Saturday, April 30, 2011

Steel Sterling and his Pals and Gals

Before Archie Andrews came along, STEEL STERLING, the "Man of Steel," was the star attraction from MLJ!

Friday, April 29, 2011

R.I.P.--William Campbell

Swing With Scooter

To celebrate the Royal Wedding, here's someone who was probably invited--DC's SCOOTER! Scooter was designed as National's answer to Paul McCartney...only on a motorcycle. Over time, he became more like yet another Archie clone and less and less British...or rather less and less DC's idea of what constituted British.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Honeymooners Comic Ad-1956


Note also that DC's superstars at the time consisted of Superman and Batman, a bunch of celebs and perennial faves, Mutt and Jeff.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Archie's Here...!



Well, it’s finally out! ARCHIE—A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS. This is NOT a review. The reason that this is not a review is that, in a very real way, I feel that this is MY book! Don’t get me wrong! It is most definitely Craig Yoe’s book. That said, I wrote first drafts of a dozen sections of the book (including one that didn’t make it in), provided artwork, conducted research and interviews, transcribed some of Craig’s interviews and proofread the darn thing at least three times! Others also participated including Clizia Guzzoni, Mark Arnold and Steve Barghusen. It’s their book, too. But that doesn’t make it any less MY book!



And what a book it is! It’s a very different thing to see all of this material in various formats and then see what a masterful job Mr. Yoe has done in piecing it all together into such a perfect design for the material.

The book tells the basic history of Archie Comics. As the book was sanctioned by Archie Comics, there will be undoubtedly some who complain that this is a censored, one-sided history. My response to that is that the goal was never to air anyone’s dirty laundry but instead to celebrate the classic Riverdale characters and their creators, past and present. There’s too much negativity in the world today…but not in Riverdale.

So don’t complain about what isn’t there, enjoy what is! Page after page of classic or rare and often previously unpublished artwork from Montana, DeCarlo, Goldberg, Lucey, Bolling, Ruiz and Parent. There are toys, collectibles, records, scenes from both the radio and TV cartoon series. Add in tons of little-seen annotated photographs, biographies of the characters as well as some of the major writers and artists, interviews, overviews and a number of classic stories from the earliest days right up to the Archie Renaissance of 2010 and beyond—some reproduced in high quality scans of the original art!

You want to quibble about what isn’t there? Be my guest. Having had some of my own writing cut for various reasons and having discovered many fascinating facts that just didn’t fit for one reason or another, I’m sure I could out-quibble you. But that’s not the point. The point is that for seventy years, Archie and his Pals ‘n’ Gals have delighted each succeeding generation of readers with wholesome hi-jinks and memorable cartooning. If you’ve ever been a fan, this book will delight you. If you never gave the company a second thought, this book will surprise you. If you’ve just discovered Archie…I envy you. ARCHIE—A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS will absolutely amaze you!

It’s my book and I'm proud of it. It’s very much Craig Yoe’s book. And best of all, it’s waiting to be YOUR book, too!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Denny Laine Interview-1972

Here's a fascinating and very early interview with Wings guitarist (and ultimately the only continuing member besides Paul and Linda) Denny Laine.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Archie Ad

Speaking of Archie ads, check out the one on the upper right side of this page! Ignore Amazon's note that says it won't be out until July 11th. It's available now and getting rave reviews! This is the book that I helped write last year!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 10

This month we got another new artist...or rather the return of an old one. Genial Gene Colan had been doing romance comics for DC in the early sixties when the opportunity came to do some work for that upstart Marvel company that all the hip kids seemed to like. Not wishing to jeopardize his day job, he initially hid under the pseudonym, "Adam Austin" when he debuted the Sub-Mariner's series in TALES TO ASTONISH. Anyone familiar with his distinctly NON-Kirby style would most likely have recognized who he really was immediately.

Although Colan would be considered one of the best Sub-Mariner artists in the ling run, this is not a great splash page. In fact, Namor's dramatic grab of the Serpent Crown (which would go on to bedevil Marvel characters for years!), looks more like a lovely ballet move here. Adkins remains for some contiuity between artists but he didn't help Colan's oddly thin-waisted Subby in this shot. Note, though, that the head, while still round, has picked up a little of its once and future triangular look by Gene's treatment of our hero's hair...which always seems to stay in place underwater.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beside Myself

I've decided to stop thinking of myself as unemployed and start calling it "SELF-employed." After all, I've been keeping pretty busy lately working with various folks on various projects. I just haven't gotten it to the point where I can make a living at it yet. Recently, I worked with author Martin Grams on his new SHADOW book--highly recommended. I'll be doing a big piece on it as soon as I actually finish reading all 800+ pages of it! I've spent quite a bit of time working with Craig Yoe on his two ARCHIE books, also--the big coffee-table history of which is just out this week. Again, a major article will be here as soon as I actually see a copy! It has my biggest credit, yet! I also just proofread and fact-checked a new comics history book for another author as well as doing a few pronunciation research projects for an audio book publisher. I spent much of the past week working with Craig on a thoroughly tasteless and disgusting idea for a book that will undoubtedly sell quite well.

Freelancing is fun and sometimes pays well...but not often. I'm told I'm good at it so I have no intention of stopping. That said, I am still attempting to find a regular job, also, but even McDonalds didn't give me a callback on their big hiring day last week. Sigh...

Add to this major blood pressure issues in recent months. Not even going to get into all that here but...wow.

PayPal donations are always appreciated and encouraged, especially at this time of month. Alternately, check out our BOOKSTEVE RARITIES link at right and order some DVD's. It's a shared site so I don't get all of the money but I do get a good percentage.

At this time it looks like we will not be attending this year's Cincinnati Old Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention next month for the first time since 1988. That's not yet definite but it seems hard to rationalize the expense when you're juggling the water and electric bills. Since we're here in town, we'll probably at least meet a few of the attendees for a cheap lunch while they're here.

Probably no one noticed but BRITTANY ROSE AND ME has gone away this past month. We are all excited around here that muse, model and BFF Brittany Rose has met the Man of Her Dreams and that they're busily preparing the "happily ever after" part. The downside to that is that they'll be moving far away and new photos will be few and far between. So...

Have you checked out my A GEEK'S JOURNAL-1976 blog? Phenomenally successful out of the gate this past January, it continues its worldwide success with many, many fans in Germany and Belgium! It even has a few celebrity readers!

YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST PICTURE is not the easiest blog to write and my attempts at streamlining it last year were only mildly successful. That said, Fred Astaire is more than halfway done with Mae West, Charles Laughton and Bing Crosby in the wings so there WILL be more. I just can't guarantee when.

The Wood and Morrow blogs continue apace, dealing as they do more with art than articles. Same with the popular FOUR-COLOR SHADOWS with its mix of rare and interesting Golden-Age comics finds.

The Christa Helm blog flares up in popularity every time they rerun the episode of 48 HOURS MYSTERY that John O'Dowd and I inspired with our research into her tragic and still-unsolved murder. I would love to jump back into that case with both feet but for various reasons, that's just not happening right now.

In all that spare time I DON'T have, an idea for yet another fun blog has entered my fevered brain. I don't want to give it away just yet but let's just say that it would deal with history, music, TV, movies, comics, toys and general pop culture...all from a particular vantage point in time.

So here we are, at any given time attempting to dodge either the electric, the water or the Internet being turned off as I attempt the uphill battle of making it as a freelance writer/editorial assistant in this down economy. Again, your best wishes and donations are both much appreciated.

Back tomorrow with SILVER AGE SUB-MARINER SPLASH PAGE SUNDAYS!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sarah Jane--A Moment in Time



My wife edited together this lovely tribute to the late Elisabeth Sladen and her character Sarah Jane Smith.

I Love You Alice B. Toklas Trailer--1968



Hilarious trailer for one of Peter Sellers' funniest sixties films, I LOVE YOU ALICE B. TOKLAS.

Garfunkel and Cher



From Cher's mid-seventies TV series, a surprisingly good combination of the two previously second-billed singers on a medley of Jimmy Webb songs...with Webb at the piano.

Son of Dracula--1943



I have never, ever understood the logic of casting rough and tumble Lon Chaney, Jr. as Count Dracula (or Count Alucard here) but once you get past that, this is a nice stylish trailer from the Golden Age of Universal Horror movies.

Gilbert Shelton



Here's Freak Brothers and Wonder Warthog creator Gilbert Shelton from 2010.

Guest Post: Cap'n Crunch Rides the Big Wheel!

Ever given any thought to how much beloved cereal mascots might weigh? Recently, Ace Researcher Derek Tague just happened to be reading a copy of the April 21st, 1974 Newark, NJ SUNDAY STAR-LEDGER when he noticed the ad seen here featuring perennial cereal favorite, Cap'n Crunch promoting Big Wheels!

Here's DEREK: When the Marx Big Wheel hit the market, I was too heavy to enjoy one. My best friend, Patrick Patterson, had one and his mother made it abundantly clear that I was never to ride it by pointing out that the decal attached to the toy's stem spelled out "RECOMMENDED ONLY FOR CHILDREN WEIGHING LESS THAN 65 LBS."

I guess from this ad, then, one can assume that Cap'n Horatio Magellan Crunch's avoirdupois is less than 65 pounds.

Note the short-lived "Cinnamon Crunch" and "Vanilly Crunch" in addition to the still-extant "Peanut Butter" and "Crunch Berries" varieties.

MY guess is that "Vanilly Crunch" probably didn't have any vanilla in it and, hence, Quaker got around it with the "Vanilly" nomenclature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

R.I.P.--Elisabeth Sladen


Today, apparently totally unexpectedly, Elisabeth Sladen died.


I first met her as Sarah Jane Smith,companion to the Doctor in my very first DOCTOR WHO episode, ROBOT, shown on PBS in the Cincinnati market circa 1980. I quickly became infatuated with her. That infatuation continued as I saw her again---somewhat appropriately out of continuity—as the 3rd Doctor’s companion in later reruns, as a guest in the various reunion specials and in her own spin-off, K-9 AND COMPANY. She played “and Company.”


Over time I would read about her in the various DOCTOR WHO publications and later on the Web but I think all were surprised when she came back in 2006…not just as a guest star but eventually getting her own spin-off…and this time it took! In THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, the now-sixtyish heroine remained a gorgeous, plucky and intelligent heroine only now with a posse of teenage sidekicks. This time K-9 got relegated to only occasional guest slots!


So basically, I never really knew Elisabeth Sladen…but I ended up knowing Sarah Jane Smith for more than three decades…and I loved her and will miss her.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Steranko's Future American

Always interesting to ponder what might have been. Here are a couple of mid-sixties concept drawings and pitches by the one and only Jim Steranko...pre-S.H.I.E.L.D.! This guy--FUTURE AMERICAN--was rejected by Harvey Comics even as they accepted Jim's Golden Gladiator, Magicmaster and Spyman concepts...and then went on to reject Jim, himself. What might have been...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 9


By this point the SUB-MARINER title was certainly maintaining some forward motion but one would have to be generous to say it was hitting an early stride. We have with this issue our first change in pencillers with Mirthful Marie Severin taking over for Big John Buscema. The change would be more jarring if not for Dan Adkins continuing on the inks. In fact, if anything, there are spots in this issue where Adkins style overpowers Marie's.

A good solid splash page though, with a nice closeup of our hero for a change. Adkins is so prominent on this splash (look at Namor's hand) that I only see any Severin style at all on Lady Dorma...and then she looks for all the world like she was inked by Herb Trimpe instead and maybe pasted in later!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Record Collection--Circa 1980


Here's a look at just a small portion of my record collection circa 1980. Some CSNY, Some Neil, some Tull, a little ELO and even ELP. Elton. The Captain and Tennille, McCartney, soundtracks, the Rutles, Groucho, Frank and Bing! Talk about eclectic!

Seen below is more detail of the WINGS FROM THE WINGS bootleg, a Bicentennial-themed bootleg 3 record set of Paul McCartney's first American tour with Wings during 1976, the Bicentennial year. The original price was $17.76. When I sold it just a few years later, I got sixty bucks for it.

Unfortunately, I've had to sell many of these in recent years as well as many other cool finds I'd picked up over the years. I still have some although I'll be going through them seeing what I can sell here in a day or so, also.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Liza With A Z


35 years ago, one of my favorite people in the world was Liza Minnelli. This is evidenced by how often she has turned up recently in my journal entires over at A GEEK'S BLOG-1976. I had 5 of her albums--six counting the CABARET soundtrack. I never missed her on television if I could help it and she was on television pretty frequently throughout he seventies. In fact, I still have her on audiotape from THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW singing ALL THAT JAZZ from the brief period where she replaced an injured Gwen Verdon on Broadway in Bob Fosse's CHICAGO.

I'm not sure how I became the only completely straight teenage male in seventies America obsessed with Liza with a Z but at some point it happened. I had first seen her on the Oscars when she won for CABARET. That weekend, my mother and I went to see the movie. Some time later, I saw an edited version of THE STERILE CUCKOO on television and was totally in love with her "Pookie." (That sounds awkward....)

In retrospect, I think she jumped the shark around the time of 1975's LUCKY LADY, a horrible and mostly forgotten big budget menage a trois comedy co-starring Burt Reynolds and Gene Hackman. At the time it seemed only a misstep...but it took her a few years to come up with NEW YORK, NEW YORK and even that didn't take as well as it should have. Sinatra co-opted what should have been another signature song for Liza, even! After that, her next big triumph was being second billed to Dudley Moore's ARTHUR.

Along about the same time, she had, like many others, fallen into the hedonistic disco lifestyle of the 1970's. Her films suffered. Her music stopped...for awhile.

1979 saw one of the first of Liza's comeback tours and it hit Cincinnati at the brand-spanking new Palace Theater. I was able to get a ticket for a Sunday show and it was one of the best concerts I ever saw! She was a whirlwind, zipping through rousing song and dance numbers like they were ballads for nearly two solid hours.

In the years since, Liza Minnelli has more or less transformed into another Judy Garland in many ways...most of them not so good. A couple of years ago, one of my employees who happened to be gay mentioned seeing her at the Palace all those years ago. I told him I was there, too, and we exchanged memories of our favorite songs and outfits and such. Then he said, "Wait a minute? You're straight, aren't you?" I said, "Yeah, why?" He murmured..."I don't get it" and wandered away. Sigh. Why must we label everything?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 87

So the Prankster--one of the man of Steel's most notorious villains!-- took over this radio network, see. Needless to say, SuSince it would take at least a day to get everyone together and have things go back to normal, our hero agrees to solve the all-imprtant problem of DEAD AIR by personally being on-mike the whole time...singing, tap dancing (on radio, yet) and yes, even telling some real howlers! What a guy. As far as I know this is the first time he ever used his power of Super Tap Dancing.

For the record, there were widespread reports that day of criminals getting away with just about anything and everything throughout Metropolis as the police--like the rest of the world were riveted to their Philcos.

RIP--Arthur Marx





Random Acts of Geekery


A favorite blog of mine has long been RANDOM ACTS OF GEEKERY, an eclectic pop culture blog that started about the same time mine did. Last year, head Geek Jon asked me if I'd consent to an interview for his WAY OF THE GEEK series of profiles on blog-writers. It apparently got eaten by the email fairy but has been reconstructed and updated and is now on display today. As if you didn't get enough of me on my other venues, here's some info you might not know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dick Clark Bio--1960


From the final issue of DC's PAT BOONE comic/magazine in 1960, here's a 2 page bio on America's eternal teenager, Dick Clark!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Atlas Superheroes Ad

Here we have a nifty but horribly miscolored ad announcing the short-lived return of Timely's terrific three during the mid-fifties.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 8

It's obvious that John Buscema, generally a pretty traditional artist, is continuing to have fun with the splash page layouts. I'd guess we have Jim Steranko's innovations of then-recent years to thank for that. This issue re-introduced Namor's Golden Age co-star, Betty Dean--hands seen here--who would be put to good use in a couple of years by her creator, Bill Everett. Roy Thomas would continue to reintoduce forties characters both at Marvel and later DC throughout his career and then write about them all in ALTER EGO! Buscema, later the FANTASTIC FOUR artist of the seventies was having an early go at the Thing here and didn't always get him right. That would change soon enough.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Trivia 42

We interrupt or regular posts for the weekend for TRIVIA 42--the annual super Trivia radio contest in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. For the 3rd year in a row, I'm joining a veteran team. Tune in and hear some great questions and also the absolute BEST mix of music you will ever hear on the radio! Just now they played CHERRY BOMB by the Runaways and then the Outlaws with GREEN GRASS AND HIGH TIDES FOREVER! The contest runs all weekend long starting at 7 PM EDT this evening.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Archie Debuts!


Pardon me if I'm a little proprietary about this book as I've spent much of the past year working on it with Craig Yoe and his partner Clizia Guzzoni. ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE TEENAGERS debuts this weekend at MOCCA and then rolls out to the general public starting on April 20th. You can order your copy now on the top right of this page.

What did I have to do with it? Well...a little bit of everything. I was one of a small group of credited assistants who did research, interviews, transcriptions, proofreading and I even wrote several portions of the book! To put it in comics art terms, sometimes I would do the layouts and Craig would then do the actual pencilling and inking. Other times, I would do the layouts and pencilling and Craig would ink the final piece. On still other occasions, I would take Craig's layouts or pencils and polish them up myself.

In the course of all this, I got to read some amazingly fun comics, many of which are reprinted in this volume (as well as Craig's upcoming follow-up, ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE) and talk with a number of Archie creators, all of whom are some of the nicest and most helpful comics pros I've ever met.

Here's IDW's press release:

IDW Publishing and its imprint, YOE Books, are proud to announce the debut of the deluxe full-color hardcover coffee table history book, ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS, edited and designed by Eisner award-winner Craig Yoe, at New York City’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art annual festival this weekend. MoCCA Fest attendees will get a first look at this impressive and lovingly crafted tome, which will be available nation wide by April 30th. ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE TEENAGERS features more than 200 pages of fascinating history, exciting biographies and rare or unpublished art, all offering a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most iconic comics of all time.

“We’re excited and honored to have our history presented so expertly by Craig and our friends at IDW,” said Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “This is the kind of book that fans everywhere will cherish for some time. It’s an essential volume for longtime and new fans of Archie and the Riverdale gang.”

Archie and his pals are some of the most beloved and enduring characters in the comics medium, and have a long history stretching back to their origins in 1941. Yoe‘s exhaustive research turned up a plethora of rare and unpublished art by Bob Montana, Dan DeCarlo, and Harry Lucey, vintage photographs, unknown ephemera, and a previously unpublished autobiography of John Goldwater, co-founder of MLJ/Archie Comics. All this rich material serves as the basis for the book, which celebrates both the characters and the immensely talented artists behind them. ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS also shines a spotlight on writers Frank Doyle, George Gladir, andCraig Boldman, and contemporary Archie artists Fernando Ruiz and Dan Parent, creator of the new kid in Riverdale, Kevin Keller. The beautiful 224-page, large-format volume sports a lengthy and revealing interview with Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick, who has worked at Archie over a half a century!

Yoe exclaims, “Working on this book was a real thrill, to find so much unpublished art by masters like DeCarlo, and Lucey, a photo of Elvis on his first tour reading a Betty and Veronica comic, John Goldwater’s unpublished autobiography, Bob Montana’s profusely illustrated high school diary, and be able to share all this with the world had my head spinning at every turn. I felt like a teenager again!”

IDW Publishing and Yoe are excited to debut ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS at the MoCCA Fest, held only a few short blocks from where the Archie comics were conceived. Continuing the connection between the book and the museum, ARCHIE features a full reprint of a story where the Archie Gang visits the MoCCA museum and meets Chairman Ellen Abramowitz.

Expected to be an immediate sellout after the official launch later this month, only a small number of the sought-after ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS will be available to MoCCA attendees. Also debuting at MoCCA Fest from IDW and YOE Books will be the sea-and-see worthy POPEYE: THE GREAT COMIC BOOK TALES BY BUD SAGENDORF.

MoCCA Fest will take place this weekend, April 9th and 10th at the Lexington Avenue Armory, at 68 Lexington Avenue in New York City. For more details, visit www.moccany.org.

ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TEENAGERS ($49.99, 224 pages, hard cover, full color) will be available in comic and books stores on April 20, 2011. ISBN 978-160010-7542.

For more information about Yoe! Books, visit www.yoebooks.com.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

.NET Profile


Have you checked out our GEEK'S JOURNAL 1976 lately? .NET Magazine this month has a nifty profile of yours truly and that blog!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

JLA Ad-1979

Here's an interesting house ad from DC in 1979. This one is rather odd in that it seems almost to target non-comics readers who may never have even heard of the Justice League of America.