Friday, January 31, 2014

Charlton Cowboy Actors and Me


Mort Todd has teased the ultra-nifty header  he did of my article for the first issue of THE CHARLTON ARROW. 

Order your copy NOW for $6.99 by securely paying via Paypal to charlton@morttodd.com or get two copies for $11.99 and save even more! For more information, to pay with credit card or money order, and for bulk discount rates, contact charlton@morttodd.com

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Booksteve Reviews: The Book Thief

Last year, my son David bought a copy of THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusak, a book I had not read but had sold quite a few copies of over the years. I opened it and started reading...and discovered one of the best books I have ever read.

At the time, I didn’t even realize that a film version was in the works. Following so close on the heels of my reading of the book itself, comparisons were inevitable.

THE BOOK THIEF is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl in the pre-war Nazi Germany of the 1930s and the effect she has on those around her. The film is largely missing the book’s unique voice until the end, that being the quirky, omniscient narration by Death personified. It’s a conceit that works amazingly well on the printed page but would perhaps add too much of an air of the supernatural to be used throughout the movie version. It’s there from the beginning but it’s very sparse and not as memorable...at least not until the end.

On-screen, the look and feel of the period is near-perfect, left incomplete mainly by the necessity of having the characters speak accented English rather than German. Although the book is itself told in fragments, the film is also, but that serves to one who’s read the book to make it feel more like a series of dramatized scenes from the text than the whole story.

The all-important title role rests comfortably on the more than capable shoulders of a young Canadian actress named Sophie Nélisse. She’s quietly brilliant, really, in that way that all good child performers manage to pull off at least once. If we’re lucky, she’ll have more and more chances to be this brilliant over the years. If not, it will be our loss.

Geoffrey Rush, on any real acting fan’s list of the Top 10 best actors in film these days, shows a delightful and nuanced chemistry with Sophie as her new “father.” His character is weary and tired but also wise and with a largely hidden strength.

The plot? Liesel learns to read. If you break it down, that’s pretty much it. Only it isn't nearly that simple considering her time, her place and her situation.

The book, THE BOOK THIEF, will likely remain untouched on my personal best books list along with FAHRENHEIT 451 and SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, ironically two books dealing with some of the same aspects behind THE BOOK THIEF itself.

The movie THE BOOK THIEF, is full of what the young folks call “feels,” both light and dark, with some beautiful photography and attractive performances going a long way toward making the same story work, although sometimes in different ways than in the book.


In the end, it’s all about Liesel and how one person, no matter WHAT the circumstances, or even the intent, really CAN make a difference.


THE BOOK THIEF. Both versions. Booksteve Recommends.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Della Vison/Patty Powers


DELLA VISION was a 1950s strip from Atlas about a TV actress. It was great fun and had some lovely Al Hartley art.



What I just now found out is that her story lasted longer than her three issues. Apparent;y she changed her name and continued on as PATTY POWERS, screen queen!







Monday, January 27, 2014

The Charlton Arrow Revealed!



The moment everyone has been waiting for! Charlton is back from the grave!

The Charlton Arrow #1 is a 44 page color comic blockbuster, featuring stories and art by well-know contributors to such companies as DC Comics, Marvel and Archie, including a few Charlton veterans, alongside amazing new talent! The comic features comics, pin-ups and articles by over a dozen creators.

The comic will be released in March 2014, but not available in stores, only through mail order. If you order now, before the release date, you can get this first issue collector's item for cover price with FREE shipping! The comic is $6.99 and after March, there will be an additional $2.95 charge for shipping & handling. You will get a confirmation email from the publisher Comicfix via morttodd.com. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.

Order your copy NOW for $6.99 by securely paying via Paypal to charlton@morttodd.com or get two copies for $11.99 and save even more! For more information, and bulk discount rates, contact charlton@morttodd.com

See a preview of the incredible contents at 


http://morttodd.com/charlton.html

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wesley and Kathy


The other day I watched Will Ferrell's 2009 LAND OF THE LOST and I wished I hadn't. I loved the original show as a kid and mentioned it often in my journals from the seventies (See my 1974 and 1976 blogs, links in the right hand column). 

Seen here are original stars Wesley Eure and Kathy Coleman in the 30 second cameo they filmed for the big screen feature and yet that ended up on the cutting room floor (although you can find it on YouTube).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Captain Marvel Ad-1972


As DC house ads go, this one was pretty simple and relatively dull...and yet it gave 13 year old me the biggest excitement I had ever had reading comic books up to that point! Yes, the book itself proved a tad disappointing fairly quickly but looking back, it was still better than many other titles of its day. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Charlton House Ads



Charlton Comics may never have been truly one of the big boys in comics but to many of us the late, lamented Derby, Connecticut-based company is loaded with nostalgia for their characters, their formats, their signature artists and yes, even their legendarily lousy printing! Here are some samples of their low-rent house ads from the seventies and early eighties.





And coming soon, THE CHARLTON ARROW, an all-new comic/magazine/tribute/revival thing set in motion by Fester Faceplant and pulled off by former CRACKED editor Mort Todd and former DAREDEVIL scripter Roger McKenzie. They've surrounded themselves with, as you can see on the cover, a whole passel of talented folks including...dare I say it...myself! What you see here is part of the slooow reveal of the full cover that's taking place now on Facebook. Once ordering info is available, I'll let you know.




Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dial B For Blog Returns



If you're a comics fan, I probably don't have to tell you about the best comics blog of them all, the late, much-lamented DIAL B FOR BLOG. Well, hey, guess what! 

It's BACK!

Starting tomorrow and for who knows how long, "Robby Reed" returns with what will undoubtedly be amazing stuff. There's a preview up now. New stuff on Friday!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vintage Captain Aero Ad


Seven Soldiers of Victory Quiz!



All this week on FOUR COLOR SHADOWS we're serializing a Golden Age comic book story featuring the 7 Soldiers of Victory! Here's a bonus--a 7 Soldiers-related quiz!

Check out the story here: 



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Booksteve Reviews: The Rocketeer and the Spirit-Pulp Friction

I'm not sure when it's coming out but I just finished reading an advance copy of the collected recent mini-series, THE ROCKETEER AND THE SPIRIT-PULP FRICTION and it was great fun all the way.

Unlike many of these types of franchise crossovers, the worlds of the 2 character here mesh quite well, especially under the always-able hands of Mark Waid. I've said it before and I'll say it again--Mark Waid is one of the very few folks in comics today who truly GET what makes comics unique! As such, he comes to this project with a great feel for the atmospheres of the originals and where and how to match them up.

He is aided with this by artist Paul Smith in the first of the 4 original issues. Smith's own art shines through and yet at times, he successfully channels both Eisner's and Stevens' disparate styles quite nicely. He even makes Commissioner Dolan look like Eisner (even more than usual!) which is particularly fun for me in the scenes where he meets his old friend Peevy who has always been visually based on the late Doug Wildey! The one time in my life I saw Eisner in person, he was talking with Wildey! Deja Vu!

The different issues are done by different artists, though, and while all of them are good in and of themselves, the style change between "chapters" is a bit jarring. The second chapter has some good Bruce Timm inspired work by my friend Loston Wallace along with Bob Wiacek. Neither my advance copy nor GCD credits the artists on the final parts.

The story itself is fast-paced with visual and verbal shout-outs to classic lore from both series as The Spirit, Ellen and Dolan invade L.A. to solve a mystery and then Cliff and Betty follow them back to Central City.

My favorite moment is the scene here, a total throwaway but with the socks reference a possible nod to Maggie Thompson's famous COMIC BOOK BOOK essay on Eisner and his creation--"Blue Suit, Blue Mask, Blue Gloves...And No Socks." Sounds like something Mark would do.

As I said, I'm not certain when this IDW collection will be in stores but I recommend it wholeheartedly for good, old-fashioned comics enjoyment! Thanks to all involved for a good time.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Booksteve Reviews: Comic Book Babylon by Clifford Meth

Clifford Meth is a modern day Don Quixote, tilting at corporate windmills with an impossible dream of ever winning a battle. The only difference is that he is also a bit of a pitbull and he isn’t afraid to drop his lance and just tear ‘em a new one from time to time when necessary.

COMIC BOOK BABYLON isn’t his story, though. No, this collection of Cliff’s web columns going back nearly a decade could more aptly be looked at as the story of Dave Cockrum...or the story of Gene Colan...mixed with a smattering of Stan Lee and Alan Moore, a good dash of Neal Adams and a solid dollop of Harlan Ellison, all seasoned with appearances by various other creators and/or corporate schmucks.

Come to think of it, though, that’s what MAKES it the Clifford Meth story. After reading the book, I can’t tell you where or when Cliff was born or how he lost his virginity or if he had a puppy. I can, however, tell you what kind of man he is and what kind of friend he is.

When Cliff found out about Dave Cockrum’s health and financial predicaments back in the early part of this century, he simply knew he had to help. He correctly reasoned that Marvel Comics owed Dave a lot since it was HIS version of the X-MEN that earned millions for the company over the previous decades. Like many other older creators whose style was corporately deemed passé, Dave had been unable to get any new work from the mainstream comics companies and Marvel legally owed him not one dime. That didn’t mean they didn’t actually OWE him anything. Just that they LEGALLY didn’t.

Chronicled in COMIC BOOK BABYLON is the story, told mostly in its original postings, of how Clifford Meth led the charge to get some justice for Dave...and WON! Perhaps empowered by that win, he went on to find ways to assist Wiliam Messner-Loebs (one of the nicest comics creators I have ever met I might add) and the great Gene Colan when he, too, fell on hard times.

It’s all here, too, along with some straight articles about and interviews with Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe, Barry WINDSOR-Smith, Stan Lee (who also provides the Intrduction), Joe Kubert, Harlan and others and some fascinating rumination on Jews and anti-Semitism in comics. It’s a story of heroes and villains and victims and survivors. And Cliff doesn’t hesitate for one second to name names. He gives credit where it’s due...but he goes for the jugular when someone wrongs his friends.

Spread throughout the book, and an absolute highlight thereof, the reader finds a number of truly gorgeous portraits of various comics creators as delineated by Michael Netzer, himself a unique character in Cliff’s life (and my own as well, having been an early and rabid supporter of my blogging). A one-time Neal Adams disciple, these amazing portraits show just how far Michael has come since his “Mike Nasser” days of the seventies.


But all of these things and all of these people—Adams, Netzer, Ellison, Cockrum, Don Perlin, Gray Morrow, Tom Palmer, Steve Gerber and all the rest—they’re a big part of Cliff’s life. For decades now! In the end, this story, although filled with more than its share of loss and death, is also the story of a survivor. And that’s Cliff. It may tell the tale in a roundabout way, but make no mistake. COMIC BOOK BABYLON is, in fact, the story of Clifford Meth, a man who fights the fights he shouldn’t be able to win...but sometimes does.

If you're a genuinely grown-up comics fan who doesn't view that world with rose-colored glasses, Booksteve recommends!

Thanks to Cliff for getting me a review copy! You can order your own copy directly from the publisher at:



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gene Autry Sweatshirt Ad-1948


Sure. CHAMP wants to see it. Uh-huh. Right.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Disney Does Pogo?


POGO creator Walt Kelly famously worked as an animator at Disney and an artist on WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES prior to inventing his signature strip about a possum and his swamp friends that included a turtle and a rabbit. 

Here, in 1965, we see an example of the Disney UNCLE REMUS Sunday strip.
Hmmm...

Friday, January 17, 2014

WWII Era Captain America Ad


Still coasting here for a bit as I try to get a handle on a big new project (while continuing a bunch of smaller ones). Back soon with more substantial posts.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dr. Strange Radio Program



I noted here recently that our BOOKSTEVE RARITIES is offering this virtually unknown DOCTOR STRANGE radio program from the heyday of the Marvel Age of Comics for a limited time only. Orders jumped! 

These are actually quite well-done, adapting the classic Steve Ditko stories from the character's early years. The way the story goes is that some folks at a New York radio station decided to do up these shows due to the growing popularity of Marvel Comics. The year this happened varies between 1967 to 1970. They reportedly contacted Stan Lee about it and Stan showed up at the station to give his seal of approval. In those days before anyone paid that much attention to such things, that seemed to the station to be permission to continue. So they did a total of 17 episodes, 7 of which appear here on our 2 discs. Unlike a lot of later radio series attempting to recapture the glories of old-time radio, these are marvelously done, making full use of sound effects, accents, music good radio acting and, of course, those familiar, now-classic Ditko plots!

The 2 discs can be yours for $13.00, postage included, payable by Paypal or by check...but only until February 1st unless something changes. So order now!

Vintage Peanuts Back Cover Ad


Monday, January 13, 2014

Facebook in 1976


Are you on Facebook? If you are and if your Facebook timeline is anything like mine, every single day you will see posts of cute kittens and puppies, psychedelic art, images from monster movies, iconic actor portraits, long dead comedians, film posters, military and historical images, singers and barely dressed women. You know...just like this one page ad from a 1976 comic book. The more things change...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mama's Boys-The Adventures of Davy and Bruce--Part 3


This was based on a Facebook joke I made over a year ago and the actual story was written for an anthology that may or may not ever come out at this point so I thought I'd share it here. Not saying it's great but I think it's kinda fun. Since it's a tad long for a blog post, I'm only sharing part one. If you want to see where it goes from here, let me know and I'll post the rest in two more parts. Enjoy!

(PS-Note that Vicki Lawrence's "Mama," although seen in the above illustration, does not appear in this final revised version of the concept)

MAMA’S BOYS-THE ADVENTURES OF DAVY AND BRUCE-PART 3
By Steven Thompson
© 2013, 2014

At quarter ‘til three, our heroes arrived at the giant hotel complex where a crowd of celebrity watchers had gathered. Bruce hopped out of the sleek red customized car and tossed the keys to one of the many young men who gathered around for the valet parking. “No joyrides, Junior!”

“Oh, no, sir, sir!”

Davy, meanwhile had lit up his million dollar smile for the crowd and was already signing autographs. Bruce signed a few on his way to catch up, eyeing everyone in the crowd as they worked their way through it. Both men were wearing dark suits and sunglasses but were nonetheless instantly recognizable.

Inside the door, Bruce wondered aloud how come security wasn’t tighter. “Anyone out there could be our assassin!”

“Let’s not get paranoid,” calmed Davy.

“It’s not paranoia when I’m right! If we don’t know who he is, then he could be any one of those people out there! Or all of them even!” Davy knew his partner was right. It made him nervous just thinking about it.

Soon enough, they found themselves ushered through upstairs security into the Royal Suite. To Davy, it all felt familiar. The throngs of beautiful people and expensive decorations reminded him of two things—the press junkets thrown for the Monkees in the early days and the plots of a couple of actual episodes!

Surveying the elaborate hotel room, Bruce looked for entrances and exits. Davy looked for the host. Expecting the Middle-Eastern Prince to be dressed in robes and a headdress, he was extremely surprised when he saw that he was wearing regular clothes, chatting away with Annette Funicello with whom Davy had shared a scene in HEAD. Sauntering over, he stood close by until Annette recognized him and introduced him. “Oh, your Majesty, this is my friend David Jones. He’s a recording star. Perhaps you’re familiar with his group, The Monkees?”

“No, I have not had the pleasure,” said the Prince in a thick but pleasingly musical accent as he extended his hand.

As he grasped it, Davy took the opportunity to immediately seize on their common ground. “Your Majesty, I can’t wait to see your horse tomorrow.”

“Ah, yes! Daydream Believer is my pride.”

“I...uh...actually had a hit record called ‘Daydream Believer.’”

“No...! You jest?”

“Oh, no! Really! It was one of the Monkees’ biggest hits! Written by a man called John Stewart but I sang the song on the recording.”

“I must hear this song named after my horse.”

“Well, it was actually written a few years ago so it wa...”

“Sing it for me!”

Davy looked around. There were no musicians anywhere. “But...but...”

“Honored guests, Mister David Jones has a song dedicated to my beloved stallion, Daydream Believer.” The Prince spoke loudly and began applauding. Everyone else began to applaud as well. Davy eyed Bruce, standing near the balcony watching for anything suspicious. His partner nodded his head.

Sighing deeply, the former Monkee stepped to the center of the room as the crowd opened to allow him a space. Clearing his throat, he said, “I haven’t sung this in a while. I hope I remember the words.” Then... Davy Jones began to sing. 

“Oh, I could hide, ‘neath the wings...” As Davy sang, he danced around the crowd, coming face to face with familiar ladies like Margaret O’Brien, Britt Ekland and Nichelle Nichols. So many familiar faces. In fact, they were all familiar. Every single one of the 50 or so celebrities in attendance was a known item. Not one of them could possibly have been the assassin! Davy cut the last refrain and finished to massive applause as he ran to the Prince’s side.

“Prince, tell me. How much do you love Daydream Believer?”

“Oh, I enjoyed the song very much, Mister David Jones.”

“No, no! The horse, man! Your horse. ‘Ow much do you love your horse?”

“That horse is like my equine son. Should anything happen to him...”

“It would cause an international incident, right?”

“Absolutely. My country would be forced to...”

“Bruce! Follow me. We ‘aven’t got a moment to lose!” Davy ran out the door quickly. Bruce ripped off his jacket and shirt and sprinted topless through the door right behind him.

In the elevator, Bruce asked, “What in the world are we doing? We’re supposed to be protecting the Prince.”

“Trust me,” said Davy. “I can vouch for every single person in that room. Don’t you see? It’s not the Prince who’s in danger. It's Daydream Believer! The horse is who they’re after. I’m sure of it!” 

When they got outside, Davy looked around at a loss. “Where’s our car?”

“Parked in some underground garage somewhere.”

“But how are we going to get to...”

At that moment, a Lincoln-Continental pulled up to the curb and as one of the valets approached the driver, Bruce nudged him out of the way. “Park your car, madam?” he said with an ingratiating grin.

“Why, yes, but make sure you don’t...”

“Oh, we’ll take perfectly good care of it, madam,” he said to the matronly driver before turning to Davy and adding, “Get in.”

“But...”

“Get in.”

As her car roared off down the boulevard with Bruce at the wheel, the woman turned to one of the valets. “Why was that Asian man shirtless?” The valet just shrugged.

It didn’t have the coolness factor of the Brucemobile nor did it have the enhanced speed. Still, the black Lincoln reminded Bruce of his days driving Black Beauty. “Hurry!” yelled Davy.

“What? You don’t think 50 MPH on a main thoroughfare in the middle of a Saturday afternoon is hurrying? We’re lucky we haven’t picked up a police escort.”

“I’m sorry, man. It’s just I’m convinced I’m right. They’re going after that horse.”

It was only about a 15 minute trip and as the car pulled into the backtrack area by the stables, Davy opened its door and bolted, only to have a very large man step in front of him, stopping him cold. “It’s all right, sir,” said Bruce. “We’re here to inspect the premises to make sure the Prince’s horse is safe.”

“Where’s your shirt?”

“I told you, man! I told you in the car that was stupid idea!” Davy ran past the security man who turned and reached into his jacket. “HA-KAAAA!” yelped Bruce as he kicked the much larger man in the chin until he fell! Then he ran on after Davy. When he caught up with him, he had already found Daydream Believer.

“I swear to you, sir, this horse is as protected as His Majesty himself. The only strange men to come anywhere near him today are you and your shirtless friend there.” Davy turned to see Bruce approach. He glowered at him. Bruce shrugged.

“ But...Are you sure? Maybe they’ve just not...Hey! Who’s that going in to the stable with a doctor’s bag?”

“That is Dr. Draiman. He is the official track doctor who has to sign off on Believer before he will be able to race tomorrow.”

“Stop that man!” yelled Davy suddenly and loudly. Bruce started to run toward him when an Oriental man dressed in black jumped out of the tree under which they were standing.

The man surveyed Bruce while Bruce walked around him, sizing him up. “This is no time for a dance, you two!” Davy cautioned. “Oh, I’ll do it myself!”

As Bruce and the other man began to yelp and exchange blows, Davy ran at the man he had been told was a doctor and tackled him. The two struggled and a lucky kick sent the older man back over and through a stall window. At that point, Davy mounted the horse bareback and made a clicking noise with his mouth. “Giddyup, boy! Go!” Daydream Believer kicked open the stall door and burst through with Davy, although an experienced jockey, having to hang on tightly. Behind them, the supposed Doctor had pulled a gun and started firing, spooking the horse. He whinnied and reared a bit but Davy held on and encouraged him to keep running by nudging his sides with his feet.

Meanwhile, Bruce was making short work of the would-be assassin. After tossing him around a bit, Bruce flipped the darkly dressed man over his shoulders and ran screaming at the man with the gun. “Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!” The man was momentarily confused and stopped firing just in time for Bruce to spin around and toss his cohort at him.

By that point, the security people had arrived including the one Bruce had earlier gotten around. They held the would-be assassins at bay. Bruce patted the man on the shoulder and smiled. “No hard feelings.”

It was at that point that Prince Achmendat came screeching up in a police car. “My horse! Where is my beloved horse??!!” Bruce pointed at Davy who came trotting peacefully back up the roadway with the beautiful steed. Bruce smiled and gave him a thumbs up!

Davy dismounted and breathlessly said, “I can explain, Your Highness.”

From behind him, he heard a familiar voice. “I explained it to the Prince on the way over.”

“Cass?” exclaimed Bruce in surprise.

“Yeah, I was invited to that party, too, fellas. I was just fashionably late. Sorry I missed your song, Davy,” she said as she touched his cheek. “ I figured out the same thing you must have figured out and so I updated His Majesty and we headed on over here.”

“That’s great,” said Davy. “Whew! That was almost fun!”

“I have to know, though, partner, how did you spot the phony doctor?”

“You forget. I love horses. I’ve been out here enough to know Dr. Draiman and I know he is NOT Chinese! When I looked at this man walking directly toward the stable even while we were all arguing over the possible dangers, I could see he wasn’t the real doctor. ‘E probably has the real doc tied up at his office.”

“We’re already checking on that, fellas,” assured Mama Cass. 

“This should get us some great publicity in tomorrow’s paper, too!”

“Uh-uh, Davy.”

“What? Why not?”

“Yeah! Why not? Actors can always use good press!”

“Come on, guys. Be realistic. If word got out that the government was using out of work actors to fight spies and foreign assassins, then where would we be? Naw, your involvement in this will be limited to a curious incident where Davy sang at the celebration and then ran out, while Bruce ripped off his shirt and followed him.”

“What?” yelled an outraged Bruce. “That will make us look ridiculous!”

“Cookies. Crumbling. You know how it is. But...Say, you guys DO make a pretty good team. Maybe we can use you again sometime. Whaddaya say?”

Bruce and Davy looked sternly at each other, then burst out laughing and gave each other a high five.

“Freeze frame! Then the closing credits roll by while I sing ‘Daydream Believer.’ So what do you think?”

“Hahahhaa...I’m sorry, Davy but it’s too...outlandish. Too unrealistic! It was fun to listen to but it would never sell. I mean, come on. It’s more like a cartoon than a real show!”

With that, Davy Jones gathered up the pages of his proposal and headed for the office door, crestfallen. “Well, thanks for listening at least.” Before he stepped out, he turned and asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have the phone number of Hanna-Barbera handy would you?”

The End


Friday, January 10, 2014

Booksteve Reviews: Hey Kids, Comics!-by Rob Kelly, Etc.

Some of my most enduring memories are of having certain comics books in my early life at certain times. It's one of those things that is somehow simultaneously pleasant and sad--in other words, that insidious condition we call...NOSTALGIA. This recent book, HEY KIDS, COMICS! compiled by veteran blogger and webcomics cartoonist Rob Kelly (ACE KILROY), is brimming with it.

The idea behind the book is to have various folks connected in some way with comics to write about their own early experiences with them. As with any book like this by multiple writers, the results are going to be mixed.

In this case, however, there's not any sections  that drag the book down. Everyone's personal stories are interesting and well-told. And by everyone, that means current and former comic book pros like Steve Skeates, J.M. DeMatteis, my pal Stephen DeStefano, Paul Kupperberg, Paul Castiglia, Steve Englehart and (for  my money one of THE best comics writers ever although technically I wouldn't even call him a comic book writer) Alan Brennert.  No less than 8 of the book's contributors are Facebook friends of mine which lends an extra level of interest to me as a reader.

But that's just it. As a comics fan, it's ALL interesting. I like reading about the shared experiences but also the sometimes very different experiences had by some as they discovered comics in a wholly different era.

If one essay stands out more than any other, it might be writer/historian Marc Tyler Nobleman's brief piece about discovering comic books at the tail end of the 1970s. Marc succinctly sums up the overwhelming attraction and almost immediate obsession that one could still get in those days to the lowly comic book.

But they really are ALL like that. Like an AA meeting in a way, with each author standing up and telling how he got addicted...but in a GOOD way!

HEY KIDS, COMICS! is accompanied by some marvelous photographs of kids reading comic books. They don't seem to necessarily be the kids who are WRITING about the comic books--at least not ALL the time-- but I'm sure their photos would look much the same. Mine do. This, in fact, is a project I find myself wishing I had been asked to participate in myself. By the time you finish it, you are overwhelmed with, as the young folks say, "the FEELS!" If you were ever a comic book fan that is. If not, this book would undoubtedly seem utterly foreign to you.

If you want to indulge your nostalgia, though, and you have the background, Booksteve definitely recommends!

Thanks to Paul and Rob for getting me a copy of HEY KIDS, COMICS! You can get YOURS at the link below.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Birthdays


Seen here is a web photo of one of the only birthday presents I actually remember receiving through the years. Oh, I know there must have been others but this BOZO puppet toy is the earliest I recall. You see, my birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas so anyone who had been thoughtful enough to get me a Christmas present would usually say it was for my birthday, too. 

BOZO was my present at my 11th birthday party in 1970. It was, I believe, the only actual birthday party I ever had as well...and I spent part of it petulantly locked in the bathroom after I threw a tantrum because everyone was winning prizes except me and it was MY birthday!

It's also memorable because my next door neighbors, Logan and Todd, brought a friend of theirs named Mike Conley, whom I didn't know. After that, I'd see Mike at school and always said hi. I'd usually see him on the winding staircase between floors. Not for long, though, as Mike had a cerebral hemorrhage in the stairwell just about a month afterwards and died. Just about the entire school turned out for his funeral on a cold, snowy day. Even the school bullies were there!
R.I.P. Mike.

Todd died at some point, too. Not sure about Logan. There were a bunch of other kids there that day but quite frankly I'm at a loss as to who they were.

That was when I turned 11, which turned out to actually be a pretty good year.

But today I turn 55. I've had some success over the years and some failures. I've won more times than I've lost and I'm still here. That's a plus.

But I must admit to feeling old beyond my years. I rarely truly enjoy anything anymore and my health issues have taken somewhat of a toll. I've given up so much in recent years.

But I'm still here.

Where there's life, there's hope.

And next week, I embark upon a project which shall have to remain hush-hush for now but it ties in with me from the 1970s, from just a few short years beyond that 11th birthday that remains memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

Maybe there IS a second act. 




Wednesday, January 08, 2014

1962 3 Stooges Club Ad



In the late '50s and early '60s, it was tough to find anyone more popular with kids than the 3 Stooges. They were certainly MY favorites at age 3 when this ad came out. It's so busy that it really doesn't work all that well as an ad but it looks as though the art is by Norman Maurer who had drawn the Stooges comics a decade earlier and who by 1962 was married to Moe's daughter and guiding the group's career!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Signed Martin Grams Books on Amazon


For a limited time only (as in "while they last") I'm offering several each of signed copies of three of the most popular titles by author Martin Grams, Jr. at Amazon.

THE HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL COMPANION is the wonderful book about the intelligent western classic starring the great Richard Boone, delving into behind the scenes and on-air info on every episode.

UPDATE: We no longer list THE SHADOW at Amazon but we DO have ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. Unsigned copies of THE SHADOW are still listed at the BOOKSTEVE RARITIES link below.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE is another thick volume detailing the ins and outs and behind the scenes info on the great science-fiction TV classic created by Rod Serling. 

The first 2 books, signed, are $50.00 each and the 3rd is $60.00. You can find them while they last under my name as "New" copies from individual sellers at Amazon.


If you're not into autographed books, unsigned copies can be ordered at a lesser price along with many of Martin's other fascinating books on TV and radio history here:



Monday, January 06, 2014

30 Odd


Only a couple of strips there so far but I ask you to take a look and consider bookmarking and checking back on this new webcomic by my just about to turn 30 friend Dee who's pretty odd herself...in a good way!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Got Christmas Money? Rarities Update!



http://www.booksteveraritiesdvd.com/#!how-to-order/cmh1

$7.00 each unless marked + $6.00 postage no matter how many discs you order.

DOCTOR STRANGE: THE RADIO PROGRAM
 Available this month only, so don't delay. Two CD set contains seven episodes of the 1970 radio program based on the comic book character, DOCTOR STRANGE. Includes: Fun House of Fight, The Origin of Dr. Strange, Secret of the Pahteer, The Dread Dormammu (two parts) and Baron Mordo (two parts).

For details go here---http://audiocomics.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/the-secret-history-of-the-doctor-strange-radio-show/


ATOM ANT: The Complete Cartoon Series
From 1965, this superhero ant operated out of an anthill in the countryside, where he possessed such things as a mainstream computer and exercise equipment. His powers mostly consisted of the ability to fly, super speed, incredible strength and invulnerability. All 25 animated cartoons in this DVD set.


THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE  (1972)
Set in the year 1975. Starring Bobby Van, Ruta Lee, Mala Powers, James Craig, Grant Williams and Casey Kasem. Spies discover that the Red Chinese have built a "doomsday machine" capable of destroying the surface of the Earth, and that they plan to use it within a matter of days. Meanwhile, Project Astra, a manned U.S. space mission to Venus, is in its final hours before launch when it is taken over by the military and nearly half of its all-male crew is replaced by women. The reason for this becomes apparent when, shortly after Astra leaves orbit, the Earth is completely destroyed in a global cataclysm! Is the human race doomed? What dangers and wonders await the crew of the Astra on their journey to Venus?



DUEL OF THE TITANS  (1961)
Starring Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves. Twin brothers revolt against tyranny in pre-Roman Italy and then come to a parting of the ways as they lead their people toward the founding of a new city. The producers originally wanted Steve Reeves to play both Romulus and Remus, but he declined to do double roles and recommended former Tarzan Gordon Scott.


 
SON OF DRACULA  (1974, Ringo Starr)
Starring Harry Nilsson, Freddie Jones and Ringo Starr. Due to be crowned King of the Netherworld by his mentor Merlin the Magician at a monster's convention Count Downe, the son of Count Dracula, falls in love with the beautiful but human Amber and finds himself in conflict with Baron Frankenstein who is vying for the same honorary title.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

R.I.P. Phil Everly


I discovered the Everly Brothers when Johnny Cash got them their own variety show in 1970. Over time, I began to discover their older hits and their newer songs and they were always great.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Music Mart



I'm not sure how long it had been there but I discovered Cincinnati's MUSIC MART sometime in the early seventies. It was a thin but long shop crowded with tables and tables full of alphabetized 45 RPM records, all in their trademark yellow personal sleeves. In fact, just about any song ever released on 45 it seemed! Some were originals, some remaindered with the little holes in them but most seemed to be re-issues. Every time I went across the river or even anytime either of my parents went across the river, I'd send them with a list of songs I'd heard on the radio. You didn't want to get the new stuff there because you could usually find new singles for less than 60 cents anywhere else. But all the stuff from a year or two or ten before, this was THE place to find it.

At some point, they moved from Vine Street to 6th Street, as per the revised sleeve below, and even changed their name. Obviously I went there as I have a number of records with this sleeve as well but I have no memories of the new place at all. Something tells me they weren't successful there, though.