Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Here's a short animated BEETLE BAILEY cartoon that appeared on SESAME STREET in, I believe, 1973. The original idea was that kids would relate to characters they already knew from comic books and strips. Thus the appearances of Superman, Batman, Beetle and others here and Spider-Man later on THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.
A little seen 1997 cartoon produced by the great Chuck Jones but directed by Stephen Fossati introduces the new bird character Cornbread (voiced by June Foray)to play opposite Sylvester the Cat (voiced by Joe Alaskey). Wikipedia says this went unreleased but I think it has been available somewhere--just don't know where.
What we have here is a 1973 issue of TIM TYLER'S LUCK from King Comics. Okay, now let us discuss the problems with that sentence.
1) King Comics suspended their line six or seven years earlier and according to GCD never published a TIM TYLER'S LUCK comic.
2) The indicia indicates this comic was published by Charlton in spite of what the cover says.
3) This is predominantly a FELIX THE CAT comic, featuring only one brief badly drawn TTL story and a cover.
4) According to the Grand Comics Database, TIM TYLER'S LUCK only ever appeared in comic books in the 1940's in ACE COMICS and never had its own title!
I wrote veteran comics historian Lou Mougin for help with info on this title which is found often on EBay but never with any real descriptive info. He replied that it was a new one on him. According to Lou, King DID distribute educational comics to schools in the seventies so one can presume--in spite of very little educational content--that this was one.
This, of course, begs the question of what OTHER unknown comics King had in this series. The back cover here seems to indicate the possibility of comic books featuring POPEYE, HI & LOIS, QUINCY (Not Jack Klugman's), TIGER, HENRY (who has one page in TIM TYLER'S LUCK) and THE LITTLE KING.
Anyone have any other info on these?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
As a lifelong booklover/bookseller/librarian, the concept of BANNED BOOKS WEEK, created in 1982 to bring to light the incredible number of challenges and outright bans on books throughout the US at any given time, has always been near and dear to my ink-stained heart.
When I was managing bookstores, we would put up big displays of books banned nearby every year, the Bible often among them. Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Stephen King, Robert Cormier and the ever-popular for banning Judy Blume were also there. Then at one point, the company stopped participating as they didn't want to "offend" potential customers. AAARRGH! Talk about missing the point!
Today is the start of this year's BANNED BOOKS WEEK. Find out more info here--http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/ The map you see here represents the places books became an issue in the US just since 1977 and clicking on each little blue marker at that site will give details. Look. Then go to your local library or bookstore and pick up a banned book. There's lots of good ones to choose from--Steinbeck, JK Rowling, Tin-Tin, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and sadly hundreds more. Do it because in this country you CAN and don't let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't read. Have faith in our kids that the ideas in the books will make them THINK for themselves. I'd rather have my son disagree with me on something by coming to his own conclusion rather than mindlessly becoming a clone of me. If what he reads sparks questions or further reading, how exactly is that a bad thing?
Maybe you could say that not all people in the US are as well-equipped to take these ideas without being negatively affected. Maybe you're right but maybe that's because they've been sheltered all along from potential harmful ideas. I know from my own experience reading anything and everything I could get my hands on at a young age that while a book might make me think, in and of itself it will never change my beliefs on anything. I love to read books by people I disagree with on any subject so I can come to understand THEIR viewpoints better. Tell me again why that's a bad thing?
Go. Read something you shouldn't.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
AGAR AGAR, the psychedelic strip in the series, derives its odd title from (from Wikipedia) " ...a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed (that) can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in jellies, ice cream and Japanese desserts." Still not sure what this has to do with anything mind you but...Here's the complete AGAR AGAR strip from issue seven, a super hero parody featuring our heroine's encounter with "Superbat." According to Net info this Albert Solsona drawn strip was written by Sadko(??).
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I did, however, mailorder the 12 issues of the British version through a TBG ad. I waited impatiently for weeks and never heard anything from the seller. Finally, I wrote and was answered with a letter apologizing for the delay and offering to send me something else instead. I wrote back and agreed, accepting something now long forgotten in place of the mags. Whatever it was, it arrived quickly. Months passed and one day I received the original order--all 12 DRACULA issues in near mint condition! Shocked and surprised, I felt guilty as I had already accepted something else for my money! I contacted the Post Office (for some reason) and was informed that under US postal law the DRACULA shipment was now considered separate from the completed original transaction and, since I had placed NO re-order for the items, they were now considered legally to be "a gift" for which I could not be charged by law. Hmmm...seemed fishy to me. I still felt guilty. Hell, I STILL feel guilty. I kept them, though.
Looking at them today, I find the stories virtually unreadable but the art absolutely breathtaking in spots! Every issue features the same four artists in the same order, all behind painted covers that look as if they could have been lifted off of contemporary horror novels. The highlight of every issue is WOLFF, a CONAN-like barbarian strip by the brilliant Esteban Maroto whose work was just then beginning to appear in mainstream US comics. Stylish and colorful, I don't really care what the story is about. It's just fun to look through every page and savor every panel.
Josep M. Bea had the second spot with completely different but equally stylized art. Already familiar to me from Warren work, he was not a favorite at the time but I look at it now and it looks better than most comics art of its day. Bea seems to have been an an interesting person, too. According to Wikipedia, "In 1979 he was convicted for offenses against morality for the content of one of his stories...and was forbidden (for some time) from doing anymore artwork." Wow.
The series AGAR-AGAR answers the perhaps unasked question, "What would it look like if Peter Max had drawn comics?" Actually, the artist was Alberto Solsona clearly channeling the master of psychedelic pop art! Something about fairies and demons and peace and zen and yellow submarines (Not really, sorry). Who knows? It really doesn't matter, I tell you. It may read like a series of bad hippie tracts but the visuals alone will ensure you a good trip over and over again!
My favorite contributor then and now is Enric Sio, already a veteran of Spanish and British comics although I had never seen any at that time. Even though he clearly utilized extensive photo reference, the artist twisted and turned the most ordinary images into foreboding or downright creepy images. With some of his pages nearly wordless in every issue, there are some genuinely disturbing visuals here in his one-off terror tales which, for a horror comic, really isn't a bad thing!
Overall, I find this more interesting than good, more visually stimulating than enjoyable, more impressive looking than truly well done. In the end, I think the biggest impact that DRACULA had on me was to introduce me to a lifelong appreciation for several very different--non Kirby-like--styles of comics art.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
If you're a SPIDER-MAN fan, then you should be aware that all of Spidey's earliest adventures were colored by creator Steve Ditko's growing interests in the Objectivist philosophies of writer/philosopher Ayn Rand. Here, much missed civil talk show host Phil Donahue has Ms. Rand for a feisty, grumpy interview, perhaps her last on television. It's a bizarre and fascinating piece as the author proceeds to tell the acolytes in the audience that they don't understand her at all, dammit! Follow to part 2 and beyond at the end if interested. The whole thing will give you some idea of the A is A philosophy which Ditko has allowed to color his life and works for so many years now.
Here is all the animation done for a proposed theatrical cartoon series based on Edgar Rice Burroghs' JOHN CARTER, WARLORD OF MARS. These cartoons were to be done by former Warner Brothers animator Bob Clampett who, instead, went on to do TIME FOR BEANY.
Pt 1 of Richard Corben's legendary animated version of DEN/NEVERWHERE from 1968. Follow the link to part 2 at the end. I had heard about this for decades but never seen it until YouTube where, if you time it right, you can find everything!
When we got our first UHF commercial station here in the Cincinnati area in 1968, WXIX-TV, it did not broadcast on weekends except in the evenings. For a brief period in 1970, however, they offered a unique experiment which I believe to have been a syndicated package offered to other such stations around the country. It was called THE MUSIC CONNECTION and pre-saged MTV as well as those high cable all-music channels by more than a decade. THE MUSIC CONNECTION was literally a radio-like playing of then popular songs with WMP-style graphics as visuals. If I recall correctly it ran overnight on Friday nights and all day Saturday until CREATURE FEATURE started in the evening around 7. I kept it on as background music for reading, eating, cleaning, talking on the phone and just generally lazing around. The fun part was watching for those rare instances when THE MUSIC CONNECTION played actual music videos! I recall one from Santana, several from the ubiquious German show BEAT CLUB and two specific ones--"Goin' Up the Country" by Canned Heat and this one, Hugh Masekela's "Grazin' in the Grass" as done by the 5th Dimension-like group, the Friends of Distinction. I've enjoyed this version ever since.
I just finished watching all three of the enjoyable early sixties French FANTOMAS films with son Bookdave. Ostensibly starring swashbuckling French film legend Jean Marais (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) as both hero and villain, the first film is easily stolen by the rubber-faced antics of comic actor Lois De Funes as the Police Commissioner. In subsequent films, a la Clouseau and the Pink Panther movies, De Funes has more screen time than anyone. If one is looking for true to the source adaptations of the crime novels from the earliest years of the 2oth century, these are not that. These are more like low budget Bond films where the sly, stylish villain constantly outwits the bumbling heroes. By the third and final film, FANTOMAS VS SCOTLAND YARD, the cracks in the formula were already showing so it's probably good that they stopped when they did. Lots of fun, though (and luckily much better prints than this trailer!).
Monday, September 21, 2009
Dino walks through his role as a San Francisco attorney who successfully defends a killer (the always enjoyable Thalmus Rasulala) against a murder charge only to then be stalked because of that success. A good supporting cast included Denise (ROOM 222) Nicholas, Eugene Roche (the guy from the ubiquitous seventies dishwasher commercials), Geraldine Brooks and early appearances by LAVERNE & SHIRLEY's Cindy Williams and MIAMI VICE's Phillip Michael Thomas. As I say, a good supporting cast but pretty much a TV movie supporting cast. Add to this the fact that TV veteran Paul Bogart directs and again I have to wonder how this late MGM release ever found its way--briefly--into theaters. Even in the dull newspaper ad Dean reminds one of a MAD parody of himself. Note that the ad itself is shaped vaguely like an old-style TV screen. What were they thinking?
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It seems that on the way to its presumed place in the pop culture pantheon, THE DEEP was upstaged by a little picture released a couple of weeks earlier--STAR WARS. STAR WARS was almost immediately THE runaway summer hit for everyone but the hardcore sci-fi writers and fans. Ben Bova was misquoted in TIME making it sound as though he liked it when he didn't. Harlan Ellison corrected that impression in a five page lambasting of George Lucas' movie published in GALLERY later that year.
I saw STAR WARS that opening weekend and, like most fans, many times more over the next year! As a huge film fan, I also saw THE DEEP when it opened. It was a matinee on the picture's opening weekend and there were only a handful of people in the downtown theater...most apparently awake and sober. The only thing I really remember about what we were TOLD would be the movie of the year is that it had some great underwater photography.Oh and...well...Jackie did have nice breasts!
Printed here is a vintage STAR WARS review from THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER in which Tom McElfesh begins to suspect THE DEEP might have competition.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Joanna Lumley and the late Gareth Hunt reunite in 1994 for the VHS release of their NEW AVENGERS TV series from the mid-seventies. From what I've read, the cool, burly Hunt--as Mike Gambit--had been added to the classic AVENGERS format as it was felt that Patrick Macnee was too old for action scenes so his John Steed character was to appear less frequently. If true, somewhere along the line, that idea was abandoned and Steed, Gambit and Purdey made a charismatic trio in a couple of seasons of hit and miss episodes now nearly as fondly recalled as the more familiar Diana Rigg episodes of a few years earlier.
My own personal favorite "Good Duck Artist" on why we haven't seen any new stories by him in quite a while and why we sadly aren't likely to do so again. If you aren't familiar with his work, grab some. Anything. Don's sense of humor is almost identical to mine so I find his work hilarious but more importantly, he managed to fill his funny animal stories with the kind of attention to character, detail, old fashioned storytelling and sometimes very real emotion that only a true master of comics as an art form can do. Don't be prejudiced just because they're ducks. Classic stuff!
BLACKHAWK premiered from Quality Comics in 1941 and the strip floundered on for some years after World War II, eventually shifting to DC in the late fifties. Why they would choose to make this serial (starring Kirk "SUPERMAN" Alyn) as late as 1952 is a mystery. Interesting to note the surprising screen credit for artist Reed Crandall. Crandall neither created the strip nor was its main artist by that point but obviously his still-popular work made an impact!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I haven't seen this mentioned in any of the articles, interviews or IMDB trivia sections about PULP FICTION but is there a possibility that Quentin based his two mismatched hit men on a similar pair of characters appearing in a 2nd season episode of that TV series that originally aired in 1972?
McCLOUD was a popular, long-running cop show whose gimmick (all cop and detective series in the seventies were required to have a gimmick) was that it's main character was a cowboy uprooted to Manhattan. In this particular episode, "A Little Plot at Tranquil Valley," full-time mortuary owner and part-time criminal Burgess Meredith has a couple of killer minions named Richard and Morgan.
Richard is white, quirky, chatty, nervous and cruel. Morgan is black, witty, philosophical, intelligent, soft-spoken but with a bad temper and has a penchant for quoting Shakespeare. COMBAT star Vic Morrow plays Richard and distinguished African-American actor Moses Gunn (in SHAFT the year before) plays Morgan. The two have nearly all of their scenes together and play off of each other very well.
So, did young, impressionable Quentin watch McCloud and without even realizing it file away these character types? Just asking. Anybody out there know Quentin? Ask him and let us know!
Monday, September 14, 2009
"And Galexo himself? Even in this continuity, it's established the dynamic duo are friends with Superman, how are we supposed to be impressed with this guy??"
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Although most papers dropped it much sooner, the strip actually limped on until 1974 during which time it took some fascinating turns! Not the least of these was giving up Batman and Robin a year or so before the end but retaining Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson in support of a new hero called GALEXO! As this strip has never been reprinted...its very scarcity has made it intriguing to fans.
Intriguing it has been and I know a number of great researchers have been helping me search from time to time and now here we have it. According to Todd, though, even the newspaper where he found these dropped it within a couple of weeks and yet it continued on for two more years so keep looking! We want more. This just seems so horribly wrong as to be weirdly great! Also seen here is my quick draw attempt (at 2 AM) at drawing the character based on what's seen here.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Well, one thing I've always enjoyed are the old-fashioned British humor comics such as BEANO and DANDY. Now comes word for all of you UK readers (and I know there are quite a few! I check these things!) that the British newspaper, THE GUARDIAN will be distributing free facsimile reproductions of some of these nostalgic comic books. Here's the press release:
Remember how you were with seven classic comics for grown up boys and girls. We are printing an original issue of Jackie, The Beano, Roy of the Rovers, Bunty, The Dandy, Tammy and Whizzer And Chips every day in the Guardian and the Observer from Saturday 12 September.
It all starts on Saturday with the 1975 Valentine's Day special of Jackie, featuring David Essex, Slade, the Cathy and Claire problem page and a Donny Osmond strip story!
The Beano's back on Sunday with the 2000th issue from 1980, featuring a Dennis the Menace front cover and all your favourites: Lord Snooty, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.
On Monday it's the one where Roy Race is shot in Roy of the Rovers from 1981, followed by the Bunty 1972 Summer Special on Tuesday. The Dandy, with the last Korky the Cat cover from 1984 is your comic for Wednesday, while Thursday sees the return of the very first Tammy from 1971. And finally, on Friday, catch up with Sid, Slippy and Shiner in Whizzer and Chips, two comics in one!
They don't make them like this anymore....
Full running order for comics giveaway:
Sat 12 September - Jackie
Sun - Beano
Mon - Roy of the Rovers
Tues - Bunty
Wed - The Dandy
Thu - Tammy
Fri - Whizzer and Chips