Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brittany Rose Therapeutics

As you can see, former muse and sidekick (although I'm sure she'd say I was the sidekick) Ms. Brittany Rose is following her own path. We here at the Library are so proud of her success! Now in Ames, Iowa, she is officially a medical professional and has just opened her own therapeutic massage business in her new town. Having been the beneficiary of several massages whilst she was in school in recent years and in need of a willing volunteer for homework help, I can offer first hand testimony that she knows her stuff and is thoroughly professional!

So if you find yourself anywhere in the general vicinity, here's her business info.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kirby Swipe Revisited-1967

We wrote about this quite a while back but printed only the black and whote scans from the reprints. Here, from the originals, is a bizarre example of a Kirby swipe. Now, Kirby swipes are not exactly rare. Poses, costumes, layouts, krackle, characters, see swipes and homages all the time throughout the history of comics. But this? Literally background characters in a CAPTAIN AMERICA splash, swiped and placed even more in the background in the METAMORPHO comic at right. Seems rather...unusual to say the least.

The Kirby Cap was on the stands (TALES FROM THE SUSPENSE) in early summer of 1967. Putting the lie to the oft-told legend that DC people didn't read Marvels at all, the swipe appeared before the end of that same year from the competition! The credited artist on METAMORPHO was Sal Trapani, an illustrator known for sub-contracting his work out to others including at times Dick Giordano or Steve Ditko. Because of this, I'm not familiar enough with Trapani's own style to know if it was actually he who drew this issue. Doesn't help that whomever it is is imitating the style of the series original artist, Ramona Fradon.

I wouldn't have recognized it at all if not for that little girl who seems so out of place in the Kirby page, waving directly at the reader. I remember even as a kid wondering if she was perhaps the artist's daughter or niece or something. Seeing her again in the other page when DCreprinted it in their first SHOWCASE edition is what made the image stand out.

She doesn't even look to me as if she was drawn by Jack Kirby so I speculated that inker Joe Sinnott had perhaps added her in as a shout out to someone. A few years ago, thanks to Fred Hembeck, I was able to check with Mr. Sinnott who assures that, in fact, the little girl was Kirby-drawn. He just inked her along with the rest of the page but had no idea the whole thing appeared again later at DC.

Below are the original full pages on which the images can be found.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Archie's Comic Book Fairs

I spent much of last year working with Craig Yoe on his coffee table history of Archie Comics--orderable now elsewhere on this page. I interviewed George Gladir, Stan Goldberg, Dan Parent and Fernando Ruiz. I spoke with Craig Boldman, Jim Amash and Paul Castiglia. I wrote about Bob Bolling, Dan DeCarlo, Samm Schwartz, Frank Doyle and Harry Shorten. I transcribed Craig's interviews with Jon Goldwater and Vic Gorelick...but somehow in all that I completely missed Nancy Silberkleit until I saw the final, printed book!

Nancy is currently the co-CEO of Archie Comics. Although she's quickly become an expert, she doesn't really have a background in comic books. Her background is in education. As such, she sees her position in the company as ideal to further that interest. She has done this by creating something that I myself have talked about for years! Comic Book Fairs for schools!

Back in the eighties at Waldenbooks, we would arrange bookfairs for many local schools. The teachers and/or librarians would come in, choose some titles which we would then catalog and have shipped to the school. Sometimes we would work the book fairs ourselves, sometimes not. Ultimately, the schools would get to keep 25 percent of whatever was sold to the students so they only had to pay us the difference. Comics fan that I am, I lobbied to have comics included in the book fairs as I knew that kids--especially of a certain age--would gravitate toward them. Having taught myself to read because I HAD to know what was happening in a comic book I had, I knew from personal experience that comics can be educational.

Waldenbooks would hear nothing of it--first of all, magazines (and thus comic books) were ineligible as they were purchased at different discounts and in different manners than books and therefore could not be discounted to the schools. Okay, I got that. Secondly, though, their attitude was that the book fairs should lead kids AWAY from "junk reading" like comics.

Now, along comes Nancy who has co-opted the full support of her company to not only allow comic books in book fairs but to exploit the fact that this WILL encourage kids to read...period. With that single thought, Archie, the company now has a full Comic Book Fair division!

When my son wanted to brag about my involvement with Craig's book, he found that not one of his eighth grade classmates was familiar with Archie Comics at all. And yet Archie is hot again. In fact, Archie is--dare I say it--trendy! So a comic book fair works for the company, too, in that it vastly increases product awareness in what has traditionally been the company's target audience. With comic books and the new LIFE WITH ARCHIE magazine (wonderfully written by Paul Kupperberg) as well as inexpensive graphic novels of all the classic Riverdale characters and licensed product such as Sonic the Hedgehog, students who don't normally read have a wide choice, all with characters who are or who could become familiar.

Nancy provides the product as well as promotional items--posters, stickers, bookmarks, etc.,the school turns the students loose, the students purchase what they want for anywhere from 3 to 15 dollars each and the school keeps not 25 but 40 percent for themselves!

So let's recap:

Benefit to Archie: Increased product awareness, unlimited potential new and future customers and small monetary profit.

Benefit to Schools: Archie does most of the work, schools become more aware of the power of comics and schools make money.

Benefit to Students: Introduction to new but time-tested characters and formats for a potential lifetime of reading enjoyment.

So if you're in the educational field or perhaps married to or otherwise related to a teacher or school librarian, I highly recommend Archie's Comic Book Fairs. Feel free to send me your name and school info and I'll be happy to pass it on To Ms. Silberkleit so this next year your school can get in on the ground floor with a Comic Book Fair.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 19

Here we have the legendary splash for SUB-MARINER 19 in which Marie Severin used her gift of caricature to show a number of members of the Marvel bullpen reacting--or not reacting--to the discovery of Namor's body on the beach. Johnny Craig, legendary EC artist, is the series' new inker but little of his style shows through here making me wonder if Marie did the Splash page solo.

Seen top center is probably Big John Verpoorten with the camera. The woman behind him is Marie and the man in the white T might be her brother, John Severin. The blonde gentleman with the glasses would be writer Roy Thomas. Could be Craig with the glasses holding the toddler. Stan Lee is at left (with John Romita?) The balding gentleman on the right might be Larry Lieber. Jack Kirby is chomping a cigar at lower right. I'm told Herb Trimpe is in there but none look like him to me. I'm sure, however, that all of the ones whose faces you can see are actually SOMEONE! Particularly that oddly dressed (for the beach) gentleman at right waving to the "camera." This issue introduces the cool and stylish...if impractical hero/villain...Sting-Ray, actually the missing doctor from two issues back!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bat Faces

Kinda clever--all the different film and TV versions of Batman being progressively morphed.

More, More, More--The Andrea True Connection-1976

Although not a big disco fan, I did always like this song by past and future porn star Andrea True from 1976. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but Ms, True starred in the movie, ILLUSIONS OF A LADY, said to have been co-written by actress Christa Helm, in a role no doubt intended for Helm herself. Producer Jonas Middleton turned the R-rated script into an X-rated, hardcore one and Christa walked. Her name appears nowhere in the credits.

Ms. True, whose slight voice was enhanced and sweetened much in the modern manner, toured in promotion of MORE, MORE, MORE. I recall watching her on a local Cincinnati talk show whose audience consisted largely of little-old ladies with blue hair. When the obviously clueless host asked her on live television what she had been doing before her big breakthrough hit record, she opted to take the high road and said simply that she had been working around the edges of the entertainment industry in various capacities. Eventually Andrea True was forced to give up singing for health reasons. The song MORE, MORE, MORE has been covered and sampled by many over the years including a notable remake by Bananarama.

Dr Wertham in 1968

Here we have a great but little known interview by William F. Buckley, Jr with the much-maligned Dr Fredric Wertham, whose ill-thought out book SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT was, fifteen years or so earlier, the catalyst behind the collapse of the comics industry at that time. In retrospect, I think that the good Doctor meant well and that the abolition of the more violent, exploitative comic books lead to the much more creative era we now know as the Silver Age of Comics. Although this clip is incomplete, Wertham still gets in a jab at "crime comics" in spite of the fact that, as an actual genre, they had not existed for more than a decade.

Count Dracula Scene-1970

Here's a nicely photographed scene of Dr Van Helsing and Count Dracula from Jess Franco's disappointing but fascinating 1970 version starring Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom.

Cage Match--Our Kittens at 9 and Half Weeks

In response to a request for more kittens on this blog!

Friday, June 24, 2011

R.I.P. Gene Colan

Gene Colan was one of the first comic book artists whose work I instantly recognized. Even more so than Jack Kirby! At Marvel, everyone was apparently instructed to draw like Jack so my young Silver Age eyes in 1966 were not as discerning as they became later. Colan, if he had ever been given that rule, happily never followed it. His more realistic, illustrative style, weaned on romance and war comics, felt at times out of place on superhero comics. It lacked the bombast of sixties Marvel while somehow managing to infuse a grace that simply wasn't there with anyone else's art.

My first exposure to Gene Colan was undoubtedly his IRON MAN stories late in the run of TALES OF SUSPENSE. To say they had an impact on me is borne out by the fact that my surviving childhood drawings from 1966 were all of TV's Batman...and Colan's Iron Man.

Eventually, Gene would draw most everything and everyone for Marvel, DC and even Archie Comics! His Silver Age signature characters at Marvel were the Sub-Mariner, Iron Man, Daredevil and Doctor Strange. He also had memorable runs on THE AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA and later HOWARD THE DUCK. The real gem of his Marvel work, though, was TOMB OF DRACULA on which he, Marv Wolfman and Tom Palmer made an unbeatable team for a run that lasted years!

At DC, he became the main artist of Batman for a long and memorable run along with co-creating NIGHT FORCE and such oddities as JEMM, SON OF SATURN. Gene's work popped up regularly in the independent comics that boomed through the eighties, often being given the honor of being reproduced just in pencil form because his pencils were so tight.

In tribute, we have here a back-up story from 1967's still impressive DAREDEVIL ANNUAL # 1. In this we find Genial Gene as the main character as well as the artist as he arrives for a plot session with Stan the Man Lee. We know now that things didn't really happen this way but the illusion was so much fun at the time and the pre-NOT BRAND ECHH style is endearingly silly.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Coming of the Graphic Novel--1987-88

Here's an interesting artifact. Proof that I was blogging long before there were actually blogs! I have no idea what I wrote this piece for but I found it in a notebook amidst other pieces dated 1987 and 1988. Looks like I skipped around throughout the notebook so I'm not sure when this piece was actually done. It's a pretty basic look at the early days of what we now know as the graphic novel just over two decades ago but I believe it's pretty accurate. Based on the final line, I'd have to say that my ultimate conclusion was correct. Waldenbooks pioneered carrying graphic novels and was, I believe, the first to give them their own section. Or perhaps that was just me in my ownWaldenbooks. Don't remember if that was corporate policy or just my own. Anyway, at this point, you won't find a chain bookstore that doesn't have a graphic novel section...and usually a separate one for Manga (a trend I missed completely in this piece). Anyway, here it all its late eighties glory:


Harold Robbins’s sexy potboilers can certainly be described as “graphic” novels but they definitely are not “graphic novels.” A working definition of a graphic novel might be: a hardbound or paperbound book featuring a story told entirely by the integration of words and pictures. As I see it, it is also the next step on the evolutionary ladder for the lowly comic book.

The concept of the true graphic novel has long been discussed, possibly inspired by the widespread acceptance in Japan and parts of Europe of comics bound and marketed in a more permanent form.

In America, other than a few earlier experimental pieces, the late seventies brought the earliest attempts at true graphic novels—THE KING OF THE WORLD, SABRE and A CONTRACT WITH GOD, all of which debuted in 1978.

THE KING OF THE WORLD by Wallace Wood was originally self-published in black and white in hardcover. Based on a longtime pet project of the legendary comics artist, it offered a clever Tolkienesque quest saga beautifully drawn and told with humor and more than a dash of sexuality. It was followed by a lesser sequel, ODKIN—SON OF ODKIN. Due to its creator’s untimely illness and later suicide, a planned third volume remained unfinished and unreleased.

SABRE was an exquisitely drawn sci-fi tale by writer Don McGregor and artist Paul Gulacy with a decided philosophical bent. It was also released originally in black and white.

Will Eisner, creator of THE SPIRIT before World War II, had been a vocal proponent of the graphic novel concept for some time. His A CONTRACT WITH GOD AND OTHER TENEMENT STORIES was in a more traditional book size than the other two. Also black and white, it dealt with a number of Jewish families in 1930’s New York. No elves, no post-apocalyptic warriors. It had sex but it wasn’t sexy, it had violence but it was realistic and non-judgmental. Eisner’s was a truly “adult” graphic novel. A young reader would have little to no interest in it at all.

Eventually, Marvel Comics, the kings of the comic industry, committed itself to a regular series of color graphic novels. After a fairly impressive beginning, the series settled into what often seemed like little more than a priced up version of the company’s regular comic books. Only the occasional title was worthy of the new format.

Rival DC Comics took even more tentative steps, their first graphic novels being, in fact, adaptations of previously published science-fiction and fantasy stories. Then DC stumbled onto a variation in the format that worked—repackagings. Their revisionist version of Batman by Frank Miller entitled THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was originally published as a 4-issue mini-series. It was then repackaged as a phenomenally successful hardcover and softcover book.

Since Dickens, Conan Doyle and many other now-classic authors originally had their work serialized in magazines prior to having them collected in more permanent book format, the concept is not new. It was, however, a revelation to comics publishers. Currently RONIN (originally a 6-issue series) and WATCHMEN (originally a 12-issue series) are both in release. Both are titles that tell one single, cohesive story and prime examples of comics that work even better as graphic novels.

WATCHMEN especially, although already optioned for a film, has been called the single best use of the comics format to date, integrating as it does words, pictures, imagery and analogy as no simple monthly comic book has done before or since.

While the mainstream comics publishers were flirting with the graphic novel concept, other, non-comics publishers were getting involved. Donning Press has repackaged ELFQUEST, the phenomenally successful black and white independent fantasy comic book, in four big-selling trade paperbacks and actually has gotten them carried in real world bookstores. Donning has since gone on to publish original graphic novels as well as more repackaging of independent titles.

Many actual independent comics publishers have come out with their own graphic novels, too. Eclipse has THE ROCKETEER, First has TIME SQUARED and Comico has GRENDEL.

More recently Simon and Schuster, one of THE biggest mainstream publishers, has gotten into the act with their original graphic novel entitled PINK FLAMINGOS, a full-color story of an all-girl rock band. Prominently labeled on its cover, “A Simon and Schuster Graphic Novel,” PINK FLAMINGOS sadly isn’t very good but it shows that the company has liked what it’s seen and is willing to support the format. Others among the major book publishers are expected to follow quickly.

At this moment in time, the issue seems to be with the bookstores themselves. The bookstores simply do not know what to make of graphic novels. If they choose to carry any at all, they’re usually shelved automatically in the Humor or Science-Fiction sections, no matter what their content. With the market expanding and the public acceptance of the format, I honestly think it’s not too far down the line when bookstores may actually have to offer an actual graphic novel section!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


No time to blog. Dealing with nine week old kittens that were born on our front porch and that supposedly we aren't even keeping! The top two pics show them when they were brand new. The bottom two show them today in their new luxury indoor cage after we paid to get them shots and "fixed." We were told they would be calm, quiet and docile...sedate even. No one told them. They are monkeys! They climb, they wrestle, they swing from the roof of the cage, upend their litter box, and snag anyone who walks by!

They are:
Magellan (aka Jelly)
and (named by the illustrious Ms. Brittany Rose herself) Squeak Squeaker Squeak Squeakens--aka "Squeaks."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bedtime Banter by Basil--NSFW

Whenever I mention to folks that Martin Goodman was still reprinting by then ancient Basil Wolverton stories--along with not quite so old PUSSYCAT tales from the sixties--in his cheap, pulp-paper nudie mags at least a few years into the 1980's, they never seem to believe me! And believe me, in my circles, this kind of thing comes up more often than one might think!

I ripped out the good stuff--oddly enough, the comics to me--so I no longer know the names
of the mags but they were made up of grainy nudes, some of which looked reasonably contemporary but most of which seems to have been taken in the fifties. Not sure where this BEDTIME BANTER strip came from but the only other one I could find in this series was from 1950. Basil's POWERHOUSE PEPPER was also a regular in these reprints as well. The paper was ultra-cheap and after flipping through one, you had to wash your hands. As you can see it yellowed pretty badly also. So basically you had naked ladies, many with hairstyles your mother probably enjoyed and a few with pointless "sexy" captions. A tad more explicit than those you would find in the fifties is this innocuous pose from the reverse of the Wolverton page.
The rest of the mag consisted of panel cartoons, some but not all geared toward adult humor. I'd be willing to bet many of those were also first seen in the Eisenhower or Kennedy administrations. But this was circa 1982 and by then there was just no competing with the gynecological explicitness of HUSTLER and PENTHOUSE. The era of "Tease" was over and the genre left to aficionados who would soon enough rediscover its queen...Miss Bettie Page.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 18

Here's another winner from Marie Severin. "Gaudioso" is still listed as inker but this doesn't look like his style to me. In fact, that red thingie at lower right reminds me much of former inker Dan Adkins' style.

This is a striking use of the splash page with creative title placement. The solid blue of the machinery in the background throws the overall effect of the image but not much. The alien looks genuinely alien and all the little touches add a great deal. Roy's storylines were still going great guns with Triton once again guest-starring in this issue. Good stuff with more to come...for a while.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pat Boone Contest-1959

Here's every girl's dream! A chance to hang with superstar Pat Boone at 21 and the Copa! Wait a sec...Pat Boone? I can't see him hanging out at the trendy places like that. Mr. Squeaky Clean? In fact, if every girl's dream included cozying up to Pat whilst you're alone together, I think they'd be disappointed there, also. Don't get me wrong. I like Pat Boone. I like his singing and I think he has great presence as an actor in many of his early films! And certainly a great sense of humor. But Pat was never the Playboy type. If anything, he may have been, even then, just a little to the right of Dale Evans when it came to Christian political correctness. Oh, least the winner got a thousand bucks and probably did get to at least MEET Pat!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Starhawk Ad

One of the great lost comics from the late Silver Age, here's the only comic book appearance of Dan Adkins' STARHAWK, seen here in the next issue ad from MARVEL SUPERHEROES # 20 in 1969. When the issue arrived, it instead featured all did every issue from that point with no explanation. The only other official appearance of STARHAWK was in an issue of MARVELMANIA where the few completed pages appeared and, quite frankly, didn't look as good as fans had hoped. An Adkins cover of STARHAWK, perhaps intended to have been the cover on MSH # 21, turned up on THE BUYERS GUIDE FOR COMICS FANDOM in the early seventies.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dee Declares

My friend Dee Sutter is a most enjoyable and entertaining conversationalist--absolutely the best I have ever met. I could, and have, stayed up half the night talking with her and I have never once been bored or disappointed. She is colorful, creative, opinionated, smart as a whip, has a fascinating personal history and is interested in just about everything!

Dee Sutter is also on the verge of publishing her very first novel, a fantasy extravaganza that will thrill genre fans with its twists on familiar concepts! In the meantime, she has also started her own blog, DEE DECLARES. It's a catch-all blog where she writes about, as she puts it,
"Shenanigans! Poppycock! Dogs and cats living together! Random nonsense that tumbles out of my mind because I have no internal filter. Yay me!"

I like her blog, I like her attitude, I like her upcoming book and I like Dee! I think many of you will, too! Check it out!

Area 57

There are scores of TV pilots announced annually but very, very few of the ones actually shot ever see the light of day. Most often, this is a good thing, as in the case of the aborted Fox revival of MISTER ED from 2004 that featured Sherman Hemsley as the horse and virtually nothing but off-color jokes! Even the writer/producer committed suicide! What were they thinking?

Today, though, we're talking about one of those that might actually have worked given time. AREA 57 was a 2007 sitcom pilot with a sci-fi twist. Like this year's WONDER WOMAN, it got some big buzz but then was not picked up.

AREA 57 tells the story of a new man assigned to a top secret military base (a la Area 51) where he is dumbfounded to discover that the US government has been holding a captured alien for observation for four decades. Just as he's finally about to see his new charge comes word that the alien has died. The base is to be quickly torn down and all the men reassigned, much to their joy. Then our hero accidentally revives the alien, thus endearing himself to no one.

When the two finally do meet, we see some vague binding but the alien is a trickster who loves to play havoc with his captors, thus setting up the type of relationship that would presumably continue as the series progressed.

The worst part of AREA 57 was, perhaps surprisingly, the alien. The casting of Paul Ruebens as the alien was considered quite a coup and the man who made Pee Wee would certainly seem a good choice. But he doesn't nail it. The alien makeup is only slight, making him look like a bald, slightly deformed human. His smugness and odd delivery was on the right track but needed refining if we were to sympathize with him at all.

What does work are the other three main members of the cast. The protagonist, a fresh-faced military man all neatly trimmed and clean shaven is, in spot of the resemblance...NOT this guy (Russell Tovey from the BBC's BEING HUMAN).

In fact, he is THIS guy---Matthew Lillard! Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo live action films! As John Lovitz' Master Thespian used to say, "ACTING!" Lillard brings the right amount of naiveté and charm to his role but doesn't really offer much in the way of military authority.

On the other hand, Bruce McGill as the base's General is perfect. He's gruff but absent-minded, eccentric, oblivious and long-accepting of his fate--similar to M*A*S*H's Col. Henry Blake. I kept looking at this actor and his oh-so-familiar and comfortable face but I couldn't place him. Finally I looked him up. Oh my gosh! D-Day from NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE!

Finally we have GLEE's Jane Lynch in the role of the General's aide. Continuing the M*A*S*H connection, her character is essentially Radar, anticipating and protecting the General so he can pay more attention to his golf game.

Would AREA 57 have been a good series? Obviously there's no way to tell. I definitely would have ordered a second pilot and retooled the alien makeup and characterization. If it had been successful, though, would we have had Ms. Lynch on the mega-popular GLEE? Would we have had GLEE? Would we have had the stage revival of Pee Wee Herman that Ruebens achieved last year? Things, as they say, happen the way they're meant to happen...and AREA 57, the series, was simply not to be.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review-Flesh by Skip Williamson

The "ME DECADE" wasn't called that by accident. Around here, as a teenager, it seemed pretty normal to me but in grown-up circles all across the land, the seventies were most certainly crazy, hedonistic times.

Artist/designer/cartoonist and underground comix pioneer Skip Williamson has written a memoir of surviving the decade where excess was expected and applauded in spite of its inherent dangers. Not for the faint-hearted and most definitely NSFW in these more conservative times, FLESH follows Skip out of the undergrounds and into big business, working at GALLERY, HUSTLER and, most importantly, PLAYBOY. There's no build-up, no back-story and no preparation. We take whatever our preconceived notions of the protagonist might be--if any--and then get to know the real Skip as we read along.

We see Skip working at GALLERY, originally a note-for-note rip-off of PLAYBOY. We follow the folks behind GALLERY through some shady Chicago shenanigans. These end up with strip club owner Larry Flynt being brought in to save the mag but ending up creating his own skin-mag, HUSTLER, instead…and taking Skip to be HUSTLER's first Art Director…briefly. All along the way, there are more and more shady characters, perhaps perpetuating the myth that everyone in Chicago business or politics has mob connections…or perhaps proving it not to be a myth after all!

And there are drugs. Lots of mind-altering substances of one sort or another. And sex. To read this, one might think that it was almost expected that men and women would just casually sleep with one another in the seventies. Well, in some circles, it kind of was! Again, hedonism was the order of the day--Disco, Cocaine and casual sex was everywhere--not just in New York and Hollywood! When reading about the seventies, one should never be judgmental. It might have looked more like today than the sixties--in spite of the leisure suits---but it was very much a different world.

Women play a major role in Skip's story and, in some cases, his descriptions are quite creatively pornographic. There's also unvarnished reports of startling violence, a somewhat bitter rant on the worthlessness of people and a uniquely insider view of the workings of PLAYBOY in that weird time between its biggest success and its later attempts at a comeback.

Speaking of PLAYBOY, Hef is one of the few characters, Skip himself included, who comes across relatively unscathed in FLESH. Among the other cast members of Skip's life in the seventies who put in appearances are Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Crumb, Jay Lynch, Grass Green, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Stiv Bators and Deborah Harry. Not a one of them is as interesting as some of our hero's lesser-known but often more-screwed-up pals and co-workers.

FLESH is only available as an E-book for Kindle but at only $2.99. There are unfortunately a lot of typos and misspellings in some areas along with some repetition that a good editor would have caught. It's a quick read, though, and well worth the price. The flaws actually add to it in a way, making you feel like you're just sitting around with the man who brought the world Snappy Sammy Smoot while he regales you with sordid but true tales of debauchery and survival as only a truly good storyteller can relate them.

What's that you say? You don't have Kindle? Neither did I but Amazon has FREE Kindle apps that one can download for Mac, PC, IPhone, Blackberry or other forums! That's FREE! And the books are inexpensive. If E-books are truly the wave of the future, may I suggest you try them out with Skip Williamson's FLESH!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review--One From the Hart-Stefanie Powers

Longtime readers will recall that the very first celebrity I ever wrote a fan letter to and heard back from was Stefanie Powers. That was in 1972. I had enjoyed her on THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E. in the sixties and then followed her as she guest-starred in just about every TV series I enjoyed during the period immediately after that.

Recently I picked up a used copy of Ms. Powers' memoir, the rather obviously entitled ONE FROM THE HART. It's not a bad book per se...but perhaps a better title would have been THE WILLIAM HOLDEN STORY.

Stefanie took up with the older actor, Holden, in the early seventies and they bonded over a love of wild animals and Africa. While there is no doubt that the relationship radically transformed who she was, there are times here where one learns much more about William Holden than about Stefanie Powers. Holden's alcoholism was a continuing issue and eventually drove an insurmountable wedge between them but, even after his death, our heroine managed to carry on his conservation efforts in Africa.

Oh and there's also quite a bit about her life and a comparative little about her career before and after William Holden...but not as much really as you'll find on her website.

ONE FROM THE HART--If you're a Stefanie Powers fan, it's a quick read that you'd probably enjoy but I definitely recommend if you're a fan of William Holden.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Captain Marvel, Jr. Ad--Miscolored

Memo from 194o-something:

Attention all Fawcett colorists! Please read our comics from time to time in order to determine what color costumes to give to which Marvels. For the record...Junior's should be BLUE. Thanks!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June Update--Booksteve's Rarities

It's almost halfway through the month and it occurs to me that I've yet to point out some highlights from the June update at BOOKSTEVE'S RARITIES.

SPECTRE (1977)

Stars Robert Culp, Gig Young and Majel Barrett. Renowned criminologist and occult investigator William Sebastian recruits his old friend, Dr. Hamilton, to aid him in his current case. The sister of a prominent British businessman, believes her brother is dabbling in the black arts. Rare made-for-TV movie.

MR. LUCKY: The Television Series

This seven-disc box set does not offer every episode (we’re missing two), but it‘s as close as we can get to offering you the complete TV series. Created by Blake Edwards, with Henry Mancini’s music, the same men responsible for PETER GUNN, it will come as no surprise that this was also a spin-off of a character that was featured in a former PETER GUNN episode. We now offer 32 of the 34 episodes ever produced! $35


On June 15, 1953, the Ford Motor Company celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a television special. A wide variety of musical and comedy performers include Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and Marian Anderson. This program aired on CBS and NBC, marking how special and spectacular the automobile firm wanted this to be!

THE TAXI BOYS: The Complete Series

All ten classic film shorts from the Hal Roach film studio. Masters of slapstick, Ben Blue and Billy Gilbert, star in a series of comedies from 1932 to 1933, which are just as hilarious (if not funnier) than Laurel and Hardy and The Little Rascals. This two-disc set contains all ten shorts.

What Price Taxi? (1932)

Strange Interlude (1932)

Hot Spot (1932)

Taxi For Two (1932)

Bring ‘em Back A Wife (1932)

Wreckety Wrecks (1933)

Taxi Barons (1933)

Call Her Sausage (1933)

The Rummy (1933)

Thundering Taxis (1933)


One of the few Joe E. Brown films not yet on DVD. Elmer does not want to leave Gentryville, because Nellie is the one that he loves. Even when Mr. Wade of the Chicago Cubs comes to get him, it is only because Nellie spurns him that he goes. As always, Elmer is the king of batters and he wins game after game. When gamblers get into the picture, and the World Series begins, the comic situations get more comical. This was Gale Gordon’s first film, and watch out for a young Jane Wyman, also un-credited, as a game spectator. This was her second film.

DOG EAT DOG (1963)

This Yugoslavia movie features Jayne Mansfield (yes, it’s English dubbed). Three thieves rip off a shipment of used money being sent back to the U.S. As they are escaping the robbery, after having taken a hostage, they wind up on an island in a hotel with an apparently crazed manager and a building full of demented residents. Mansfield was four months pregnant with her daughter Mariska Hargitay at the time this movie was made.

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 17

It's the summer of '69 and this issue's splash has a very cinematic look. Imagine the opening shot of the villain with his narration whilst you hear others speaking in the background. Then, slowly, the camera moves in on them and we see it's Namor and Dorma in the throne room discussing court intrigue.

Art here is credited to Marie again but also co-credited to one Jay Hawk. Hawk was, in actuality, Jack Katz, a veteran comic artist with a unique scratchy style and recognizable faces on most of his characters. The blue guy here, at least, would seem to have a Katz face.

Jack would never really make it in mainstream Silver Age comics or beyond but he would become a pioneering independent comics publisher when he serialized his own sci-fi epic graphic novel, THE FIRST KINGDOM starting in the mid-seventies.

No idea why he used a pseudonym here but Esposito, as inker, continued to use his also. What, no one wanted to be associated with Subby?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Worst Comic Ad Ever?

"Okay, these comic strip-stye ads are hot right now so we want to try one. Make sure you hire an artist who can't draw, preferably a twelve year old. Make sure they're terrible at faces, perspectives, proportions and especially fashions! Oh! And the lettering! Please be sure to get someone to letter it who squeezes way too many words into each panel! THAT should get the public's attention!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Secret Sam Commercial-1965

I had this. There was a James Bond spy case which seemed like a real briefcase and then there was SECRET SAM which was more obviously plastic but which came with a REAL camera--my first ever real camera!! Take pictures through the case? Hah! I couldn't take pictures without cutting people's heads off whether it was in the case or out.

Dark and Stormy Night

A brief trailer for my favorite (so far) Larry Blamire film.

Dempsey and Makepeace Theme--Mid-1980's

Although largely unnoticed in the US, I loved this TV series in the eighties and I'm currently watching the episodes again. The actors, Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber, developed a real-life relationship which lead to their getting married when the series ended. In spite of some rough patches, they're still together and open to the concept of a DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE reunion!

This theme, on the other hand, is perhaps the most generic cop show theme of all time!

Craig Yoe at the Museum of Sex-2011

About halfway through this nearly half hour episode of IFanboy is a nifty interview with Craig Yoe at and regarding the Museum of Sex exhibit he curated. The rest of this webisode is fun, also!

Suzi Quatro--Rock Hard--1980

Suzi Quatro was a proto-punk/glam rocker in the seventies who became a familiar TV face for her guest appearances as "Leather Tuscadero" on HAPPY DAYS. Was watching her this morning as a crazy person on an eighties episode of DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE and remembered this video!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fun For Boys-1957

One of these things is not like the other. Fun, dancing, ventriloquism...and lightning ju-jitsu!??

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

My 20th Wedding Anniversary

Twenty years ago today, I married my best friend...and contrary to the lessons learned from comic book weddings, there was nary a super-villain in sight!