Saturday, October 22, 2011

Countdown to Halloween: Original Horror Comic Art!

First up in this round of Original Horror Comic Art is the cover to Unexpected #10, by Mort Meskin!

Geek TV #7.2: The Banana Splits Adventure Hour - The Arabian Knights!

bananasplits_arabianknights1Concept: A band of rebels with special powers or skills team up to battle the evil Bakaar in the ancient city of Baghdad.

Total Episodes: 18

Original Air Dates: 1968-1970

Original Network: NBC

Geek Factor: 7

Prince Turhan (Jay North): Rightful heir to the throne of the Sultan, leader of the Knights, and an accomplished acrobat and swordsman.

Princess Nida (Shari Lewis): Cousin to Turhan, master of disguise and excellent mimic.

Raseem (Frank Gerstle): Strongman supreme, he claims to have the strength of 30 men.

Fariek (John Stephenson): Short, tubby, jolly wizard whose spells sometimes go awry.

Bez (Henry Corden): Able to turn into any animal he wishes to by saying “Size of a –!” and saying the name of the animal.

bananasplits_arabianknights2Zazuum (Paul Frees): Small donkey with long ears, Raseem's pet – but don't pull his tail, because then he turns into a miniature tornado that will defeat any enemy or destroy any object!

Bakaar (John Stephenson): Evil ruler of Baghdad who usurped the throne, and his only remaining goal is to destroy the Knights.

Vangore (Paul Frees): Bakaar's main henchman and captain of the guards.

Geek Pedigree: Jay North originated the role of Dennis the Menace on television, and did other voices for cartoons, including Bamm-Bamm Rubble on the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show. Shari Lewis, of course, is best known for her ventriloquism/puppetry act, particularlly with Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse, but she also wrote the Original Series Star Trek episode “The Lights of Zetar.” Frank Gerstle had previously appeared in The Green Hornet, “The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake,” “The Wasp Woman,” Science Fiction Theatre, “The Magnetic Monster,” and Dick Tracy. John Stephenson also appeared on The Lone Ranger, Science Fiction Theater, The Man From UNCLE, Get Smart, The Invaders, The Six Million Dollar Man and other shows, and did voices for The Ruff & Reddy Show (as the narrator), Top Cat (Fancy-Fancy), Jonny Quest (Dr. Benton Quest), Secret Squirrel, The Flintstones (Mr. Slate), Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles (Professor Conroy), Birdman, and many more, including several parts in the 1978 Fantastic Four and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Paul Frees had a long voice career beginning in theatrical cartoons and movies (he was the narrator on “The Deadly Mantis”), then on to television, voicing characters on Mister Magoo, Rocky and His Friends/Bullwinkle Show (Boris Badenov), The Dick Tracy Show, Bozo: The World's Most Famous Clown, The Flintstones, and many others, including doing voices for John Lennon and George Harrison's animated counterparts on The Beatles animated series, the Thing on the 1968 Fantastic Four, and many voices for Rankin-Bass's TV specials and animated films.

Notes: A most enjoyable series of cartoons! I particularly liked the humor in it.

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #8

By the 1920s, most of the earliest animated studios had closed, leaving Fleischer and Terry (whom we'll get to later), joined by Pat Sullivan. According to Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic (the inspiration and source for this series of posts), Sullivan was born in Australia and eventually made his way to America where he took over William F. Marriner's comic strips after Marriner died (Sullivan was working as Marriner's assistant). Sullivan's first animated film was based on one of these strips, and the series was called Sammie (or Sammy) Johnsin, starting in 1916. Sullivan worked with Otto Messmer, and Messmer's contributions soon outweighed Sullivan's (although Sullivan would continue to take credit for the cartoons even after he barely had anything to do with them).

Sullivan's next series was some Charlie Chaplin cartoons, followed by the Boomer Bill series, but Malton says that Messmer was most proud of "20,000 Laughs Under the Sea," a parody of the Universal feature version of Jules Verne's novel. In 1919, after John R. Bray left Paramount to release his films through MGM, Paramount went to Paul Terry and Pat Sullivan to contribute cartoons for their Paramount Screen Magazine. Messmer created the first of these, featuring a black cat that would become known as Felix, and the first of this series, released in 1919, is Feline Follies!

If you're only familiar with Felix through the TV cartoons, you'll note that he's quite a different cat in these cartoons! Felix wasn't officially named until the second installment, "Musical Mews." At the end of 1921, Sullivan left Paramount to branch out on his own, with Felix cartoons coming out on a monthly basis, beginning with "Felix Saves the Day," released in 1922, and made almost entirely by Messmer.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Countdown to Halloween: Toy of the Week: Jaymar Monster Puzzles!

This week's Toy of the Week are actually four toys... with variations, even! It's the Jaymar monster puzzles! Based on the Universal Monsters, these early 1960s puzzles are absolutely gorgeous, and highly collectible!
Here's three of them, just as a sampler of what lies after the jump!

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1973 Chad Valley World of Disney, Parts 7 & 8!

Next: Another Chad Valley set, featuring Alice in Wonderland... but not the Disney version!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cool Stuff: Volume 16 Begins!

Man, sometimes I think I should really count how many Cool Stuff photos I've posted so far... I can tell you that (with this) I have 1,027 posts with that label on them! Anyway, this installment starts out with a reissue poster for 2001: A Space Odyssey!

Countdown to Halloween: Black Magic, Vol. 4 #6!


The Indexible Hulk #8!

Avengers 001Issue: Avengers #1

Title: “The Coming of the Avengers!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Drawn by Jack Kirby, Inked by Dick Ayers, Lettered by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: Rick Jones, Teen Brigade

Villain: Loki, God of Evil

Hulk Intelligence: Crafty Brute

Guest-Stars: The Fantastic Four (cameo)

Plot: In far-off Asgard, Loki, God of Evil, is a prisoner on the dreaded Isle of Silence, plotting revenge against Thor. Since only his body is imprisoned, he uses thought projection to see what Thor's doing (kind of like astral projection, except the only thing we see on the page is a pair of disembodied eyes surrounded by a glow). Loki decides he needs a menace to make Dr. Donald Blake become Thor, and he finds it when he spots the Hulk leaping across the desert. To get the Hulk to appear as a menace, Loki causes an image of lit dynamite to appear on a railroad trestle. The Hulk sees it, and tries to snuff it out, but causes the trestle to be shattered. Of course, a train is approaching, too fast to stop before it hits the damaged trestle, but the Hulk puts it back in place again until the train passes. Later, Rick Jones reads a newspaper story about the Hulk trashing the trestle, but doesn't believe the Hulk would've done it, so he calls on the Teen Brigade (introduced in Incredible Hulk #6) to alert the Fantastic Four, asking them to contact him. Loki doesn't want the FF involved, so he sends the radio waves to be intercepted by Don Blake instead, who transforms to Thor. But what Loki doesn't realize is that the diverted message was also received by Ant-Man and the Wasp, who also head off in response, as well as Tony Stark, who dons his golden Iron Man armor to respond. Meanwhile, the FF finally get the message, and contact Rick to let him know they're on another case, but that others have responded who will help. At that moment, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp enter the Teen Brigade HQ. Loki, seeing this, causes a mental projection of the Hulk to appear to draw Thor away, since he only wants Thor involved. Thor follows the projection for some distance before discovering it's an illusion. Back at the Teen Brigade HQ, Iron Man notices Thor has left, but assures Rick that he, Ant-Man and the Wasp should be able to find the Hulk. Meanwhile, the Hulk has shown up... at a circus, of all places, where he's being called Mechano, a lifelike robot, and is juggling a horse, a seal, and an elephant! Despite the panel saying this was “meanwhile,” it must've been a few days at least, as the ringmaster/owner remarks that they've been sold out every night this week, thanks to this robot he “found” (why the heck the Hulk figured he'd disguise himself as a robot is beyond me). Unfortunately for the Hulk, an ant spots him and reports to Ant-Man, and he plus the Wasp head out in response. When they arrive, Ant-Man commands his ants to dig beneath the Hulk to cause a cave-in. The Hulk busts out, spotting Ant-Man and the Wasp, and decides to leave. Ant-Man tries to stop him by having his ants dropping a steel cylinder over the Hulk (don't ask me how they could possibly carry it), but the Hulk breaks free of it, too. When the Wasp starts to buzz around the Hulk, the Hulk uses a bellows to blow her away. At this point, Iron Man shows up, and between the three heroes, the Hulk is caught in a safety net, but he rips out of it and flees, pursued by Shellhead, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The Hulk tricks Iron Man so he can attack from the rear, damaging Iron Man's armor. As the Hulk leaps off, Iron Man asks the Hulk to trust him – but the Hulk trusts nobody! Meanwhile, at Asgard, Thor gets permission from Odin to go to the Isle of Silence to confront Loki, facing a few minor threats en route. When Thor confronts Loki, Loki uses a few spells to try to hold the Thunder God off, then calls on a troll to battle Thor. Thor defeats the troll and turns to attack Loki, but is fooled by a mental image. Thor generates a whirlwind to blow all the multiple images off, learning which is the real Loki, and then uses his hammer to soak up magnetic currents in order to draw Loki to its head, vowing to bring Loki to Earth. In the meantime, Iron Man pursues the Hulk to an automobile factory, where they battle some more until Thor arrives on the scene to tell them they have no reason to fight, revealing that it was all trickery on Loki's part. Suddenly, Loki makes himself radioactive, telling the Hulk and Iron Man to leave in ten seconds so he can renew his battle with Thor. But Loki isn't aware of a horde of ants moving over a switch, causing a trapdoor to open, dropping Loki into a lead-lined tank (why there's a lead-lined tank at this automotive factory – told that it's where trucks that carry radioactive wastes from atomic tests dump their loads – isn't really logical. For that matter, neither is the idea that Loki can't escape from it). Ant-Man and the Wasp propose that the five of them team up, and Iron Man and Thor readily agree. The Hulk, tired of being hunted and hounded, agrees as well, and the Wasp comes up with the name “The Avengers.”

Invention Exchange: No real inventions featured here, other than Iron Man's armor.

Reprinted In: Marvel Tales Annual #2, Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, Marvel Masterworks #4, Avengers Classic #1, Avengers: Assemble (Family Dollar Exclusive, 2005), Essential Avengers #1, and Avengers: I am an Avenger (one-shot, 2010).

Notes: There's no mention of Bruce Banner in this story at all that I noticed... obviously something happened between the guest-appearance in Fantastic Four #12 and now to have the Hulk hounded the way he is, either unable to get back to Banner's hidden underground lab to change back to Banner or not wanting to!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fantastic Monsters of the Films #7!


Comic Book Advertisements!

This week's ads come from Gold Key's Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #9, and it will start off looking like there's a theme!
First up is this ad for the Sales Leadership Club, which as you can see offers fabulous prizes, and all you have to do is sell their Christmas Cards door-to-door! Man, these kind of ads used to be in about every single comic book, so obviously some kids were responding to them, and were also successful enough that these companies could stay in business and keep paying for the ads. You'll note the rather prominent rocketship at the top of the ad... yet there is really nothing like a rocketship being offered as a prize!

Comic Book Advertisements!

Still looking at ads from Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #7 this time around!
There's several ads here of interest to me! Let's go clockwise, starting from the upper left, shall we? Obviously, this is another example of the "kids who read comics must be interested in stamp collecting" ad, and it must've been successful for those advertisers, considering how many stamp ads I've come across! The stamp in question was a Walt Disney US commemorative stamp, and I don't know how they could claim that people were paying up to $1,000 for it, considering the stamp is only worth about $1.06 these days -- maybe there was a speculator's market on this stamp happening?

The next ad I want to talk about is the "You Can Learn to Draw Comics" ad, which I know I've seen in all sorts of comics. I never responded to this, though... what I really wanted to know was who the superhero presented there was! Anyway, as you can see, the ad is really for information on the "Art Director's Course," which I'd guess was another of those learn art by mail things.

The magic trick ad is pretty cool just for the retro-styled magician featured in it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Countdown to Halloween: Monster Trading Cards!

Here's more Creature Features cards!

CBT: 1966 Batman Coloring Book, Part 2!

When last we left the Caped Crusdaders, they had built the Bat-Boat in order to counter the nefarious crimes of the Frogman! But little do they know, Frogman has his own secret weapon to deal with Batman and the Boy Wonder! And now, let's look in on Frogman's next caper!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cool Stuff!

First up, a few Beatles collectibles! Above is a flicker button, and a set of four flicker rings. That's it for the Beatles stuff, but there's more cool stuff after the jump!

Countdown to Halloween: Monster Monday!

This week's Monster Monday begins with this moody still from Curse of the Undead!

Dog of the Geek: Bolt!

Bolt_ver2Breed: Generic, but loosely based on American White Shepherd.

Original Appearances: Bolt (Walt Disney 2008)

Other Appearances: Bolt Computer Game (2008)

Biography: Bolt is a small white dog who stars in the eponymous tv show Bolt, in which he portrays a super-powered dog. In order to get him to act on the program, he's been led to believe that he actually has super-powers, and that the filmed adventures are real – so he has to keep saving a girl named Penny to thwart the plans of Doctor Calico. One day, Bolt escapes his trailer because he believes that Penny has actually been kidnapped. He manages to get accidentally shipped to New York from Hollywood, where he meets an alley cat named Mittens, teaming up with her to return to Hollywood (without Mittens being okay with the idea at first). Bolt is confused by the apparent loss of his superpowers, figuring that exposure to styrofoam has removed them. Meanwhile, a Bolt lookalike is found to replace Bolt for filming. Bolt and Mittens have several adventures, including being captured by Animal Control, and teaming up with Rhino, a hamster who is a huge fan of Bolt's TV show. The trio arrive in Hollywood, arriving on the set in time to see Penny embracing Bolt's replacement. This causes Bolt to think Penny never loved him, but Mittens discovers otherwise. When Bolt's replacement accidentally causes a studio fire, Bolt manages to rescue Penny with the help of the fire department. Later, Bolt and Penny both quit the show being replaced with new actors. Bolt, Penny, Mittens and Rhino enjoy their new life together.

Powers: On the TV show, Bolt has a number of super-powers, such as super-strength, laser vision, super-speed, and a super-bark.

Miscellaneous: The original treatment for this movie was American Dog, with a roughly similar plot (without the super-powers). I have no idea why DC Comics or Warner Bros didn't sue Disney over Bolt, given that the TV version of Bolt is very close to Krypto the Superdog, with Streaky the Supercat's lightning bolt marking.