Saturday, September 17, 2011

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #3

This week's entry of cartoons from Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic starts out with "The Dachshund and the Sausage," also known as "The Artist's Dream." It was produced by Jon Randolph Bray, who was a newspaper cartoonist who got interested in animation in 1910. When he showed this cartoon to Carles Pathé (a producer-distributor), Pathé encouraged him to make more cartoons!

Bray's second film introduced the character of Colonel Heeza Liar, loosely based on Baron Munchausen. The first film in this series was "Colonel Heeza Liar in Africa," but unfortunately I couldn't find that one, so here's a later entry, "Colonel Heeza Liar at the Bat"!

Among Bray's innovative techniques involved using backgrounds being printed on translucent paper, and then on different sheets, specific portions were whited out so that only the part that had to move needed to be animated (this was before cels, remember). Later, Bray also patented a method for varying grays in cartoons, something that hadn't been done before! Although Bray had offhandedly mentioned the use of a celluloid product, it wasn't until Earl Hurd applied for his patent in 1914 that cels started being used to make cartoons!

Geek TV #3: Aquaman

aquaman0Concept: The King of the Seven Seas protects the oceans of the earth, especially the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, aided by his youthful companion, Aqualad, their seahorses Imp and Storm, and the walrus Tusky, with occasional help from wife Mera.
Total Episodes: 36 segments, paired up into 18 episodes (with 18 other cartoons featuring the Justice League, The Atom, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and the Teen Titans, three episodes each)
Original Air Dates: 1967 (as part of the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, then as a solo series in 1968.
Original Network: CBS
Geek Factor: 10
aquaman1Aquaman (Marvin Miller): Defender of Atlantis, King of the Seven Seas, with the ability to telepathically command sea creatures and also throw “hard-water” balls (a power given him in the cartoon).
Aqualad (Jerry Dexter): Youthful companion of Aquaman, Aqualad lacks the telepathic control of sealife power.
Mera (Diane Maddox): Wife of Aquaman.
Black Manta (Ted Knight): Arch-foe of Aquaman.
Geek Guest-Stars: None that I could identify.

aquaman3Geek Pedigree: Filmation, of course, did a whole mess of DC character shows! Many episodes of this series were written by George Kashdan and Bob Haney, who had written (and would continue) to write comics for DC. Marvin Miller was the voice of Robby the Robot in “Forbidden Planet” and was the narrator of Police Squad, appeared in an episode of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, was the narrator of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, voiced Zarn on Land of the Lost, appeared in an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Mission: Impossible, did voice dubbing on Gammera the Invincible, Godzilla Raids Again and Invasion of the Astro-Monster, and did many other animated series voices, including parts on Journey to the Center of the Earth and Jonny Quest. Ted Knight appeared in a number of other Filmation programs, including parts in The Ghost Busters, Star Trek, and Lassie's Rescue Rangers (pretty much all Filmation programs used him until the early 1970s or so), was the first season narrator of Super Friends, voiced characters in The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and also appeared in The Invaders, The Wild Wild West, Get Smart! and The Outer Limits. Jerry Dexter would do other voice roles, including Superboy in an episode of Super Friends, Sunfire in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Ted in Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Alan in Josie and the Pussycats/Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, Gary Gulliver in The Adventures of Gulliver, and Chuck in Shazzan, as well as a variety of one-off roles in a number of other Filmation and Hanna-Barbera shows.

aquaman2DVD Release: Complete box set
Website: will show you all of the Aquaman Shrine's posts about the series, while has a complete episode guide.

Notes: Oddly, though I know my siblings and I watched the various permutations of the Superman animated series on CBS Saturday mornings, I don't recall watching Aquaman then, instead remembering watching him on his own show Sunday mornings. Childhood memories can be odd, though... because I could have sworn that the special guest spots with GL and the rest had a lot more than three episodes each!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1967 Marvel See-A-Show Cards, Part 1!

As I believe I've mentioned before, the See-A-Show was Kenner's attempt to compete with View-Master! Original scans for these cards came to me via artist supreme Al Bigley!

Daredevil was rather an unusual choice for Kenner to use for their See-A-Show toy, given that DD hadn't appeared outside of the comic books at all! It appears whoever wrote the story for this one wasn't aware that Daredevil is blind!

The Fantastic Four got a double-length story, taking two cards of the set this came from!

Next week: Hulk, Spider-Man and Thor!

Toy of the Week #3: AHI Robots!

OK, this one is kind of a grab bag... as mentioned before, AHI was the producer of a lot of licensed carded toys, but they also would produce their own original lines (especially if that line traded in on the popularity of other successful toy lines)! So far as I know, the only actual toy license they acquired for robots was the Lost in Space robot, but they did a lot of non-licensed ones!

Apparently this one is known as the "karate robot," probably because of the chopping motion of the arms.

There were other variations of the Lost in Space Robot AHI produced, and we'll get to those when I get to Lost in Space toys! When we get to those, you'll see that Remco also produced a line of Lost in Space stuff, which isn't surprising, because AHI acquired Remco in the 1970s, which led to a number of their licenses appearing as product under both names, with the Remco stuff being more substantial (and expensive).

This robot appears to be a transparent attempt to cash in on Ideal's Zeroids line of toys, although with a wired remote control!

No real good saved search for AHI robots I can give you... although the link from last time should suffice!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cool Stuff!

This week's edition of Cool Stuff begins with some Looney Tunes items, starting with these Bugs Bunny books!
More after the jump!

The Indexible Hulk #3

Hulk 003Issue: The Incredible Hulk #3

Title: “Banished to Outer Space,” “The Origin of the Hulk,” and “The Ringmaster.”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Pencilled by Jack Kirby, Inked by Dick Ayers, Lettered by Artie Simek.

Supporting Cast: Rick Jones, General Ross.

Villain: The Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime – The Clown, Bruto the Strongman, Teena the Fat Lady, the Human Cannonball (in third story)

Hulk Intelligence: Angry Savage, his grammar is starting to break down.

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: “Banished to Outer Space” – After imprisoning the Hulk in the hidden lab's cell, Rick Jones runs into some MPs on his way back to base. The bring him back, and General Ross tells him that a new missile needs to be tested, but only the Hulk could survive the G-forces involved. Rick is convinced to bring the Hulk there and trick him into the missile. Rick returns to the lab and starts to release the Hulk, but before the door is completely cleared, the Hulk smashes the rest of the way out, and follows Rick to the base (very slowly, mind you). Rick tricks the Hulk into the missile, which then launches the Hulk into space, although once the rocket gets into the sunlight, the Hulk turns back to Banner, just before the ship hits a “vast radiation belt.” Below, Rick learns he was tricked into helping get the Hulk into space forever, and he tries to bring the missile back, but somehow he creates a circuit between himself and the Hulk before the missile returns to ground. Rick makes it to the landing point (it's daylight now), and the Hulk breaks out of the missile, and starts to rampage after Rick. Finally, Rick's cornered, but when he desperately tells the Hulk to stop... Greenskin stops!! Rick soon figures out he can somehow control the Hulk now, but soon learns he can only control the Hulk when Rick is awake, as the Hulk has gone on a rampage while Rick slept. Rick finds the Hulk and commands him to take them away, and they return to the lab, where Rick was able to replace the shattered steel ramrod and put the Hulk back in the cell again. “The Origin of the Hulk” retells the Hulk's origin (this is the third telling in as many issues). “The Ringmaster” – Plainclothesmen (FBI?) investigate in Plainville, where the entire town is hypnotized, and the entire town looted. The only clue? A poster for a circus, same poster they've found in every town that the same thing's happened in. Meanwhile, this circus is performing in a different town, and the Ringmaster is using his hat device to hypnotize the entire crowd (apparently the whole town showed up). While they're out, the entire town is looted. Later, as the troupe moves on to another town, we go to Banner's cave lab, where Rick's been up all night so the Hulk doesn't run loose. Rick leaves the Hulk there while he runs to his Aunt Polly's house to clean up, and then he decides to visit the circus. Just as the Ringmaster is hypnotizing this town, Rick sends a mental distress call to the Hulk, who comes leaping to the scene. Amazingly, the Hulk is knocked out by a high-pressure water hose, and then netted and chained up... or is he? No, he's merely motionless because Rick is hypnotized (although I would've thought that would've freed the Hulk from Rick's control). A day later, the circus goes to a new town, with the Hulk as their featured attraction! Just before he's going to put this crowd under his spell, he's interrupted by the FBI and Rick! When the Hulk hears Rick's voice, he breaks free and piles into the Circus of Crime, defeating them easily. Just then, soldiers burst in, and Rick and the Hulk flee the scene (oddly enough, in two of the three final panels of this story, speed lines clearly indicate the Hulk's path through the air curving to the left or right, as opposed to up or down – a soldier remarks that the Hulk is flying). Ross appears in one panel to shake his fist and swear he'll get the Hulk.

Invention Exchange: Banner's Gamma Bomb (in flashback), the Ringmaster's hypnotizing top hat.

Reprinted In: (“Banished to Outer Space”) Marvel Collectors' Item Classics #3, Giant-Size Defenders #1, Marvel Masterworks #8, Essential Hulk #1, Essential Defenders #2, Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders #2, and Hulk: Transformations. (“The Origin of the Hulk!”) Incredible Hulk Special #2, Marvel Treasury Edition #5, Marvel Masterworks #8. (“The Ringmaster”) Marvel Tales Annual #2, Marvel Masterworks #8, Essential Hulk #1, Hulk: Transformations.

Notes: Oddly, the cover shows the Hulk leaping over a missile base, with a soldier shouting “Look!! Nothing can stop him now! HE CAN FLY!” Of course, as we all know, the Hulk does not fly (although some of the speed lines on his jumps might give you that impression). Also, note that for the third time in a row, space flight was used to effect the Banner/Hulk change. I also have to wonder why the heck Rick fell for the whole “We need the Hulk to test the missile” bit... how useful is a manned missile if only the Hulk could survive being in it? “The Ringmaster” was adapted (very loosely, with extra plot added and references to Rick's control of the Hulk more or less eliminated) as Episode 28-30 of the 1966 Hulk animated series.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Monster Times #1!

So, some of you may have noticed that during the low content mode, the occasional extra monster magazine appeared here... and that happened because, frankly, I can't always manage to look at a calendar and transfer the date into Blogger correctly, it seems! But rather than re-run/re-schedule those magazines that have already appeared, this is a good chance for me to post some of the "holes" in the Monster Times issues I've already posted, so that you can see them at last!

Comic Book Advertisements!

This week's first comic book ad comes from Charlton's Atomic Mouse #2, and it leads off with this ad for one of the semiregular contests that Charlton would run! It's pretty strange to me how often Charlton was running contests galore in the late 1950s/early 1960s, something I don't remember ever seeing in DC or Marvel/Timely books of the same period... It's especially odd considering how Charlton considered their comic book line less than important in the overall scheme of their publishing (according to articles I've read, anyway). Note, too, that this contest also features a subscription coupon, so it does double-duty!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CBT: Space Ghost BLB "The Sorceress of Cyba-3" Chapters 4 & 5!


Kirby Kovers #2

This time around, I'm starting off with Tales of Suspense #94, featuring this epic battle with Captain America vs. AIM! THe composition on this one is great... the eye is drawn first to the AIM soldier being knocked ass over teakettle by Cap (spotted next), and you can see the power behind Cap's punch! Then there's Sharon Carter here in the background, her then ever-present beret flying off of her head... and then there's MODOK in the bottom left-hand corner... you almost don't even notice him, because of the figures of Cap and the AIM soldier! In fact, at first glance, I didn't notice MODOK at all, and was all set to write about how only Kirby would've considered not putting MODOK on a cover proclaiming, "If This Be... MODOK!" But then, of course, I did spot him. I don't recall if the original coloring of MODOK featured crimson and purple instead of the standard gold and orange... but that's probably why I didn't spot him at first.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dog of the Geek: Einstein!

einsteinBreed: Catalan Sheepdog

Original Appearances: Back To the Future

Other Appearances: Back to the Future II and III, Back to the Future animated series, as well as video games, comics, and more merchandise.

Biography: Einstein was the pet of eccentric inventor Doc Emmett Brown, inventor of the flux capacitor, which makes time travel possible. After Doc Brown installed it in a DeLorean, he uses Einstein as the “test pilot” for the first trial, successfully. Later in the Back to the Future trilogy, Doc places Einstein in a suspended animation kennel. Einstein later becomes the beloved family pet after Doc marries Clara Clayton and they have their boys, Jules and Verne. In the Back to the Future animated series, Einstein is portrayed more like an anthropomorphic dog, assisting Doc Brown.

Powers: None

Group Affiliation: Brown Family.

Miscellaneous: Einstein was portrayed by Freddie in the movies, and voiced by Danny Mann in the animated series.

Monster Monday!

Last time around, I promised more Aurora monster models, and I am delivering on that promise!
Glow-in-the-Dark Phantom of the Opera model box, and more after the jump!