Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Makes Jerry Lewis Go?-1957

This past week as I write this, the one and only Jerry Lewis did a live, controversial Q &A onstage. Love him or hate him, now, as then, Jerry Lewis is a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment world. Here's a vintage article I found buried inside a PD 1957 girly mag available at RETROSPACE   It's from just after the breakup with Dean and is much more interesting with the benefit of hindsight than it was even at the time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sinatra, The Philadelphia Freedom Award and Me

I spotted this shot online today. As the caption says, it's Frank Sinatra receiving the Philadelphia Freedom Award on the 4th of July, 1977 at Independence Hall. 

What the picture does NOT show is that I was there! I was 18 years old and had talked my parents into coming with me to the Annual Phil Seuling Comic Book Art Convention, normally held in New York City but that year held in Philadelphia for various reasons. The holiday weekend event was at a hotel only a few blocks from Independence Hall and early on the morning of the 4th, we had wandered down there looking the city over a bit. We ran into the ceremony about to start and stood toward the back of the relatively small crowd that was there. Maybe a couple hundred people. 

Frankie didn't sing that day but he spoke eloquently and led the crowd in The Pledge of Allegiance. Then it was back to the Con!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Congrats to Vivek Tiwary and Andrew Robinson!

Special congrats to Vivek Tiwary and Andrew Robinson whose already phenomenally successful graphic novel, THE FIFTH BEATLE (of which we were one of the first to review!) has now been nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award in not one but TWO categories, "Best Reality-Based Work" & "Best Painter/Multimedia Artist," to be presented in July at SDCC! Booksteve recommends! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Batman, Viewmaster and Me

I was a latecomer to Viewmaster. Since the whole point of one was to provide rather a 3-D effect and I couldn't see 3-D, I just never bothered with it. But at some point, I traded some comics to a friend for an old one, mainly so I could get the BATMAN reels seen above! I also got a NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR set. But that was it. Other than that and a handful of stray travelogue reels that came as part of my trade I never had any more sets at all!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Booksteve Reviews: Captain America-The Winter Soldier

I loved the first CAPTAIN AMERICA feature with Chris Evans. In all the important ways, they got everything right. I was a HUGE fan of THE AVENGERS, as well, and the way it integrated Cap into the 21st century. So needless to say if I saw one movie in a theater this year, it had to be CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.

And I pronounce it...good. Once again, in all the important ways, the filmmakers get it right. Evans is note-perfect with his characterization of a man making the best of being a man out of time. Scarlett Johansson keeps pace with him more than admirably. Superstar Robert Redford, at one time perfect casting for Steve Rogers himself, is--and I doubt this is a spoiler--the villain.

Redford may look a little rough these days but his easy charm and effortless way with a line have all eyes on him when he's on-screen, demonstrating why today's stars, no matter HOW good they might be, simply don't have that movie star magic that previous generations had.

There's a lot of plot here but basically it's Cap, the Widow and--in his big-creen debut--the Falcon, vs.  S.H.I.E.L.D.'s perennial enemy, the organization known as HYDRA! All of this is tied up with the appearance of the Winter Soldier, long-since revealed in the comics to be Bucky, Cap's original sidekick!

And therein lies the problem. The film is, in fact, subtitled "The Winter Soldier" and yet that character feels almost an add-on. The scenes with him are well-done and the revelation to Cap is handled well but there isn't even an ending to his subplot. He just gets away (only to reappear in the post-credits sequence).

We also lose Cap's shield. You know. The one and only original one. Falls off a heli-carrier into...somewhere.

The character Crossbones sort of appears although he's never once referred to thusly. Internet spoilers had Redford being the Red Skull since that character prominently figured in Ed Brubaker's original comic book storyline. If he did turn out to be the Skull, I must have blinked.

All in all, the picture feels very episodic to me. But here's the thing. All of the episodes...are great!

Overall, CAPTAIN AMERICA-THE WINTER SOLDIER doesn't ever coalesce into a cohesive whole for me but in the end, that didn't matter. One knows going in that the movie is part of the bigger Marvel cinematic tapestry and that's driven home by everything from the references to earlier films, yet-to-be made films, and an intriguing little MID-credits sequence at the end.

Out of 5 stars, Booksteve gives CAPTAIN AMERICA-THE WINTER SOLDIER 4! If you're a superhero fan, it's not even a question. Chris Evans, along with Robert Downey, Jr in the IRON MAN and AVENGERS films, is without a doubt the most perfect comic book casting since Christopher Reeve!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Comics Interview Outtake-1991

At the end of 1991 I won the COMICS INTERVIEW 100 trivia contest. I was interviewed for the mag and they asked me to provide several photos of myself for them to choose from. Here is a long-forgotten outtake from that particular photoshoot, taken by my lovely bride.