Sunday, March 17, 2019

R.I.P. Erica Hagen

Sad news coming from my friend Kathy Coleman who reports finding out today that her memorable LAND OF THE LOST co-star Erica Hagen died this past September. So happy that I talked Kathy into getting Erica to write the Foreword to LOST GIRL/RUN HOLLY RUN. They were able--see below--to get together one last time.

Erica Hagen also appeared in several movies including SOYLENT GREEN and THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT, as well as many TV series in the '70s. See the clippings below to find out why she left acting. 

Kathy writes: She was a beauty on the outside and even more gorgeous on the inside. When I got together with her to write my book intro, I told her the profound effect she had on me as a child. She said " Me?, I had no idea". She then giggled. I could tell that that made her happy. More beauty for the heavens!

Don Deitesfeld, Collector

Anyone know whatever happened to this guy? I know he was Art Editor of his school paper or mag at Bowling Green in the late 1940s and that at least some of his collection has ended up in the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Review: Wally Wood Dare-Devil Aces

Have I mentioned that it’s a good time to be a Wally Wood fan? There have been so many great books covering Wood’s life, art, and career in one or more capacities in recent years that a fan could easily fill a bookcase with nothing but wonderful Woodwork!

The latest of these books is Vanguard’s cleverly titled DARE-DEVIL ACES, subtitled “Commandos and Other Sagas of War.” As you might suspect from that title, this is a collection of Wood’s war-related comics stories. Well, most of them anyway. Avoiding repetition, the already widely printed EC’s and the separately published BLAZING COMBAT pieces are instead covered herein via informative text pieces and some original art pages.  

The meat of this volume consists of lesser-known material originally published by Charlton, Harvey, Avon, Tower, and even DC Comics. Military comic books flourished throughout the 1950s and into the ‘60s until ant-Vietnam sentiment began driving many of them out of business. Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury managed to hang on a bit longer, as did a few under-the-radar Charlton titles, but the boom had ended. 

While the boom lasted, though, Woody contributed some typically attractively drawn pieces, some concurrent to his amazing MAD years, and those often uncredited—but easily recognizable—stories are to be found here.

Storywise, most are lacking in comparison to Harvey Kurtzman’s highly researched war/anti-war EC’s but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of Wood’s art, which is really why you’re here. In fact, most of these stories, originally printed on cheap pulp paper (REALLY cheap pulp paper in the case of the Charltons!) have never looked better. The decision to reproduce from the original comics on slick paper goes a long way toward covering up many of the printing flaws of the original comics.

And make no mistake! While some of the examples here might be considered lesser Wood, we’re also treated to The Lone Tiger and Dollar Bill Cash from 1966, considered by many to be some of the artist’s very best work of that decade. And Cannon! Wood’s own paramilitary strip superspy character that ran in the Overseas Weekly for years is represented here by the stories from both issues of Heroes, Inc., done with the great Steve Ditko! Dan Adkins, Maurice Whitman, and Russ Jones are also credited as working with Wood on a number of the pieces at hand. 

Available in multiple editions, Dare-Devil Aces is a particularly attractive book and yet another choice addition to that Wallace Wood bookcase from Vanguard Publishing. With more to come, Wood fans might want to start shopping for bigger bookcases!

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Doc Savage on the Air-1934

As far as I know, there are no circulating episodes of this particular DOC SAVAGE series of 15 minute episodes from 1934. Or of his 1940s series for that matter! The whole series of 1980s episodes can be found online, though.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Peter Tork--R.I.P.

I never got to see the Monkees perform in person--not even any individual Monkee or combination thereof. That never stopped me from enjoying their TV series and their music. One of the first LPs I ever bought was THE MONKEES' GREATEST HITS. As recently as last week, I was watching a 1967 MONKEES episode on Youtube and as recently as last month I was listening to Monkees classics in my car. The 2018 Monkees Christmas CD is on a shelf right behind me as I write this.

So to say Peter Tork was like family that I never actually met is not much of an exaggeration.

Peter was always the odd man out. He didn't sing lead on many songs, he played banjo better than bass, they couldn't even get his name right on the show's opening, and he was the first to quit the group.

That said, he was an integral part of the group and forever after a Monkee even during the times he would have preferred NOT to be. He had problems over the years--legal, medical, etc. but he remained loved and admired by fans and was by all accounts a favorite in the many live concerts he performed in with various combinations of the other three Monkees.

Rest in Peace, Peter.