Monday, September 16, 2019

Archie and Me...Literally

Don't know that I ever ran this here. This is a panel scanned from an Archie digest comic in 2010 or 2011. The story is credited to George Gladir and the art to Stan Goldberg. Not long before this, I had interviewed both gentlemen in connection to IDW's big Archie anniversary coffee table book. I assumed this to be a coincidence but when I posted it on Facebook, I was assured by several that it probably wasn't, that Gladir had a habit of occasionally sticking real people's names into his scripts. 

Coincidence or a cute little shout out?

Either way, I love it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Booksteve Reviews: The Book of Weirdo

I have to confess two things up front. One is that I never read a single issue of Weirdo when it was new. The other is that I worked on the item at hand—The Book of Weirdo by Jon B. Cooke—off and on for about 6 months a few years back when I transcribed multiple interviews with publisher Ron Turner. I even make the book’s huge acknowledgements list. I sincerely doubt, however, that any person on that list—myself included—had a clue just how complete and madly obsessive the final product would turn out to be.

Jon B. Cooke, of course, is the man behind such essential chronicles of comic book history as the magazines Comic Book Artist, Comic Book Creator, and the sadly short-lived ACE (All Comics Evaluated).

But this book BY Jon B. Cooke is about a very different magazine, Weirdo, and the man behind that magazine was Robert Crumb. Confused?

Weirdo premiered in 1981, in a way a successor to the underground comix that had been largely replaced by the independent comics boom that would ride out the decade. Intentional or otherwise, it was also a purposely low-fi response to Art Spiegelman’s Raw, itself an attempt at raising the underground work to a true art form.

Spiegelman’s later Pulitzer Prize for Maus aside, if the average American of any age thought of comix at all by the time of the Reagan administration, there is no question they only knew one name and that one name was R. Crumb. 

There is also no question that Weirdo was Crumb’s idea and Crumb’s baby, in spite of the fact that he was only the first of three very different editors during the mag’s original 1981-1993 run.

At first, it seemed tricky to review The Book of Weirdo without reviewing Weirdo itself but really there’s little comparison. Weirdo—which I have now read—still doesn’t interest me that much. Some of Crumb’s covers are among my favorites of his work. A number of interesting underground creators like veterans Spain and Kim Deitch are joined by then-lesser known names such as Dori Seda, Drew Friedman, and Ace Backwords. Looked at as a whole, Weirdo was a wonderful concept designed to both showcase and celebrate outsider art. 

Still not really my thing, though. But it IS Jon Cooke’s thing and he does go out of his way here to look at Weirdo as a whole, from the front, the back, the top, the bottom, the left, the right, the over, the under, the dark, the light, the yin, the yang…You get the picture.

There are two types of history books that I really like. One is the type where the author goes to every possible extreme to look under every rug and tell the reader every bit of info they could ever possibly want to know about a subject. 

The other is an oral history, where the author gets those involved in the story he’s writing about to give their own version of what happened and how it felt. This often leads to conflicting versions but somehow, when all the versions are combined, something very close to the truth is conveyed.

Jon B. Cooke’s The Book of Weirdo, beautifully packaged from Last Gasp and sporting a brand new Drew Friedman cover of Robert Crumb, works perfectly as BOTH types. Ipso facto, The Book of Weirdo is a book that I doubly like! 

Booksteve recommends.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

U.N.C.L.E. Movie Posters

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. was a popular and influential television series starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum that grew from a project actually created by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. It   was both a reaction to and at the same time a bit of a spoof of the 007 movies. It ran on US television for several seasons in the mid-1960s and even begat a vaguely Modesty Blaise-inspired spinoff entitled (Duh) THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E. which starred Stefanie Powers. For a while, secret organizations with initialed acronyms were EVERYWHERE in popular culture.

In other parts of the world where the TV series was not shown, however, the producers released no less than EIGHT Man from U.N.C.L.E. feature films! In actuality, these were two part episodes, at least a couple of which contained extra scenes not shown on TV that were (very slightly) more explicit.

I believe a couple at least were released in the US as well as I have vague memories of catching one on the big screen myself as a child.

Here we see a selection of poster art for all eight films as spotted online.


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

George Reeves in Newspaper Photos

I've been raiding the newspaper archives online again, this time for George Reeves-related photo posts. Lots of 'em!


A decade and a half earlier, Superman was fighting racist caricatures of Japanese soldiers and below, in 1959, we read that SUPERMAN was Emperor Hirohito's favorite program. Things change. 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Milt Gross at Marvel-1947

From an issue of Martin Goodman's MISS AMERICA MAGAZINE.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Meet Barnabas Collins

Couldn't find any photos from it but here we have info on the ABC Saturday morning cartoon preview from this date in 1969, hosted by Hope Lange, Charles Nelson Reilly, and the cast of THE GHOST & MRS. MUIR (newly shifted that Fall from NBC) and guest-staring Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins!