Sunday, March 01, 2015

Jeff Jones

I just felt like doing a tribute to the late Jeff Jones aka Jeffrey Catherine Jones. By nobody's definition a comic book artist in spite of his love of the medium and the various covers and stories he published beginning in the late 1960s, Jones was an artist of the first caliber who continued to grow and expand over time.

Below, from the mid-'70s, is one of my all time favorite photographs of anyone ever. This was when Jeff was with The Studio, the comics and fantasy equivalent of rock royalty.

In 1977, I found myself in a room at a con in Philadelphia surrounded by all of Jones' now-classic originals!

I fell in love with the giant BLIND NARCISSUS painting and for years displayed a print above my fireplace.

As he grew older, Jeff decided to act on his belief that inside, he was and always had been a woman. He began being called Catherine. The transition wasn't easy and led to more than a few personal issues which even stopped his art for some time.

One day about 10 years back I got an email from a strange address with "Idyl" in the name. It was from Catherine, thanking me for saying nice things about her work on my blog! I was thrilled to say the least, more so when she asked if she could quote me on her art website, just under Frank Frazetta! 

I was one of a number of folks who she said convinced her to go on Facebook which I remain convinced was the best thing that ever happened to her. The intimacy and immediacy of the Internet allowed her to gain strength from the love and support of fans of her art and with surprisingly few issues regarding the transition from Jeff to Catherine (that I ever saw anyway). When I got my Mac, she emailed me for details and ended up getting one just like it (as seen in the documentary, BETTER THINGS). When  her Mac had issues, she asked my advice. While I would never claim to have known her well, I feel privileged to have known her at all. From a star-struck 18 year old in a room full of fantasy paintings to a 50 year old she would occasionally write to for advice. I'll take that. Gotta love the Internet. 

Hard to believe it's been nearly 4 years already since I last heard from her. 


Saturday, February 28, 2015

R.I.P. Dick Bakalyan

From actor Mike McGreevey who appeared with him in several Disney films in the 1970s comes word of the passing of consummate character actor Dick Bakalyan, perhaps seen most this past year on the hugely-hyped BATMAN box set as he appeared in no less than SIX different roles on that series including the "Martian" seen here.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Put Down Your Pencils! The Contest is Over!

At the stroke of midnight, my wife--standing in for the cat who was outside in 13 degree temps doing who knows what!--closed her eyes, meowed and pawed at the winners one by one. And here they are:

Copy # 1--Eric Stettmeier
Copy # 2--Tom Vincent
Copy # 3--Nicholas Prom
Copy # 4--Dan Longe
Copy # 5--Brian Dobbelaere

Congratulations to all five winners! Your copies of HAUNTED HORROR # 15 will go out tomorrow. Remember! If you like it, hit up your local comic shop on a regular basis for more pre-Code sickness! And while you're at it, check out the other great Yoe Books regular comic title, WEIRD LOVE, for even more wackiness!

We'd appreciate it of you stop back here at the blog from time to time as well, and check out our 11 other blogs!!! Thanks to all for entering! More contests coming soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hurry! Limited Time Offer! Haunted Horror Giveaway!

I find myself with 5 extra copies of the latest issue of HAUNTED HORROR, the Ghastly Award winning comic book series from Yoe Books that reprints some of Dr. Wertham's worst nightmares out of 1950s comics! If you like horror comics but haven't yet tried HAUNTED HORROR, here's your chance to score one of these 5 copies free and easy!

Send me your name and snail mail address via email to Subject line should mention HAUNTED HORROR. This post is going up at midnight ET on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Tomorrow night at midnight, the first 5 names drawn at random by my cat get a copy. All copies will be mailed first thing Friday morning (weather permitting).

Multiple entries will be disqualified. No purchase necessary. Offer valid in the continental US only. (Sorry.)

See you back here tomorrow night with the names of the winners!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Charlton Arrow # 4

Coming soonish! THE CHARLTON ARROW # 4. You'll note my name on the cover for the first time since issue # 1. This time I take a look at the relatively short teen idol years of Bobby Sherman, star of his own Charlton comic book back in the proverbial day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Don Marlowe

This guy was quite the con artist. A very small time actor in the 1950s, in 1968 he published his memoirs which repeated his oft-told claim of having been Porky in the Our Gang comedies. Since, by his own admission, he was born in 1919, this would have made him 16 when Porky was in the series as Buckwheat's partner in crime and sometimes Spanky's "little" brother. Of course, the fact that it was common knowledge that Eugene Lee was Porky never stopped his claims. 

Marlowe also claimed to have befriended Bela Lugosi for 3 decades, acting as his "unofficial" agent. He also claimed at one point to have test footage from Lugosi's aborted version of FRANKENSTEIN!

Not to be outdone by that claim, he also claimed to have Karloff's unpublished memoirs which he intended to publish!

His book was hyped with the claims of how he knew old Hollywood better than anyone because HE was it went on to mis-identify people in photos and stories left and right. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Circus '70

In 1970, Cincinnati's Coney Island opened up a wonderful-smelling, air-conditioned puppet theater that ran a show called Sid and Marty Krofft's Circus '70. What did Sid and Marty Krofft have to do with it? I don't know. They were busy in Hollywood, putting on their psychedelic TV series like HR PUFNSTUF, LIDSVILLE and THE BUGALOOS, all of which would, at one time or another, be represented in this theater over the couple of years it was there before the entire theme park closed. 

Did Sid train the puppeteers perhaps? Or at least supervise their hiring? (It would have been Sid because I've learned from working with Kathleen on her book that Marty was the business guy. Sid was the creative guy.)

It became Kaleidoscope a year later but continued on with a marvelously clever and entertaining puppet show. Other Krofft presentations appeared at other amusement parks but the idea did not follow on to the then-new Kings Island when Coney Island closed.