Saturday, January 04, 2014

Give-A-Show Video Feature!

This time around, I'm presenting a couple of Talking Show Projector videos I created! The first one features the Gooney Bird, which was Kenner's commercial mascot for a time in the 1970s.

Next, it's the Harlem Globetrotters... but you won't hear a single Globetrotter, instead you'll just hear Mel Blanc as a sportscaster!

Geek TV: I Dream of Jeannie!

i-dream-of-jeannie-tv-movie-poster-1020282988It's the return of Geek TV to the Random Acts of Geekery!

Concept: Astronaut finds gorgeous genie who wishes to serve his every whim, his whim is to keep her a secret, she's not good at restraint, hilarity ensues.

Total Episodes: 139

Original Air Dates: September 18, 1965 – May 26, 1970

Original Network: NBC

Friday, January 03, 2014

Retro-Review: Hercules #10 (Modern Comics)

188635And it's time for the return of Retro-Reviews to the Random Acts of Geekery! But this time I'm going about it a bit differently. I've started re-reading my comic book collection (all four short boxes of it, as of this writing), and what I'm going to do is pick a book more or less at random that I haven't re-read yet, and read it and blog about it here!

The first book I've chosen is Hercules #10, as reprinted by Modern Comics from the original Charlton Hercules #10. The Charlton series basically retold the mythological stories of the 12 tasks of Hercules, although in sometimes altered form!

The cover art, as well as the art for the Hercules story in this issue, was both penciled and inked by Sam Glanzman. The Hercules story was written by Joe Gill, one of Charlton's mainstay writers. Also in this issue is an installment of Thane of Bagarth, written by Steve Skeates with art by Jim Aparo.

"The Ninth Head that Coudn't Die" opens with a full-page splash, as Hercules asks Zeus for a rest from performing the tasks assigned to him by King Eurystheus (egged on by Hera). He's heard also by Hera and Mars, who mock him. Zeus chooses not to answer directly, but instead by sending bolts of lightning down, so Herc goes back to Mycenae for his next task.

Eurystheus tells Hercules that there's a swamp in Argos near the Well of Amymone, and Herc is to find and kill the monster there, and bring it back. When Hercules suggests this is an easier task than the others, because he can use his weapons, the King replies, "Yes it does, doesn't it? Well... have fun, Hercules." This is but one example of some colloquialisms the characters use in dialogue that I find kind of jarring, no matter how great the art is. Hercules is suspicious, though, and consults the Oracle of Plaeceum, but when he tries to enter the Oracle's cave, fumes from the netherworld try to prevent his entry.

Does this stop our hero? Nay, of course! Upon entering the cave, Hercules spots a golden beast, but instead of attacking it, he says, "Your trickery goes for naught, Oracle. Answer my question lest I lose patience and smite thy true self despite thy guise!" So now Herc is talking more like we expect comic book gods to talk, thanks to years of reading Thor! Changing to her true self as a beautiful brunette woman with hair long enough it rests on the cave floor, she beckons Hercules forward so that she may whisper into his ear.

However, this is a trick, for as Hercules gets closer the strands of her hair start to wrap around him (like the Inhumans' Medusa). The Oracle tells Hercules he is her slave, but Herc still has one arm free! And with that arm, holding his sword, he says, "If I can but wield my the sword once... touché!" as he destroys the vision that was destroying him.

Yes, you read that right, the Greek half-mortal/half-god Hercules says "Touché"!

Well, this causes the Oracle to present herself in her real true form, a crone, saying what she did was but a prank, and that "You could hurt someone with that thing!" Finally, she tells Hercules the monster of the swamp is the Lernaean Hydra, a huge snake with nine heads, and that one of those heads may not be chopped off, while the others will multiply if removed.

Meanwhile, back on Mount Olympus, Hera is plying Zeus with food and drink, and musicians play. Zeus asks how Hercules is faring, and tells Zeus that he's off to fight the Hydra... and not to blame her, but King Eurystheus, for the nature of the twelve labors. Zeus is certain Hercules will triumph.

Later, at the swamp, Herc's chariot and horses become stuck in the muck, so he must proceed on foot. Shortly, he is beset upon by the Hydra! He begins slashing at it with his sword, chopping off heads, but of course two heads grow in the place of each one he cuts off! He decides next to try for the main head, but when his sword hits the neck of that one, it is as if it had struck granite, causing Herc to cry out, "Oh, golly."

Yes, that's what he said. "Oh, golly."

Well, as Herc beats a hasty retreat, he is fortunate enough to encounter the youthful admirer, Iolaus, who is bearing a torch. Hercules tells Iolaus to set fire to the swamp, somehow determining that if the severed heads are burnt, they will not multiply. He's successful with this, but before he can kill the Hydra, Iolaus screams, warning Hercules that he's about to be joined in the battle by a gigantic land crab! While the shell of the crab is impervious to his sword, its mouth is not, and Herc strikes, stabbing it there with his sword.

But what of the Hydra? He'd forgotten about it, and it had been patient enough to wait for the crab to finish before renewing the attack. With all the heads cut off but one, Hercules climbs up a handy cliff, so that he may somehow gain better leverage, finally chopping off the main head! But even this won't keep the Hydra dead, as the rest of it won't burn, and it will be able to regenerate. So Hercules takes a humongous stone, and throws it on top of the last of the heads, saying that the stone will never move again.

Lightning rips from the sky as Zeus speaks to Hercules, saying, "Thou dost well, Hercules, my son. I, your father, acknowledge thy excellence and hope soon to bid you welcome into the kingdom of the gods! Perform thy deeds that the  day wouldst soon come." Nice speech, that.

Of course, Mars gets the last word, telling Hera, "Gee, Ma, I hate that kid." Yes, that is indeed what he says.

Still, modern expressions aside, it's a fun retelling of the story, and I have to wonder if this series might have inspired Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in some way.

Next, it's Chapter 10 of Thane of Bagarth. Thane is not a name, but a title. The main character appears to be a warrior named Hrothelac, use was banished from his home country and found by Celts when he lay bleeding from wounds received in battle (he used to be Thane, or leader of Bagarth). As the women of the tribe tend to his wounds, word arrives that a Viking ship was approaching the English shore. The women note a strange symbol on Thane's hand (a circle with a line through it, extending through on both sides). Thane is a former nobleman of the Geats, the text tells us.

Well, after that recap of Hrothelac's origins, we see a modern-day man, flying through time and space through use of a time machine, and he lands in medieval England. Hiding from approaching horsemen, he ducks into the woods. Meanwhile, in Sweden, Vikings are battling the Swedes, and their leader has been separated, but found by Freahulf, who herself just escaped. However, Bowanda, treacherous kinsman to Hrothelac, currently Thane, sees that Eadstan (the leader we just met) isn't among his warriors, and he figures this gives him and opportunity to advance his own station.

Yeah, I'm kind of confused by all that myself. There's an awful lot happening in this story, all 7 pages of it. There's two pages to the recap, two pages with the time traveller, two with Freahulf and Eadstan, and one page with Bowanda. And I really have no idea what's happening. In some ways, it almost reads like a tale that a child is telling, making it up as they go along! I'm Facebook friends with Steve Skeates, I may have to ask him what the deal was with this story!

Fandom Library: Batmania #15


Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode 10!

The first story in this episode is called "Long Tall Sally," and obviously features the Beatles' version of the Little Richard song. As it opens, John, George and Paul are driving slowly through a fog in their car, Ringo walking ahead of them with a flashlight to show the way. John remarks that they'll never make London that night, and George suggests they find a place to stop for the night. Ringo comes upon a foreboding-looking gate, behind which is a castle. They approach the castle, and John uses the knocker. They hear dogs barking, and then the door is opened, and an old man holding said dog answers. When John asks if he has a room for the night, the man beckons them in.

beatles10-04beatles10-03They walk down a hallway filled with suits of armor (which they're told is cursed, they belonged to two mortal enemies, and whoever puts them on again would also become enemies until the great drums of peace echo in the castle). Ringo assures him they wouldn't think of putting them on, but sure enough, John and Ringo decide to put the armor on. Paul hands John the lance of Salisbury, otherwise known as Long Tall Sally. Paul reminds John of the curse, but John assures him that he and Ringo are pals, they'd never become enemies. However, it's not long before they start fighting, with a the lance (which looks more like a pike) and a mace (given to Ringo). Paul realizes the curse is working.

beatles10-05The song begins playing as the fight continues, and Paul and George look on in shock. John starts chasing Ringo down the hall, Paul and George following, before they fight continues again. There's a lot of cutting between the fight, Paul, and George (including many of the same shots). They run up and down the stairs, and the song fades out long enough for Paul to recall the drum of peace needs to be played, then fades back in. The song ends as John pushes Ringo over a parapet, but John falls too, and they land in a large drum, which they determine is the drum of peace.
John and Ringo are friends again, and all is well until Ringo squeezes John's hand too hard, and then John chases Ringo off again. George says, "I guess it's just one of those days," to which Paul quips, "Yes, and two of those knights!" The song fades back in briefly before the story ends.

Then it's sing-along time! First up is "I'll Follow the Sun," introduced by George. Ringo's still filling in for the prop man, and when George says the song has a lot of mood, Ringo dashes off stage, coming back riding a rather large cow ("mooed").

beatles10-07The song begins, with sunny skies and beautiful forests, and a lovelorn bird. The only lyric screw-up is after the guitar solo, when the lyric is, "Yeah, tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun," and the onscreen lyric shows "But" instead of "Yeah," so it's pretty minor. An extra couple of repeats of the last line are edited in. The Beatles aren't shown at all.

beatles10-08Next, George is back to introduce the next song, and he berates Maria, Peter and Shiela, who are presumably children who didn't sing along. When George tells Ringo it's a real "swinger-dinger," Ringo has the Hunchback of Notre Dame cut the rope to a large bell, which falls on George and gets a crack in it. Benjamin Franklin and someone else (Thomas Jefferson?) come out, see it, and say it's just what they're looking for before they haul it away.

beatles10-09"When I Get Home" starts, with shots of a ship on the sea, John driving a car, a plane in the air, and more (each Beatle gets a shot in a car). When they're putting the lyrics up for the song, the chorus line, "Whoah, I..." keeps appearing as "Whoa Ah". It sounds like an alternate take of the song was used, as some of the phrasing seems off to me. The final chorus has the "Whoh, I..." edited out of it.

beatles10-10The episode ends with "I'll Cry Instead." It opens in Japan, where John and Paul are posing as Ringo takes their picture, and George is being besieged by Japanese women wanting his autograph. George is late for a Judo lesson, and is dressed appropriately. Paul says, "Get him! A Japanese Beatle!" When Ringo tries to get George into the picture by taking his hand, George screams in pain, and John diagnoses it as "autographitis." Ringo suggests they get George to a doctor, and they head off running.

beatles10-12They pass an eye doctor and a foot doctor before they find a hand doctor, and rush inside. But it's actually a Sumo wrestling and karate dojo. One karate fighter asks who he's fighting today, and his manager says he's fighting the man with the stiffest hand in the world, "The Masked Masher." Outside, George is concerned that if it's recognized, they'll ask for another autograph. Paul tears off part of George's belt to make a mask, and they enter.

beatles10-11Naturally, they assume inside George is the Masked Masher, and the fight begins, to George's dismay! Paul says, "For the honor of the Beatles, you must safe face!" to which George replies, "But what about the rest of me?" Ringo tucks a doll in George's belt for good luck. The karate champ starts laying into George as the song begins.

beatles10-13George gets the crap beat out of him, occasionally crying as the chorus plays. One really feels sorry for George in this, as he definitely does not have the upper hand! His lucky break comes when he finds the doll Ringo gave him, and when he bends down to picks it up, he accidentally ducks as the karate master is leaping at him, causing the karate master to crash. Then, when he rushes back towards George, George gets hold of his opponent's belt, which causes him to spin around and crash again.

beatles10-14George is victorious, and somehow, the exercise he got cures him of "autographitis." The karate master bows to George, but accidentally injures George's foot!

Comics They Never Made!

I've always been amazed that it took until what, the 80s, for a Speed Racer comic to be published in the USA?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Government Comics!


Comics Ads: Dubble Bubble Gum!

Yes, friends, it's time to look at more ads from the Golden Age Fawcett Comics, and this time around, the focus is on Dubble Bubble Gum! Initially, Fleer paid for full page ads that featured the Dubble Bubble Kids talking up a storm about how great the product was, as seen below:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CBT: Huckleberry Hound - The Rainmaker!


Cover Redux BONUS!

Yep, friends, it's time for a bonus edition of Cover Redux!
This bonus edition starts with Fantastic Four #63 and the reprint in Marvel's Greatest Comics #46. Looks to me like the art was reduced for the reprint, and possibly some extra art added on the left-hand side. Some detail was lost in the statting.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Indexible Hulk #55

Tales to Astonish 098
Issue: Tales to Astonish #98

Title: “The Puppet and the Power!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Marie Severin, Inked by Herb Trimpe, Lettered by Art Simek

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Betty Ross, Major Talbot

Villain: Lord of the Living Lightning

Guest-Stars: N/A

Plot: The Lord of the Living Lightning, thanks to the timely arrival of Talbot, has goaded the Hulk into attacking the missile base Ross commands! As the Hulk leaps to his target, The Lord of the Living Lightning gets his men and Talbot onto a sleek attack craft, then follow. The Hulk lands in the center of the base, and Ross orders his men to gas the Hulk, while Betty asks that they don't shoot Bruce Banner. Ross has Betty confined to her quarters, guarded. Meanwhile, the Hulk rampages, destroying cannons and jets in his wake.

The Living Lightning ship surveys the damage, and lands, the troops spilling out and attacking with hand held lightning guns. Meanwhile, the Hulk's rampage is stopped by gas grenades, which knock him out. The Lord of the Living Lightning and some of his men take over Ross' office, and shortly afterwards, capture Ross as well! Then, the LLL shows Ross that they have Betty, and have out her in a cell with the slumbering Hulk! The Lord of the Living Lightning awaits Ross' decision... Will he agree to surrender the base on a nationwide radio broadcast... Or will he refuse, and see what happens to Betty when the Hulk wakes?

Invention Exchange: Lightning guns.

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #53, Essential Hulk #2, Incredible Hulk (Pocket Books)

Notes: Roy Thomas, never one to let anything go to waste, revisited the Living Lightning's base during his run on Avengers West Coast, having the son of one of the LL members finding it and getting superpowers from the equipment still there. 

Monster Stuff!

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster stills!