Saturday, September 24, 2011

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #4

For the last of these posts this month, I'm presenting three Raoul Barré cartoons, from just prior to when he began doing Mutt and Jeff cartoons!

Geek TV #4: Ark II!

arkii1Concept: (from the opening narration) For millions of years, Earth was fertile and rich. Then pollution and waste began to take their toll. Civilization fell into ruin. This is the world of the 25th Century. Only a handful of scientists remain, men who have vowed to rebuild what has been destroyed. This is their achievement: Ark II, a mobile storehouse of scientific knowledge, manned by a highly trained crew of young people. Their mission: to bring the hope of a new future to mankind.
Total Episodes: 15
Original Air Dates: 1976
Original Network: CBS
Geek Factor: 7
Jonah (Terry Lester): Commander of Ark II, and pilot of the short-range jetpack.
Ruth (Jean Marie Hon): Second in command of the Ark.
Samuel (Jose Flores): Youthful scientist.
Adam (Moochie – or maybe it's Moocho – the chimpanzee, voiced by Lou Scheimer): An intelligent talking chimpanzee.
The Ark
Geek Guest-Stars: Jonathan Harris (Lost in Space), Malachi Throne (who appeared in The Man From UNCLE, Mission Impossible, Time Tunnel, Star Trek, Batman, Outer Limits, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Babylon 5), Jim Backus (voice of Mister Magoo, and of course Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island), Robby the Robot (yes, really!).
The vehicle from "Damnation Alley" -- clearly not the ark!
Geek Pedigree: The front part of the Ark was later reused for the nose portion of the Seeker Spacecraft in Space Academy and Jason of Star Command. Some sources say that the Ark was later used in the film “Damnation Alley,” others deny this. Looking at photos of the two vehicles, I'd say it's unlikely it was reused for that film. Terry Lester later made an appearance in Star Trek: Voyager and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. Jean Marie Hon appeared in nine episodes of Man From Atlantis as Jane.

DVD Release: Box Set (out of print) of the complete series, plus a more recent combined set with Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.
Website: is one of the few Ark II websites out there.
Notes: It was a lot of fun transcribing interviews for the special features on the original DVD release. Apparently they had a lot of problems with the chimp playing Adam, as he would tend to bite his fellow actors!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1967 Marvel See-A-Show Cards, Part 2!

Here's the Hulk entry... and an odd one it is, at that! First, the Hulk's reading, then he's actually running from the police, is being accused of something very odd to accuse the Hulk of... and then there's how it's resolved! Watch for yourself:

The Spider-Man story card actually feels like it could've been adapted from one of the Spidey cartoons! Of course, given they only had seven panels to tell the story, letting us know how Spidey got in the situation he starts out in is left to our imagination...

And with Thor, we wrap up this look at See-A-Show cards... at least until I can either get more in my collection, or until I get someone else to donate scans of some cards!

Next: Another Chad Valley 1970s product!

Toy of the Week #4: AHI Batboats!

As I've previously written, AHI produced a lot of Batman items, and one item they did a lot of variations of is the Batboat, although most (if not all) of them only vaguely resembled the famous Batboat on the 1966 Batman TV series.

This Batboat had a motor that would propel it along, although you had no control over it!

This model was similar, although perhaps a bit larger and boxed.

Here's a radio-controlled version, probably more popular with the kids!

This last Batboat looks much more like the TV Batboat, and that's because it was a cheaper all-plastic version that they sold as a two-pack with their smaller Batmobile!

You can see one version of AHI's Batboat on this page at Plaid Stallions, along with some of their other licensed character boats!

You should be able to find some of these on eBay with this link!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cool Stuff!

Well, as I mentioned last time around, these photos aren't in proper order, so it'll be a real melange of stuff this time!
First up is this batch of Marvel Superheroes Stickers, with more after the jump!

The Indexible Hulk #4

Hulk 004Issue: The Incredible Hulk #4

Title: “The Monster and the Machine” and “The Gladiator From Outer Space”

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

Supporting Cast: Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: None in first story, Mongu in the second

Hulk Intelligence: Broken English, although he's not yet referring to himself in the third person all the time, nor is he using child-like grammar... and then he's smart!

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: “The Monster and the Machine” – In Bruce Banner's hidden cave lab, the Hulk is strapped into a gamma-ray machine operated by Rick Jones, who is desperate to turn the Hulk back to Banner. In Flashback, we see Betty pining over the missing Banner, a recap of the Hulk's origin, and then an army test of their new Iceberg Rocket, which releases a burst of a special chemical that instantly turns its target into a solid cake of ice. Betty urges the General to find Rick Jones, who she believes can find Banner. Meanwhile, Rick is in Banner's cottage/house with the Hulk (how did he sneak in there? For that matter, who paid for the repairs from the last time the Hulk smashed his way out?) when soldiers arrive, so of course Rick orders the Hulk to flee. The soldiers bring Rick to see General Ross, who demands to know where Bruce is, but Rick won't answer. While this goes on, the Hulk's aimlessly leaping, although he isn't mindless enough to miss spotting a stuck schoolbus on a train track, moving it out of the way before it can be struck by a train (the art clearly makes it appear that the Hulk's able to control the path of his hurtling through the air, as if he were flying). Later, at a movie set, the Hulk arrives and heads to the studio commissary demanding food. After this incident, Rick finally calls the Hulk mentally, and Greenskin soon shows up to take Rick away (more art that has the Hulk altering his flightpath). The duo arrive at the hidden lab, where Rick considers using the machine, though he can't understand all the instructions, to change the Hulk back to Banner. The Hulk tells him to try. Now the flashback is done, and Rick fires up the machine, which turns the Hulk back to Banner, but Bruce is strangely weakened, and now must be pushed around in a wheelchair. Bruce then makes some adjustments on the machine, and fires it up again, hoping to give himself the Hulk's body with Banner's brain. The experiment works, to his delight, although Bruce's personality appears to be a bit more aggressive than normal. A few minutes later, as Banner Hulk and Rick walk to a nearby town, they find a house on fire. The Banner Hulk easily tosses away the burning portion, but scares the owners of the home, who start shooting at him. Banner Hulk and Rick leave quickly. They return back to the lab, where the machine is used again to change Banner Hulk back to Banner. This leaves Banner exhausted, and as he starts to fall asleep, he worries that the Hulk may turn on himself... or mankind.
“Gladiator from Outer Space” – A strange spacecraft lands in a city, and out comes a massive alien, who calls himself Mongu. Word gets out on TV, and in another part of town, Rick sees this and alerts Bruce about it. Mongu challenges Earth's mightiest mortal, and if Mongu wins, his warriors will attack the world. He'll wait in the Grand Canyon for his challenger. Since Captain Marvel (known in his own Fawcett title as “Earth's Mightiest Mortal,” naturally) isn't available, Bruce uses his machine to change himself into the Hulk! They don't bother mentioning why the machine is in this building Bruce and Rick are operating from in town, naturally. In minutes, the Hulk and Rick are off in a chartered jet to the Grand Canyon to face Mongu, but when the Hulk approaches, he realizes something's up... the weapon is cardboard and cork! Mongu is a fake, but the trap is real, as Red troopers surround the Hulk. Inside the Mongu suit is Boris Monguski, on a mission to capture the Hulk in order to duplicate his strength. The Hulk easily battles the soldiers until a sound-gun sends him to his knees, but the Hulk merely burrows underground and comes up underneath the operator of the sound gun, knocking him out. The spaceship is revealed to be a disguised MIG (unlikely as it seems), but Boris doesn't believe he's defeated yet, as there's a helicopter on the way... too bad for Boris that the Hulk disables the craft's landing gear with a chunk of the fake spaceship! The Hulk then ties the soldiers together using their belts and hauls them to the copter, tieing them to it and sending them away. Hours later, soldiers arrive at the scene, realizing the Mongu hoax, but recognizing the Hulk's footprints, figuring that the whole thing was the Hulk's plot! Miles away, in the underground lab, the Hulk changes back to Bruce Banner, still weakened by the transformations.

Invention Exchange: Iceberg Rocket (inventor unknown... it could be Bruce, or could be Tony Stark, or someone else entirely), Jet-Powered Hulk Copy (used to test the Iceberg Rocket), Gamma Ray Machine (in Banner's cave lab), Sound-Gun (invented by a Red scientist)

Reprinted In: “The Monster and the Machine” – Marvel Collector's Item Classics #4; “The Gladiator From Outer Space” – Marvel Collector's Item Classics #5; both – Marvel Masterworks #8, Essential Hulk #1, Pocket Books Incredible Hulk #1

Notes: As you've no doubt noticed, the status quo for the Hulk was being changed just about every issue... even if some of the plot elements didn't change too often! Stan seemed stumped as to what to do with the Hulk, if you ask me! I'm not sure how smart the Mongu plan was... were the Reds completely unaware how big a menace the Hulk was considered? If they had a platoon of Hulks, how did they figure they'd control them?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Monster Times #3!


Comic Book Advertisements!

This week's ads are from Complete Mystery #4, and begins with this inside front cover ad for this mini camera! From the description, I'm wondering if it used 110 film, or if it used 35mm film? Either way, it does seem to use a very special film (only referred to as No. 828 film, which I'd never heard of). A bit of Googling reveals that it uses the same stock as 35mm film, but lacks the sprockets! I was surprised to learn that Kodak was still making this film until 1985, even though they'd stopped making cameras that used it 20 years or more earlier! I'm wondering if it was difficult to get this processed many places...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CBT: Space Ghost BLB "The Sorceress of Cyba-3" Chapters 6 & 7!


Kirby Kovers #3

This time around, the first Kirby Kover is Captain America #7, which features a pose of Cap and Bucky that must be one of the most-swiped Kirby poses around (next to, perhaps, Fantastic Four #1). I think even Simon and Kirby swiped it themselves at least once! I recall reading in All in Color for A Dime how Timely's covers tended to be overly busy, but this one isn't too bad... of course, the eye is immediately drawn to Cap and Bucky swinging in, and then to the Axis madman about to cut the rope holding the mace over the woman's head (you know, for the of me, I can't recall her name right now)... and then there's three -- count 'em, three -- Axis agents shooting at Cap and Bucky (whose hair is mysteriously colored yellow instead of orange). The only thing that mars this cover at all is how Cap's shield is drawn... instead of being the convex disc that we're all familiar with, it's almost drawn as a flat disc here! If the concentric circles had been done just a bit different, this would've been avoided. But let's look again at that Cap figure... surely, there's not too many humans who could assume that pose (most of us just aren't flexible enough to even try)... the legs are nicely positioned, full of Kirby anatomy, great posing of the torso and head... ah, then there's the arms... they're almost as awkward as the shield... I wonder if time constraints made it so that this cover had to be rushed to completion at the last second, and Kirby intended to redraw the arms and shield?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dog of the Geek: Fluffy!

fluffyBreed: Three-Headed Dog

Original Appearances: Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone (US Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Other Appearances: Movie version of the above book
Biography: Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper, provided Fluffy, a giant three-headed dog to guard the trapdoor leading to the underground chamber where the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone was hidden. The only way to get past Fluffy was to lull him to sleep by playing music (as was the case with Cerberus, the inspiration for Fluffy). Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger first encounter Fluffy when they are trying to hide from Peeves, who was trying to give them away to Argus Filch, who was searching for them. Later, while Fluffy is guarding the Stone, Professor Quirinus Quirrell plays a harp to lull Fluffy to sleep so he can get access to the Stone. Harry gets past Fluffy using a flue that Hagrid gave him.

Powers: Since Fluffy is a gigantic three-headed dog, I don't suppose he needs much else in the way of powers, does he?

Group Affiliation: Hogwarts

Miscellaneous: According to an interview with creator J.K. Rowling about what happened to Fluffy after the first Harry Potter book, she said that Fluffy had been released into the Forbidden Forest.

Monster Monday!

This week's installment of Monster Monday begins with a German poster for The Black Cat, with more from this movie (and other stuff) after the jump!