Saturday, June 02, 2012

Comic Reading Library BONUS: Gorgo #16!

So, sometimes, if I'm short on ideas for some features (like "It Oughtta Be..." or "Rant-Itorial" or "Ten of a Kind"), I'll swap out an installment of that and put in a bonus installment of Comic Reading Library or Fandom Library!

Cool Stuff!

First up in this Cool Stuff installment are this lobby card and poster for the Captain Midnight serial!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Geek TV: BraveStarr!

BraveStarr_lConcept: A space western – Galactic Marshall BraveStarr is a Native American stationed on the planet New Texas, able to call upon the power of “spirit animals.”

Total Episodes: 65

Original Air Dates: 1987-1988

Original Network: Syndicated

Geek Factor: 6


Marshall BraveStarr (Pat Fraley): A Galactic Marshall and Native American assigned to the planet New Texas. He can call upon the power of spirit animals to give him powers such as super-vision, super-hearing, super-strength, and super-speed. He also uses a Neutra-Laser pistol and Trans-Freezer rifle.

Thirty Thirty (Ed Gilbert): A technohorse who can transform from a quadroped to a biped. He's the last survivor of the Equestroids, a cybernetic breed of horses. He was apparently loosely based on David Lee Roth!

Handlebar (Alan Oppenheimer) Hulking green-skinned bartender and former space pirate with a Brooklyn accent. When faced with trouble in his bar he likes to use serving trays as throwing weapons.

Deputy Fuzz (Charlie Adler): Prairie dog-like alien, native of New Texas, who serves as comic relief.

Judge J.B. McBride (Susan Blu): The town's female judge and romantic interest for BraveStarr. Her father is an ex-prospector who runs the town's newspaper (apparently they don't get the Internet out there).

Shaman (Ed Gilbert): Native American who advises BraveStarr, capable of exteremely powerful magic.

Doc Clayton (): The town's Afro-American doctor, and frequent ally of BraveStarr.

Tex Hex (Charlie Adler): The leader of Stampede's gang and the main villain. Stampede mutated him and gave him magic powers.

Outlaw Scuzz (Alan Oppenheimer): Tex's henchman and cousin to Deputy Fuzz.

Sandstorm (Lou Scheimer): Red reptilian alien who can exhale great clouds of sand.

Stampede (Alan Oppenheimer): An animated Broncosaur skeleton who commands the gang, the man behind Tex Hex.

Geek Guest-Stars: Jonathan Harris, best known for his role on Lost In Space, voiced Professor James Moriarty in two episodes. Linda Gary, who also guested in a few episodes, is also known for voice roles on Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1977-1979), playing Aunt May in the 1981-1982 and 1994-1997 Spider-Man animated series, and may be best known as the voices of the Sorceress, Teela, and Evil-Lyn on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Mary McDonald-Lewis voiced Mycroft Holmes in two episodes, and voiced Lady Jaye in G.I. Joe (1984-1987). Peter Cullen, who voiced Doctor Whitson, was the voice of Mighty Man on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, voiced the Hulk and Mysterio in an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Red Skull in an episode of Spider-Man (1981-1982), several voices on Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Venger in Dungeons & Dragons, and was (and continues to be) the voice of Optimus Prime in The Transformers, plus many, many, many other roles!

Geek Pedigree:

Of course, any Filmation show has that Lou Scheimer connection to all the other Filmation shows, and his daughter, Erika Scheimer, who did a few voices here and there, worked on many of those shows as well.

Lead actor Pat Fraley had a long voice career before BraveStarr, most prominently voicing Major Talbot in the 1982-1983 The Incredible Hulk, several voices in G.I. Joe, Jake Kong Jr. in Ghostbusters (1986), and many other parts. After BraveStarr, he was the voice of Pyro and Wolverine in Pryde of the X-Men, Wildcat on TaleSpin, Cousin Itt on the 1992-1993 Addams Family, Marshall Moo Montana on Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, Bat-Mite on the 1992-1994 Batman, Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story Treats, various roles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996) including Krang, and way, way, to many more to mention! His most recent geek role was voicing Beta Ray Bill on The Super Hero Squad Show.

Charles Adler was Spike on various incarnations of My Little Pony, but you're probably more interested in knowing he was Silverbolt and Guardian Prime in Transformers, Low-Light on G.I. Joe, as well as other roles before BraveStarr; afterwards, he played roles like Captain Caveman, Jr. on The Flintstone Kids, Bat-Bat and others on Mighty Mouse, The New Adventures, Buster Bunny on Tiny Toon Adventures, Cow, Chicken, the Red Guy, I.R. Weasel and I.R. Baboon on Cow and Chicken, Dr. Doom in The Super Hero Squad Show, Cobra Commander and others on G.I. Joe: Renegades, and lots and lots of other roles!

Susan Blu has played the Archie Comics character Midge in 1978, was Kim on Fangface, Rita on The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983), Flim Flam on The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Arcee in The Transformers, Galadria on Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, and after BraveStarr did voices on Jem and other shows, but also kept busy as a dialogue director on shows like The New Adventures of He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Men In Black: The Series, Godzilla: The Series, and many more!

Alan Oppenheimer is probably always going to be best known for voicing Skeletor on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but also did the voice of Dr. Contrare in Gammera the Invincible, and all sorts of other roles, both voicework as well as on-screen – and since I've already provided some extensive credits for him before on Blackstar, I'll leave off at this.

Ed Gilbert appeared on-screen in an episode of The Wold Wild West, two episodes of the original Mission: Impossible, an episode of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, played Fenton Hardy on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, started his voice career in the 1980s, notably voicing General Hawk and others on G.I. Joe, characters in InHumanoids, The Trnasformers, and a few episodes of DuckTales, and went on afterwards to voice Major Disaster in The Toxic Crusaders, Baloo on TaleSpin, The Mandarin, the Grey Gargoyle, and other roles in the 1994-1995 Iron Man, El Seed and others on The Tick (1994-1996), Dormammu and Mr. Watson on Spider-Man (1996-1997), and other roles. He passed away in 1999, although one of his roles wasn't released until 2011.

Fandom Library: The Comic Reader #89!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Puzzle Time!


Give-A-Show Video Feature!

Today, a sort of special double feature: First, the complete Kenner Star Wars Give-A-Show Set, and then the Chad Valley one, which diverges greatly!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Indexible Hulk #24!

Tales to Astonish 068Issue: Tales to Astonish #68

Title: “Back From the Dead”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Jack Kirby, Inked by Mike Esposito (as Mickey Demeo), Lettered by Art Simek.

Supporting Cast: Major Glen Talbot, Betty Ross, General Ross, Rick Jones

Villain: Leader

Hulk Intelligence: Dumb but Strong

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: Last issue, Bruce Banner and Major Talbot were fleeing the camp of Kanga Khan (which had been attacked by rivals) when the outcropping they were on collapsed, sending them plummeting down a cliffside. While Talbot blacks out, Bruce transforms into the Hulk and not only grabs a handhold on the cliffside, he also catches Talbot! Since Talbot's passed out, the Hulk sets him down and leaps away, going towards what he feels is home, letting nothing stop him – not mountains, not the Pacific Ocean (Stan tells us the Hulk leaps from island to island – he must've crossed around the Bering Strait)! Meanwhile, the Leader is finishing his latest variation on his Humanoids, having reduced them to the size of living cells! His plan is to dust Astra Isle (where Banner's Absorbatron is located) with the Humanoids and then send a radio impulse to cause them to grow to “life size” (the Leader's phrase, not mine). The Hulk, meanwhile, eventually finds his way to Bruce Banner's home, and since he's tired from leaping half a world to here, he lies down and falls asleep, turning back to Bruce. Fortunately, it's after the transformation's occurred that General Ross, Betty, and a whole mess of MPs show up to arrest him! Days later, after Talbot's been rescued by the Air Force and returned to the USA, he meets with the President, where he insists that Banner couldn't have escaped without the Hulk's help. Of course, the President knows that Bruce and the Hulk are one and the same, but he is committed to keeping that secret. A call comes in to alert the president that the Absorbatron is again ready for testing, so he sends Talbot to accompany Banner to conduct the test (gee, and that worked out so well last time, didn't it?). Meanwhile, the Leader dusts Astra Island with his miniaturized Humanoids, leaving just as the task force arrives to guard the test (at least they included a task force this time to guard the area – why they weren't there any earlier is anyone's guess). Meanwhile, at a military compound, Bruce is visited by Rick Jones, but their uncomfortable conversation is cut short when Talbot arrives to taunt Bruce. Bruce starts to stress out, but before he can change into the Hulk, Rick gets Bruce to take a tranquilizer. Bruce and Talbot head to Astra Island, where Bruce notices the strange powdery substance on the ground, but Talbot won't listen to him, naturally. Once the two men go underground to the control room, the Leader sends the impulse that causes the Humanoids to return to normal size. Talbot and Bruce hear the noise from inside, and Talbot goes to investigate, but he's overwhelmed by the Humanoids. Then, the Humanoids enter the control area and pile on Banner, who of course changes into the Hulk! But before the Hulk can start kicking Humanoid butt, two of them start emitting gas vapors that knock the Hulk out! With the Hulk unconscious, the Leader heads to Astra Isle in his flying craft!

Invention Exchange: Miniaturized Humanoids.

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #27, The Incredible Hulk (Simon & Schuster, 1978), Essential Hulk #1.

Notes: Adapted as episode 12 of the 1966 Hulk animated series. Things are really starting to heat up here, and Stan seems to have a better idea of where he wants to go, but still – why does the Leader want the Absorbatron? Can't he invent one himself with his gamma-spawned intelligence? This story basically is a return to the tale in issue #64 – Bruce is in jail, Talbot doesn't trust him, orders come for Talbot and Bruce to go to Astra Isle to conduct tests, the Leader sends Humanoids to attack. The only real change is that this time, the Hulk's knocked out.

Character Collectible Spotlight: Aquaman, Part Four!

And this post will wrap up the Character Collectible Spotlight on the King of the Seven Seas!

Cover for Aquaman #44, by Nick Cardy!

Monday, May 28, 2012


So, what's on my mind this time around? Well, I'll tell you what's on my mind.

Have you ever set your DVR to record shows, and then when you're checking out what's to be recorded, you find that three shows you want to watch are on at the same time, but only two are recording? And you can't watch the third one live, because if you have two shows recording at the same time, you can't watch another channel, but you CAN watch something you recorded previously?

Does this make any kind of sense whatsoever?

See, here's the deal... in February, we had new episodes of House, 2 Broke Girls, and of course the second season of The Voice. Now, we've been watching the first two shows all season long... and the Voice was something that my wife really liked (I like the basic idea of it, but think they start eliminating people too fast). Well, on our DVR, since all three of those shows are on at the same time, 2 Broke Girls doesn't get recorded.

Now, here's the real twist: We figured we were probably going to be okay, we'll just watch the show On Demand later. Except that it's not available On Demand. And going to isn't any help, because they only have clips available there (I'm guessing there's a problem with the studio or something).

In the past, I've written about how House doesn't show up On Demand for eight days after it airs. Of the three shows, only The Voice is available right away. So yes, we could cancel recording The Voice and record the other two shows -- there is a solution there -- but really, with today's technology, we can't figure out how to make this work?!?

Maybe there's some inherent problem with the DVR itself that only allows two recordings at the same time (I don't know if non-Comcast DVRs have this limitation). I don't know what the problem is with getting all network shows available On Demand right away, either -- it's like someone doesn't want ratings?

And speaking of ratings... is there even a need for Nielsens any more? Shouldn't the cable companies be tracking what we actually watch (even if we just record it to watch later) through our DVRs? It shouldn't take much more than a small software update to make it happen, and then we could have *gasp* accurate ratings!

They could also use the same information to go back to networks and studios and point out that they have shows not being watched because they are up against too many other shows and aren't available On Demand.

Does anyone out there think I'm asking too much of my cable company? Because I don't believe I am... if they want people spending the kind of money we spend each month, I think we need much more service than we're getting. Although I sometimes wonder if we're even looking at things the right way... House episodes are $2.99 each on iTunes... oh, but 2 Broke Girls isn't on iTunes, so that doesn't work at all (and if the average TV show is three bucks on iTunes, that would add up to much more than we spend on cable -- although we could always just wait for full seasons on DVD, which are much cheaper, but that's getting to an earlier Rant-Itorial from this month).

So, what to do, what to do? Oh, wait... there's always getting the episodes we've missed illegally, by downloading pirated files or watching streaming video.

Yes, that's the only way for us to watch the episodes we missed, other than changing the settings on the DVR to record all, new and reruns, and hope we don't somehow miss something.

And how stupid is that? Don't these people WANT their shows to get watched? It's ridiculous. Someone needs to step up and offer what the customers need! And it should be the TV networks and the cable companies!

Cool Stuff!

More Bullwinkle stuff to start...
Like these Flicker Rings!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Government Comics!

This time around, no familiar characters, just the use of comics to get a point across!

Comic Book Ads!

More ads from old Gold Key books this time... first is this full page ad for Hostess Snack Cakes, with the offer of free baseball cards! You know, it's funny when I think about how much advertising Hostess used to do back in the 1970s... there were ads on TV during kids programming with Twinkie the Kid, Fruitpie the Magician, and so forth, plus the ads in the comics featuring DC, Marvel and other characters, and then these special offers! Those ads must've worked, because they don't need them these days, and the company still seems to be thriving!