electrical being. Hawkeye, having recently quit the Avengers, was around for this story, and it was he who actually defeated Zzzaxx, although the Hulk got credit for it. When Hawkeye overhears the Hulk mention going to visit the magician, Hawkeye follows him to Doctor Strange's mansion, and ends up joining the team. Strange has been keeping the stone body of the Black Knight in the Sanctum Sanctorum, and has been seeking a way to restore the Knight. Well, wouldn't you know it, but Dormammu and Loki have made a pact to get the Evil Eye (Prester John's cosmic weapon), which has been broken into multiple pieces, back together, giving Dormammu power to move the Earth into the Dark Dimension. Loki's been promised to have his blindness cured by this. Anyway, the Defenders are duped into collecting the pieces, but Loki doesn't trust Dormammu, so he alerts the Avengers, and this leads to multiple battles, culminating in the Hulk Vs. Thor fight pictured on issue 10's cover, at the end of which the teams realize they're being played. Everything works out for the best, though!

CBT: Boo-Boo and the V.I.V.!

Boo Boo & the V.I.V.001
This time around for Children's Book Theatre, we have Yogi's buddy, Boo Boo, starring in his own story!

Dog of the Geek: Dino the Dinosaur

dinoBreed: Snorkasaurus

Original Appearances: The Flintstones (1960-1966)

Other Appearances: Dino pretty much appeared in all Flintstones cartoons and movies. Dino has also appeared in comic books, children's storybooks, and in doll form.

Biography: In episode eighteen of The Flintstones, Dino was portrayed as talking. Fred and Barney were hunting snorkasauruses for their dinner. Wilma and Betty befriend the dinosaur, who winds up acting as a sort of all-purpose butler at the Flintstones' house, ironing and answering the phone. However, this is pretty much contradicted by all other Dino appearances, including “The Flintstone Kids,” which presents Dino as a baby snorkasaurus with child versions of Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty. Dino is most often portrayed as a pet dog, although a very enthusiastic one! Fred is often floored by Dino (literally) when he arrives home from work, with Dino licking his face energetically.

Powers: Dino had the proportionate strength of a dinosaur of his size.

Group Affiliation: Flintstones family pet.

Miscellaneous: Mel Blanc provided Dino's voice until 1989, when the role was taken over by Frank Welker, Hanna-Barbera's go-to voice guy for most of their cartoon dogs. In the episode of The Flintstones in which Dino talked, he was voiced Jerry Mann doing an impression of Phil Silvers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monster Monday!

This week's installment of Monster Monday starts out with this Creepy puzzle by Milton Bradley!

Comic Book Advertisements!

It shouldn't surprise anyone that the first ad in this installment is from the February, 1967 cover-dated DC books, eh? These pin-ups are pretty collectible to this day, and were also sold in stores. Below is a better look at some of these posters:
I could've sworn I had photos of these in the retail packaging, but I can't find them now.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Puzzle Sunday!

Last week's solution:

This week's puzzle:

Retro-Review: The Strange World of Your Dreams #1, Part 3!

Next is a two and a-half page story, “Send Us Your Dreams,” by Simon & Kirby. Like the tale leading off the last installment, this is another feature intended to get the readers to submit their dreams to be used in a future issue. In this one, an 18-year-old girl named Julie Pendleton dreamed that she was riding a bike down a busy street wearing a formal gown, when she suddenly stands up on the bike, balancing herself on one foot standing on the seat! But the passers-by, rather than being impressed by this feat, laugh at her instead, calling her stupid and ugly (despite the fact that she's drawn quite attractively). Suddenly, she looks down at herself, and finds her dressed in an old-style bathing suit that does not fit her at all! Next, her best friend pushes her into a puddle, and she starts ballooning (literally) in size!

It's about this point where she wakes from her dream. Richard Temple decides the dream means that someone had recently deflated her ego, and that what she needed was a little humility!

Following this is the one-page “The Mouse That Dreamed He Was a Lion,” another text filler. It's kind of a take-off on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”