Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ape of the Geek: Abu!

Species: Monkey (specific species unknown, possibly a capuchin monkey)

First Appearance: Aladdin (Disney, 1992)

Other Appearances:  The Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (both direct-to-video movies), Aladdin, Hercules: The Animated Series, House of Mouse (TV shows, Disney Channel). 

Merchandising: Abu has appeared in a number of Disney video games, Disney park attractions, as well as a wide range of toys.

Biography: Abu is a thief by nature, as well as a kleptomaniac obsessed with shiny items. It's unknown how Abu came to be Aladdin's pet, but whatever the circumstances, he's clearly devoted to Aladdin, willing to risk his life to save Aladdin and his friends. He hates to be made a fool of. 

When we first meet Abu, he and Aladdin are escaping the Palace Guards after stealing bread, almost getting caught when he is attracted to a jewelry stall. Later, when Aladdin meets Jasmine for the first time, Abu almost gets caught picking a pocket. When Aladdin is later jailed, Abu helps Aladdin escape. Later, in the Cave of Wonders, it's Abu who wakes the Magic Carpet, but he also is tempted to steal a  ruby from a monkey idol, bringing about the destruction of the cave. Later, when Jafar is about to stab Aladdin, Abu bites him on the arm, stealing the magic lamp in the process. After the Genie is awakened, Abu is transformed into an elephant to provide transportation to Agrabah. Jafar changes Abu back to a monkey by Jafar, who imprisons Aladdin, Abu and the Carpet into a tower and sends them to the ends of the earth. When they escape and return, Abu helps by knocking out Iago to keep him from alerting Jafar. 

In The Return of Jafar, Abu is given the job of guarding Iago the Parrot, who stayed with them after Jafar's defeat. Later, during a picnic, Abu spots a spider that leads to dozens more, which combine to form Jafar, who seeks revenge. During the battle, Iago nearly sacrifices his life to defeat Jafar, leading Abu to accept Iago's switching sides. In Aladdin: The Series, Abu is often paired with Iago, and still is tempted to steal, but he has started to develop a conscience. During this series, Abu gains a pick that can open any lock.

In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Abu's excited to see the day Aladdin and Jasmine to wed, but Aladdin wishes he had a father figure. It's discovered that Aladdin's father is alive, and Aladdin, Abu, Carpet and Iago go to see Cassim (Aladdin's father). Aladdin successfully defeats Cassim's thieves, but later the thieves betray Cassim, and Abu helps to rescue him before the wedding. At the end of the movie, Abu decides to stay at the palace with the Genie, Aladdin, Jasmine, Carpet and the Sultan while Iago goes off adventuring with Cassim.

Powers: Abu has no real powers, although he appears to be very intelligent for a monkey!

Miscellaneous: Abu was voiced by Frank Welker, who's had a long career voicing cartoon characters, especially animals.

Puzzle Time!

Answers after the jump!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Covers Redux!

Time once again to compare and contrast an original Marvel comic with the cover of the book reprinting the same issue! Most of this go-round's covers reprint the original covers with recoloring, but let's see if we can find any other changes!

First up is Fantastic Four #55 and the reprint in Marvel's Greatest Comics #42. Interesting to see how different coloring can make a cover look almost completely different, eh? The reprint is slightly reduced, and I'd imagine some minor addition had to be made on the right side as a result. The cover dress at the time required the blurb to be reworked, and as you can see it was cut and pasted into a different position. Note also that the speed lines for the Surfer have been altered above his arm to a broken line, instead of the original solid ones. The different coloring almost makes it look like the Thing was reinked, doesn't it?

Next, it's Sgt. Fury #63 and the reprint in issue #159, and the coloring is very different this time around. It looks like the art was reduced just a tiny bit, but other than that, I can't really see a major change.

There was a major reduction made when Avengers #76 was reprinted in Marvel Super Action #37... the art was reduced quite a bit to fit the larger cover dress, and the tower Arkon and the Scarlet Witch are on was cut off. Arkon's word balloon has been reworked, although it appears the original lettering was cut and pasted into its new position!  The recoloring doesn't seem as extensive as on other covers, other than the Black Panther.

It may have been the scanning of the cover of Marvel Tales #135 that makes it appear so much darker than Amazing Spider-Man #158. Other than that, we've got a reduced cover and probably some added art on the left. It's also been shifted down slightly.

Recoloring only, plus Steranko's signature moved, when Captain America #111 was reprinted in Marvel Super Action #13. It almost looks like it was rotated slightly, but that could be an optical illusion (Cap's shield seems to be oriented just slightly different).

It was all-new cover time when Avengers #27 was reprinted in Marvel Triple Action #21. Note that the Witch's costume is colored much more red than the original purplish tones. It's odd that the new cover would resemble the original so closely... and how can you beat a Kirby Kover, really?

When The Incredible Hulk #122 was reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes #74, it looks light a slight reduction was made, and the cover shifted down about a quarter of an inch or so. Note also that the blurb was moved to accommodate the UPC code. I think the coloring on the original was much better, the Hulk shouldn't be so brightly colored!

Lastly, we have Amazing Spider-Man #69 and the reprint in Marvel Tales #52. This is another shift-it-down-and-recolor-it-with-added-balloons job, like we've seen before. I remember buying this issue of Marvel Tales off the newsstand (probably the MTA issue a few covers up, too).

Happy Halloween! Bonus Monster Stuff Post!

Just 'cause I can't let the holiday go without some kind of Halloween-related post today!
Dracula's Daughter lobby cards! More after the jump!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cool Stuff!

So, Christmas is less than two months away... are any of these items on your Christmas Want list?
Barbarella US lobby card above, Mexican lobby card below!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kirby Kovers!

It's time for another parade of Kirby Kovers!
I suspect Kirby didn't do full pencils on this one.