Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1952 Comic Book Massager Ad

Do you see any men pictured in this ad? "Spot Reducer." Yeah. Right. "Apply over most any part of your body." "Increased awakened blood circulation." And that picture! WOO-HOO! Who do they think they were kidding?

Beetle Bailey on Sesame Street-1973

Here's a short animated BEETLE BAILEY cartoon that appeared on SESAME STREET in, I believe, 1973. The original idea was that kids would relate to characters they already knew from comic books and strips. Thus the appearances of Superman, Batman, Beetle and others here and Spider-Man later on THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.

Sylvester-Father of the Bird-1997

A little seen 1997 cartoon produced by the great Chuck Jones but directed by Stephen Fossati introduces the new bird character Cornbread (voiced by June Foray)to play opposite Sylvester the Cat (voiced by Joe Alaskey). Wikipedia says this went unreleased but I think it has been available somewhere--just don't know where.

Wakko's Nations of the World-Live 2007

My favorite current cartoon voice artist is Rob Paulsen. Here's Rob at 2007's AnthroCon channeling Danny Kaye as he presents Wakko's "Nations of the World" song from a 1993 ANIMANIACS episode without the slightest glitch!

Little Nemo-1911

Winsor McCay's hand drawn (every single frame!) and partially tinted LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND cartoon based on his classic newspaper strip comes at the end of this amusing live action tale of how it was made.

Pogo Panel-2007

An interesting panel on the great POGO comic strip from 2007's AnthroCon. Carolyn Kelly, Mark Evanier and the OTHER Steve Thompson speak. (I'm sure that to him I'M the other Steve Thompson!)

Tim Tyler's Luck-1973

TIM TYLER'S LUCK was a long-running newspaper strip created by Lyman Young, brother of BLONDIE creator Chic Young. Despite its quality, its once hefty circulation and its nearly 70 year run, it was ultimately a relatively uninteresting and unimportant strip that dealt with a young man's African and international adventures.
What we have here is a 1973 issue of TIM TYLER'S LUCK from King Comics. Okay, now let us discuss the problems with that sentence.

1) King Comics suspended their line six or seven years earlier and according to GCD never published a TIM TYLER'S LUCK comic.
2) The indicia indicates this comic was published by Charlton in spite of what the cover says.
3) This is predominantly a FELIX THE CAT comic, featuring only one brief badly drawn TTL story and a cover.
4) According to the Grand Comics Database, TIM TYLER'S LUCK only ever appeared in comic books in the 1940's in ACE COMICS and never had its own title!

I wrote veteran comics historian Lou Mougin for help with info on this title which is found often on EBay but never with any real descriptive info. He replied that it was a new one on him. According to Lou, King DID distribute educational comics to schools in the seventies so one can presume--in spite of very little educational content--that this was one.

This, of course, begs the question of what OTHER unknown comics King had in this series. The back cover here seems to indicate the possibility of comic books featuring POPEYE, HI & LOIS, QUINCY (Not Jack Klugman's), TIGER, HENRY (who has one page in TIM TYLER'S LUCK) and THE LITTLE KING.

Anyone have any other info on these?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Exploding Froot Loops

Whining time for a sec, okay?
Dealing with some depression and insomnia these past few days. Or is it weeks?
Had to give up a close friend recently for both her good and mine. Don't really see anyone else all that much anymore.
Still out of work with prospects rare and now yet another glitch with unemployment. We don't have a lot of debt so we aren't hurting but savings are getting lower than I'd like.
Been too sedentary and putting on weight. Spending too much time on PC doing nothing.

That PayPal donation box hasn't seen any donations for months and they could help these days.
Would love to hit nearby Mid Ohio Con this weekend but with no money it would only be to see Net friends like Mark Evanier, Tony Isabella, Mike Grell , Fred Hembeck and David Mack (Not that I know him all that well but he lives practically in walking distance and I haven't seen him since last year's MOC).
That said, the memories of car problems going there the past two years have me skittish and still undecided.

Health issues with some of the cats. Flea issue with the dog.

The country seems filled with politically insane people on all sides. I cherish folks with whom I can politically disagree without them thinking me the Anti-Christ. I haven't seen many lately, though.
Have started and given up on a nu,ber of creative projects recently including a really good short time travel story. At least I think it would have been short if I hadn't given up on it. So far anyway.
I'm way behind on updating YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST PICTURE (I've started three times including yesterday at 3 AM) and on conducting a new interview in the Christa Helm case/story.

I'm way behind on pursuing other celebrity interviews including one I'd really love to do!
Sigh. Somedays it just feels like your box of FROOT LOOPS is exploding all over the place. That's what I titled this piece, inspired by my new Net friend Leslie--EXPLODING BOX OF FROOT LOOPS.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Had an ITCH lately?

Be sure to check out the four to five comics sites I recommend daily for historical value of one sort or another over at Craig Yoe's ITCH. Ignore the link to the right as it has yet to work properly. That should finally be fixed soon. Use this link and it should take you there. In recent days we've pointed toward reprints by or articles about Don Lawrence, Jay Disbrow, a French CAPTAIN MARVRL JR strip, John Severin and Al Capp...among many others. If you like my writing or what I write'll find more of both over at ITCH, the International Team of Comics Historians.

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 64

Gray Morrow art but WTF?? You don't EVEN want to know the context!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Books Week-2009

My son just read Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 from his middle school library. It's my all-time favorite novel. Even as a child when I first watched Francois Truffaut's brilliant film version I could not understand why anyone would want to destroy books. Books are a million things to a million people. Poetry, inspiration, solace, escape, encouragement, enlightenment, education, revealing or just plain old enjoyment. The lowliest of them should be respected, the highest revered. Whether fiction or non-fiction, it isn't the books itself that scare people, it's the ideas contained within.

As a lifelong booklover/bookseller/librarian, the concept of BANNED BOOKS WEEK, created in 1982 to bring to light the incredible number of challenges and outright bans on books throughout the US at any given time, has always been near and dear to my ink-stained heart.

When I was managing bookstores, we would put up big displays of books banned nearby every year, the Bible often among them. Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Stephen King, Robert Cormier and the ever-popular for banning Judy Blume were also there. Then at one point, the company stopped participating as they didn't want to "offend" potential customers. AAARRGH! Talk about missing the point!

Today is the start of this year's BANNED BOOKS WEEK. Find out more info here-- The map you see here represents the places books became an issue in the US just since 1977 and clicking on each little blue marker at that site will give details. Look. Then go to your local library or bookstore and pick up a banned book. There's lots of good ones to choose from--Steinbeck, JK Rowling, Tin-Tin, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and sadly hundreds more. Do it because in this country you CAN and don't let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't read. Have faith in our kids that the ideas in the books will make them THINK for themselves. I'd rather have my son disagree with me on something by coming to his own conclusion rather than mindlessly becoming a clone of me. If what he reads sparks questions or further reading, how exactly is that a bad thing?

Maybe you could say that not all people in the US are as well-equipped to take these ideas without being negatively affected. Maybe you're right but maybe that's because they've been sheltered all along from potential harmful ideas. I know from my own experience reading anything and everything I could get my hands on at a young age that while a book might make me think, in and of itself it will never change my beliefs on anything. I love to read books by people I disagree with on any subject so I can come to understand THEIR viewpoints better. Tell me again why that's a bad thing?

Go. Read something you shouldn't.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Genre-Fiction Generator 2000

Mike Grell alerts us to the GENRE-FICTION GENERATOR 2000, a handy little device for coming up with sure-fire plots that requires no real effort on your part! Apparently this comes from WONDERMARK, a website with which I was not previously familiar but which looks pretty cool. Check it out at

Friday, September 25, 2009

Agar Agar

My piece on the 1972 British DRACULA magazines garnered some interest the other day so here's a little more info I've found. First of all, a comment on a piece done by Curt way back in 2005 at THE GROOVY AGE OF HORROR ( ) informs me that the Warren version reprinted only the first six issues in the US. Apparently all 12 published issues were literally rebound into a hardback collection in the UK. This seems to have been the intention all along as each issue continues page numbering from the previous issue rather thatn starting over at page one each time.

AGAR AGAR, the psychedelic strip in the series, derives its odd title from (from Wikipedia) " ...a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed (that) can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in jellies, ice cream and Japanese desserts." Still not sure what this has to do with anything mind you but...Here's the complete AGAR AGAR strip from issue seven, a super hero parody featuring our heroine's encounter with "Superbat." According to Net info this Albert Solsona drawn strip was written by Sadko(??).

Superman-1953 Brotherhood Week PSA

The art here is by Win Mortimer.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

RIP-Dick Durock

I know I was remiss in not listing Henry Gibson and Patrick Swayze and Mary Travers and so many others who have left us lately lately but I correctly figured they'd get their due publically. Someone who probably won't is Dick Durock, the stuntman/actor who portrayed SWAMP THING in the 1980's movies and subsequently in the 1990's TV series. WONDERFUL WONDERBLOG has a nice obit at:

Roberta Gregory, Feminism and Me

I first encountered the comics of Roberta Gregory when I picked up a couple issues of an underground comic book with the descriptive title, TITS AND CLITS at a convention circa 1978. With that title, I just knew it had to be "good." Boy was I disappointed. Why, the stories were all about WOMEN! Women's issues, women's lives, women's troubles, women's pain, women's passions, women's feelings. Why...this was...FEMINISM! Looking back I think it was chance encounters like these in my formative years (I would have been still less than 20) that tempered my sexism to the point where I have now long considered myself a bit of a feminist. I have actually contributed to NOW, the National Organization for Women. (FOR women, not OF women so...)
Fine, those of you who know me realize that I can be as sexist as the next guy sometimes. Chalk it up to a hormonal thing. Still, most of my closest friends in adulthood have been women and I have been told I have a better understanding of women than most males. (My comment is always "If a man truly understands women, the first thing he will tell you is that women can never truly be understood...nor should they be.") What does all of this have to do with Roberta Gregory, who went on to fame as creator of BITCHY BITCH? Over the years since, I would catch her work from time to time and was always reminded of my discovery of her. A little bit ago Roberta Gregory friended me on Facebook, some 30 years after I furtively purchased copies of TITS AND CLITS and scurried back to my hotel room hoping for a few--shall we say--interesting moments alone only to find instead the unexpected beginnings of enlightenment. It's an interesting world in which we find ourselves. Check out Ms. Gregory's website at:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


DRACULA was an unusually titled Spanish horror magazine originally published in 1971. Unusually titled because there were very few vampire appearances, let alone any by Drac himself. The issues were reprinted in English in the UK a year on and still later some stories (all?)were published in book form by Warren Publishing in the US. I've never seen the US version in spite of the fact that someone at Warren rewrote a letter I had published in a contemporary issue of VAMPIRELLA to include in it an extensive plug for their DRACULA.

I did, however, mailorder the 12 issues of the British version through a TBG ad. I waited impatiently for weeks and never heard anything from the seller. Finally, I wrote and was answered with a letter apologizing for the delay and offering to send me something else instead. I wrote back and agreed, accepting something now long forgotten in place of the mags. Whatever it was, it arrived quickly. Months passed and one day I received the original order--all 12 DRACULA issues in near mint condition! Shocked and surprised, I felt guilty as I had already accepted something else for my money! I contacted the Post Office (for some reason) and was informed that under US postal law the DRACULA shipment was now considered separate from the completed original transaction and, since I had placed NO re-order for the items, they were now considered legally to be "a gift" for which I could not be charged by law. Hmmm...seemed fishy to me. I still felt guilty. Hell, I STILL feel guilty. I kept them, though.

Looking at them today, I find the stories virtually unreadable but the art absolutely breathtaking in spots! Every issue features the same four artists in the same order, all behind painted covers that look as if they could have been lifted off of contemporary horror novels. The highlight of every issue is WOLFF, a CONAN-like barbarian strip by the brilliant Esteban Maroto whose work was just then beginning to appear in mainstream US comics. Stylish and colorful, I don't really care what the story is about. It's just fun to look through every page and savor every panel.

Josep M. Bea had the second spot with completely different but equally stylized art. Already familiar to me from Warren work, he was not a favorite at the time but I look at it now and it looks better than most comics art of its day. Bea seems to have been an an interesting person, too. According to Wikipedia, "In 1979 he was convicted for offenses against morality for the content of one of his stories...and was forbidden (for some time) from doing anymore artwork." Wow.

The series AGAR-AGAR answers the perhaps unasked question, "What would it look like if Peter Max had drawn comics?" Actually, the artist was Alberto Solsona clearly channeling the master of psychedelic pop art! Something about fairies and demons and peace and zen and yellow submarines (Not really, sorry). Who knows? It really doesn't matter, I tell you. It may read like a series of bad hippie tracts but the visuals alone will ensure you a good trip over and over again!

My favorite contributor then and now is Enric Sio, already a veteran of Spanish and British comics although I had never seen any at that time. Even though he clearly utilized extensive photo reference, the artist twisted and turned the most ordinary images into foreboding or downright creepy images. With some of his pages nearly wordless in every issue, there are some genuinely disturbing visuals here in his one-off terror tales which, for a horror comic, really isn't a bad thing!

Overall, I find this more interesting than good, more visually stimulating than enjoyable, more impressive looking than truly well done. In the end, I think the biggest impact that DRACULA had on me was to introduce me to a lifelong appreciation for several very different--non Kirby-like--styles of comics art.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ayn Rand With Phil Donahue-1970's

If you're a SPIDER-MAN fan, then you should be aware that all of Spidey's earliest adventures were colored by creator Steve Ditko's growing interests in the Objectivist philosophies of writer/philosopher Ayn Rand. Here, much missed civil talk show host Phil Donahue has Ms. Rand for a feisty, grumpy interview, perhaps her last on television. It's a bizarre and fascinating piece as the author proceeds to tell the acolytes in the audience that they don't understand her at all, dammit! Follow to part 2 and beyond at the end if interested. The whole thing will give you some idea of the A is A philosophy which Ditko has allowed to color his life and works for so many years now.

Bob Clampett's John Carter of Mars-1940's

Here is all the animation done for a proposed theatrical cartoon series based on Edgar Rice Burroghs' JOHN CARTER, WARLORD OF MARS. These cartoons were to be done by former Warner Brothers animator Bob Clampett who, instead, went on to do TIME FOR BEANY.

Richard Corben's Neverwhere-1968

Pt 1 of Richard Corben's legendary animated version of DEN/NEVERWHERE from 1968. Follow the link to part 2 at the end. I had heard about this for decades but never seen it until YouTube where, if you time it right, you can find everything!

Grazin' In the Grass-Friends of Distinction-1970

When we got our first UHF commercial station here in the Cincinnati area in 1968, WXIX-TV, it did not broadcast on weekends except in the evenings. For a brief period in 1970, however, they offered a unique experiment which I believe to have been a syndicated package offered to other such stations around the country. It was called THE MUSIC CONNECTION and pre-saged MTV as well as those high cable all-music channels by more than a decade. THE MUSIC CONNECTION was literally a radio-like playing of then popular songs with WMP-style graphics as visuals. If I recall correctly it ran overnight on Friday nights and all day Saturday until CREATURE FEATURE started in the evening around 7. I kept it on as background music for reading, eating, cleaning, talking on the phone and just generally lazing around. The fun part was watching for those rare instances when THE MUSIC CONNECTION played actual music videos! I recall one from Santana, several from the ubiquious German show BEAT CLUB and two specific ones--"Goin' Up the Country" by Canned Heat and this one, Hugh Masekela's "Grazin' in the Grass" as done by the 5th Dimension-like group, the Friends of Distinction. I've enjoyed this version ever since.

Fantomas Trailer-1964

I just finished watching all three of the enjoyable early sixties French FANTOMAS films with son Bookdave. Ostensibly starring swashbuckling French film legend Jean Marais (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) as both hero and villain, the first film is easily stolen by the rubber-faced antics of comic actor Lois De Funes as the Police Commissioner. In subsequent films, a la Clouseau and the Pink Panther movies, De Funes has more screen time than anyone. If one is looking for true to the source adaptations of the crime novels from the earliest years of the 2oth century, these are not that. These are more like low budget Bond films where the sly, stylish villain constantly outwits the bumbling heroes. By the third and final film, FANTOMAS VS SCOTLAND YARD, the cracks in the formula were already showing so it's probably good that they stopped when they did. Lots of fun, though (and luckily much better prints than this trailer!).

Monday, September 21, 2009

An Honor Received from Jeffrey Catherine Jones

I grew up with Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, Steve Ditko and Curt Swan but I'm on record as saying Jeffrey Catherine Jones is one of my all-time favorite artists. In fact, just recently I was showing son bookdave (who grew up with a now long-faded print of BLIND NARCISSUS hanging on our wall) all of the works on the artist's extensive site. Now comes word directly from her that visitors to her site are greeted by various quotes including one from...ME! Seriously! I'm quoted right after Frank Frazetta! I am honored and stand by my statement. While Jones' fantasy works, comics and drawings are still impressively amazing, his ordinary portraits and landscapes teach us that art doesn't have to have bulging biceps, heaving bosoms, spaceships or bloody swords to be riveting. It was from Jones that I progressed to Wyeth, Klimt, Lyendecker and other great non-comics illustrator/artists. Take a look for yourself. If you aren't familiar with the artist, explore this site and enjoy!

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks # 55

Although noted for his breezy, devil may care style throughout his long career, Dean Martin gave a number of quite excellent performances over the years in various movies. Among these are THE YOUNG LIONS (1958), RIO BRAVO (1959) and a surprising standout performance in the 1970 all-star potboiler, AIRPORT. For the most part, however, his solo film career is made up of light comedies, forgettable westerns, the Matt Helm spy parodies and Rat Pack cameos. His final solo vehicle, from 1975, is a pointless and forgotten thriller called MR. RICCO. What posessed him to say yes to this one I do not know.

Dino walks through his role as a San Francisco attorney who successfully defends a killer (the always enjoyable Thalmus Rasulala) against a murder charge only to then be stalked because of that success. A good supporting cast included Denise (ROOM 222) Nicholas, Eugene Roche (the guy from the ubiquitous seventies dishwasher commercials), Geraldine Brooks and early appearances by LAVERNE & SHIRLEY's Cindy Williams and MIAMI VICE's Phillip Michael Thomas. As I say, a good supporting cast but pretty much a TV movie supporting cast. Add to this the fact that TV veteran Paul Bogart directs and again I have to wonder how this late MGM release ever found its way--briefly--into theaters. Even in the dull newspaper ad Dean reminds one of a MAD parody of himself. Note that the ad itself is shaped vaguely like an old-style TV screen. What were they thinking?

You Guys Need Any Shoes?

Just wondering if this mid-fifties comic book ad might be the answer to my job troubles. I mean, everybody wants comfortable shoes, right? And 3000 extra smackers a year is nothing to sneeze at! Of course, assuming this company is still in business that estimate might go as high as 4000 now! Seriously, Joe, what size are you? Cal? Rick? Sam? Pete? Rose? (Pete Rose! LOL!)What styles do you like? Lisa? Hmmm....okay, never mind, Lisa. You're not a big shoe wearer. Hey, where ya'll goin'? I got shoes! What's the...? Hey, wait! Don't go, I... Hmmmm...Maybe I'd better re-think this. Wonder if I can get hold of William Bergstrom and see how that all worked out for him.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Deep vs. Star Wars

THE DEEP was a 1977 film about underwater treasure hunting that starred Robert Shaw, Nick Nolte, and--if you were to believe any of the ads at the time--Jacqueline Bisset's breasts. The great Lou Gossett and Eli Wallach co-starred. It was written, based on his own novel, by Peter Benchley, the man behind 1975's JAWS which had become the biggest grossing film ever by that point and had been nominated as Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The director was Peter Yates who had helmed BULLITT and would soon do the Oscar-winning BREAKING AWAY. THE DEEP was poised and marketed to be the biggest movie of that heady summer season if not the biggest of the year and possibly one of the biggest films of all time. I remind you all of this because I would venture to say that few movie fans under the age of 40 or so actually have heard of THE DEEP.

It seems that on the way to its presumed place in the pop culture pantheon, THE DEEP was upstaged by a little picture released a couple of weeks earlier--STAR WARS. STAR WARS was almost immediately THE runaway summer hit for everyone but the hardcore sci-fi writers and fans. Ben Bova was misquoted in TIME making it sound as though he liked it when he didn't. Harlan Ellison corrected that impression in a five page lambasting of George Lucas' movie published in GALLERY later that year.

I saw STAR WARS that opening weekend and, like most fans, many times more over the next year! As a huge film fan, I also saw THE DEEP when it opened. It was a matinee on the picture's opening weekend and there were only a handful of people in the downtown theater...most apparently awake and sober. The only thing I really remember about what we were TOLD would be the movie of the year is that it had some great underwater photography.Oh and...well...Jackie did have nice breasts!

Printed here is a vintage STAR WARS review from THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER in which Tom McElfesh begins to suspect THE DEEP might have competition.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Captain Marvel Ad

Here's a nifty early Fawcett house ad for the original CAPTAIN MARVEL, made all the moreso by the fact that the particular comic book that those folks are enjoying so much, CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVNTURES # 4, is perhaps the most important Golden Age comic I ever owned. My copy was actually in pretty good shape (probably VG by early eighties standards) except that the upper right hand corner had been neatly sliced off (possibly to indicate a destroyed, credited copy the way magazine covers are stripped today by retailers?). I paid about 10 bucks for it. I treasured it! I cherished it! And when the time came a few years ago I couldn't afford groceries for my family, it bought me about a month's worth! That's one reason we collect comics, I guess--in the hopes that someday we can make money on them. In that case, the Big Red Cheese came through for me! Shazam, indeed! Thanks, Cap!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Avengers Reunion-1994

Joanna Lumley and the late Gareth Hunt reunite in 1994 for the VHS release of their NEW AVENGERS TV series from the mid-seventies. From what I've read, the cool, burly Hunt--as Mike Gambit--had been added to the classic AVENGERS format as it was felt that Patrick Macnee was too old for action scenes so his John Steed character was to appear less frequently. If true, somewhere along the line, that idea was abandoned and Steed, Gambit and Purdey made a charismatic trio in a couple of seasons of hit and miss episodes now nearly as fondly recalled as the more familiar Diana Rigg episodes of a few years earlier.

Don Rosa

My own personal favorite "Good Duck Artist" on why we haven't seen any new stories by him in quite a while and why we sadly aren't likely to do so again. If you aren't familiar with his work, grab some. Anything. Don's sense of humor is almost identical to mine so I find his work hilarious but more importantly, he managed to fill his funny animal stories with the kind of attention to character, detail, old fashioned storytelling and sometimes very real emotion that only a true master of comics as an art form can do. Don't be prejudiced just because they're ducks. Classic stuff!

Carl Barks

An all-too brief interview with "Good Duck Artist" Carl Barks from a PM MAGAZINE, EXTRA type show. Looks to be from either the late seventies or early eighties based on the products and projects discussed.

Blackhawk Serial Trailer

BLACKHAWK premiered from Quality Comics in 1941 and the strip floundered on for some years after World War II, eventually shifting to DC in the late fifties. Why they would choose to make this serial (starring Kirk "SUPERMAN" Alyn) as late as 1952 is a mystery. Interesting to note the surprising screen credit for artist Reed Crandall. Crandall neither created the strip nor was its main artist by that point but obviously his still-popular work made an impact!

Batman-Dead End

A fan film made a few years back, this is quite well done with impressive special effects and atmospheric photography. The Joker is played by the actor son of STAR TREK's Walter Koenig.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tarentino Meets McCloud...Maybe

Writer/Director Quentin Tarentino endeared himself to filmlovers and simultaneously revived John Travolta's nearly flatlined career with his creation of a pair of unlikely buddy killers named Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield in 1994's smash hit, PULP FICTION. Vincent is white, quirky, chatty, nervous and cruel. Jules is black, witty, intelligent, philosophical, soft-spoken but with a bad temper and has a penchant for quoting the Bible. The two tend to bicker and banter back and forth. My question is...was Quentin a McCLOUD fan?

I haven't seen this mentioned in any of the articles, interviews or IMDB trivia sections about PULP FICTION but is there a possibility that Quentin based his two mismatched hit men on a similar pair of characters appearing in a 2nd season episode of that TV series that originally aired in 1972?

McCLOUD was a popular, long-running cop show whose gimmick (all cop and detective series in the seventies were required to have a gimmick) was that it's main character was a cowboy uprooted to Manhattan. In this particular episode, "A Little Plot at Tranquil Valley," full-time mortuary owner and part-time criminal Burgess Meredith has a couple of killer minions named Richard and Morgan.

Richard is white, quirky, chatty, nervous and cruel. Morgan is black, witty, philosophical, intelligent, soft-spoken but with a bad temper and has a penchant for quoting Shakespeare. COMBAT star Vic Morrow plays Richard and distinguished African-American actor Moses Gunn (in SHAFT the year before) plays Morgan. The two have nearly all of their scenes together and play off of each other very well.

So, did young, impressionable Quentin watch McCloud and without even realizing it file away these character types? Just asking. Anybody out there know Quentin? Ask him and let us know!

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Galexo!

Todd Hillmer snuck in another Galexo strip in the comments of the previous Galexo posting! Here you can see that what I had thought previously to be the dorky back of his dorky hardhat helmet was actually the dorky back of his fashionably trendy dorky long blond hair! I thought it might go unnoticed if it just stayed there so here it is along with parts of what Todd had to say--
"My stash came from Stars & Stripes, I believe. Whenever I've seen anything written on the last days of this Batman series, 1974 is given as an end date. That is really hard to swallow as these Galexo strips are beyond bad. I'd love to see what came next..."

"And Galexo himself? Even in this continuity, it's established the dynamic duo are friends with Superman, how are we supposed to be impressed with this guy??"
I think I speak for all of the folks who have commented and emailed me here and on Facebook about Galexo, Todd. We'd also love to see what came next but we'd settle for the strips between the debut you shared with us before and the above final strip in that paper. It's a continuity train wreck! I'm not saying you should send them to me. YOU have a marvelous site ( that I spend hours at a time on if someone doesn't remind me to eat ocassionally! I may not know who he is beneath that stupid helmet of his but theworld needs him now! Well...Actually, the world may never have NEEDED Galexo but the world WANTS Galexo now more than ever!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

El Santo Collage

I wish I could remember where I found this so as to credit the person who did it but I can't and it's too cool not to post--a collage of all (or nearly all) of the South of the Border Luchador films starring Mexican wrestling superhero El Santo! El Santo was a real-life wrestler who made movies for two decades in which he fought everything from gangsters and robots to supernatural monsters and aliens! When he died he was buried in his mask while his son continued the family legacy. Along with wishing I knew who made it, I wish it were bigger, too but even so, a nifty piece.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Galexo Found!

Many,many thanks to Todd Hillmer of the great comics archive BARNACLE PRESS at for finding the debut of Galexo, the super hero who replaced Batman in his own newspaper comic strip in April of 1972! We wrote about the elusive character previously here: A quote from that piece--
Although most papers dropped it much sooner, the strip actually limped on until 1974 during which time it took some fascinating turns! Not the least of these was giving up Batman and Robin a year or so before the end but retaining Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson in support of a new hero called GALEXO! As this strip has never been reprinted...its very scarcity has made it intriguing to fans.

Intriguing it has been and I know a number of great researchers have been helping me search from time to time and now here we have it. According to Todd, though, even the newspaper where he found these dropped it within a couple of weeks and yet it continued on for two more years so keep looking! We want more. This just seems so horribly wrong as to be weirdly great! Also seen here is my quick draw attempt (at 2 AM) at drawing the character based on what's seen here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

RIP-Larry Gelbart

I hope this is not the start of another round of favorite celebrity obits but now comes word of the passing of television comedy writer Larry Gelbart, best known in spite of a long and distinguished career, for M*A*S*H*. M*A*S*H* was my absolute favorite TV show for a time in the seventies and while I feel now that it is very much (in spite of its 1950's setting) a relic of its time, it remains a powerful and important work in the development of the medium. With its long hair and liberal sensibilities, to say nothing of the fact that it lasted about three times longer than the actual Korean War, M*A*S*H* was no more about that war than CAPTAIN KANGAROO. What it was about was humanity, heart, hope and the importance of maintaining a sense of humor through nightmarishly tough times. Larry Gelbart made me laugh a lot with his scripts for this and many other shows like OH, GOD and TOOTSIE...but he made me think and he made me care and he was one of the first television entertainment writers to do that and to do it well. Bless you and thank you, sir!

RIP Charles Stumpf

Ben Ohmart reports that Charlie Stumpf has died.
Fresh out of high school in 1978, I conceived the idea of writing a book on those neglected laugh-getters, the Bowery Boys. With a little research (which wasn't always easy in those pre-Internet days) I discovered THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY, a mail order nostalgia fanzine which this issue devoted its entire contents to just exactly that, as written by someone named Charles Stumpf. And it (seen here)was a good one, too! A few years later I was dating a 24 year old girl (I was 26 at the time) who was, strangely enough, a huge Old Time Radio fan. As a gift, I bought each of us a copy of a then-new eight dollar mail order book on Fibber McGee and Molly entitled HEAVENLY DAYS. It was one of the best books I had found on any aspects of OTR and it just happened to be written by Charles Stumpf. (If there's any doubt how good it was, Amazon has dealers offering out of print copies from $125.00 to $800.00+!) Cut to 1990 and I'm playing opposite Ezra Stone and Bob Hastings in a Cincinnati Convention re-creation of the LUX RADIO THEATRE version of George S. Kaufman's YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. Also in the cast is one...Charlie Stumpf!
Realizing where I knew the name from, my wife and I took him to dinner between the rehearsal and the show. He was an absolutely delightful man (as well as a passable actor) with a passion for times past and a detective's instincts for digging for details. He talked extensively that day of a planned book on Walter Tetley that was eventually completed by Bear Manor's Ben Ohmart from Charlie's research. In fact, Ben and Charlie became connected. In looking Charlie up for this piece, I actually found a forgotten post from Ben Ohmart on a board from late 2001 with an early comment from booksteve! It would be about six years later before I myself would have work appearing in some of the books Ben published, something that probably would not have happened had Ben not connected with Charlie.

It's my understanding that he had been quite ill for some time but I don't know any details. Still, condolences to friends and family. Pop culture has lost a truly passionate historian. Say hello to Fibber and Molly, Charlie but whatever you do, don't open that closet door!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

UK Comic Giveaway

"Oh, to be in England..." Longtime readers will no doubt recall my anglophile status. Although I've lived all my life here in Kentucky (well, three years across the river in Ohio but that's another story), I was reading LOOK-IN in the 1970's whilst watching TV britcoms such as NO, HONESTLY (great theme song by James Coburn's then-girlfriend Lyndsey dePaul) and enjoying old Bob Monkhouse and Bernard Cribbens films on the telly. In the eighties I was all about DR. WHO. I even had to adjust my work schedule so as not to miss the Saurday night airings! Dez Skinn's WARRIOR, 2000 AD and DR. WHO WEEKLY (later MONTHLY) were all over my apartment whilst my music ran the gamut from the Beatles (them again) and the Who to Adam and the Ants and Duran Duran. Sherlock Holmes stories, Hitchcock films, Frankie Howerd, Sid James, Hammer films, CARRY ON get the idea!

Well, one thing I've always enjoyed are the old-fashioned British humor comics such as BEANO and DANDY. Now comes word for all of you UK readers (and I know there are quite a few! I check these things!) that the British newspaper, THE GUARDIAN will be distributing free facsimile reproductions of some of these nostalgic comic books. Here's the press release:

Remember how you were with seven classic comics for grown up boys and girls. We are printing an original issue of Jackie, The Beano, Roy of the Rovers, Bunty, The Dandy, Tammy and Whizzer And Chips every day in the Guardian and the Observer from Saturday 12 September.

It all starts on Saturday with the 1975 Valentine's Day special of Jackie, featuring David Essex, Slade, the Cathy and Claire problem page and a Donny Osmond strip story!

The Beano's back on Sunday with the 2000th issue from 1980, featuring a Dennis the Menace front cover and all your favourites: Lord Snooty, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.

On Monday it's the one where Roy Race is shot in Roy of the Rovers from 1981, followed by the Bunty 1972 Summer Special on Tuesday. The Dandy, with the last Korky the Cat cover from 1984 is your comic for Wednesday, while Thursday sees the return of the very first Tammy from 1971. And finally, on Friday, catch up with Sid, Slippy and Shiner in Whizzer and Chips, two comics in one!

They don't make them like this anymore....

Full running order for comics giveaway:

Sat 12 September - Jackie
Sun - Beano
Mon - Roy of the Rovers
Tues - Bunty
Wed - The Dandy
Thu - Tammy
Fri - Whizzer and Chips

Hmmm...I wonder if that store in Cincinnati where I used to buy the British newspapers just for fun still carries 'em?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Paul Levitz

I've found out more good stuff about Paul Levitz today than I ever knew before in the wake of the turned-out-to-be-true rumors that he was being expedited out of his long-running role as the President and Publisher of DC Comics. All I really knew before about the man (with whom my wife and I shared an elevator in Chicago once back
in 1990) was that he had a passion for comics that was nearly unrivaled. From his days as editor of THE COMIC READER to his wonderful LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES and JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA stories and his educational annotations of all of the old LEGION stories in reprints, I enjoyed his work. In recent years, even though I am hardly a fan of the current DCU, I always respected that the man at the top had that passion. Thanks, Paul. I'm worried about what's going to happen now.