Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steve Ditko Week

As most of you hopefully know, I do a brief more-or-less daily column of links over at Craig Yoe's I.T.C.H. blog. Well, IDW, publisher of the YOE Books imprint, is celebrating Craig's recent ART OF DITKO book by declaring this week DITKO WEEK! Every day will offer Ditko fun, surprises, rare art and, yes, my links over at I.T.C.H. . Here's the official IDW Press Release.

Now available in stores, IDW Publishing and its imprint, YOE Books, are proud to announce, The Art of Ditko, a beautifully designed, large format retrospective on the art and influence of Steve Ditko. All this week, the International Team of Comics Historians (ITCH) blog will be celebrating the new book and the creator who inspired it. The ITCH blog will feature daily full-length Ditko stories from the book, plus the regular ITCH feature, “It’s Wacky Wonder Woman Wednesday,” will have a bizarre drawing of Wonder Woman and Hitler by Ditko, and Friday FLICKS will have a special Ditko documentary.

In The Art of Ditko, comics legend Stan Lee provides a glowing introduction, while P. Craig Russell, John Romita, and Jerry Robinson each offer their own insights into this enigmatic and incredible creator. In addition to these one of a kind essays, The Art of Ditko also introduces fans to the very best of Ditko’s rare and striking work. The Art of Ditko is the first book from IDW’s new imprint YOE Books, and is edited and designed by Craig Yoe (Secret Identity).

"I'm excited to show these rare stories that pull back the curtain on how Ditko pushed the comics medium's story telling techniques in radical, revolutionary ways that have been hidden by his steller co-creation of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange," said Yoe. “The Art of Ditko also meticulously reproduces, in color, full page pieces of original Ditko art--including unpublished works--that breathtakingly show off the creator’s powerful artistry.”

A lifelong fan of comics, Ditko began his professional career as a student of Robinson at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1950, and was quickly recognized as a hard working and talented creator. Ditko went on to add his unique style to some of the biggest names in the business, co-creating Spider-Man and Dr. Strange with Lee, and working at both Marvel and DC during his career. In addition to these famous characters, Ditko also heavily influenced the world of comics through his innovative and groundbreaking stories, challenging the accepted boundaries of the medium.

The Art of Ditko combines riveting essays about the legendary creator with some of his most revolutionary, yet little known, works. In his introduction, Lee details his relationship with Ditko and how their[The Art of Ditko cover] co-creating of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange came about. More fascinating essays follow by Robinson, who created the Joker. John Romita described what it was like to follow Ditko on Spider-Man and P. Craig Russell gives careful insight into the task of inking his idol. Drawn during his little known "Innovation Period,” the twenty-eight stories exquisitely presented in full color amply show Ditko as a great auteur experimenting with, twisting, and transforming the comics form.

The Art of Ditko is the groundbreaking first book of the IDW imprint, YOE Books, edited, designed and written by Yoe, winner of both an Eisner Award and the Society of Illustrator's Gold Medal. YOE Books continues with The Complete Milt Gross Comic Book Stories, Volume One, in stores on February 24, 2010. Yoe, co-founder of YOE! Studios and deemed by Vice Magazine “The Indiana Jones of Comics Historians,” is available for interviews.

The Art of Ditko is now available in stores. ISBN 978-1600105425.

The Complete Milt Gross Comic Book Stories, Vol One will be available in stores on February 24th. ISBN 978-1600105463.

Visit to learn more about the company and its top-selling books.

Adam Lambert

I have never seen an episode of AMERICAN IDOL in my life nor have I had a desire to do so. Until recently, my exposure to IDOL runner-up Adam Lambert consisted of his cover-featured interview in one of my final free subscription copies of ROLLING STONE last year. But then there was Brittany Rose. As previously stated, when one's muse says "Try this, you'll like it" what kind of muse would she be if I didn't take her up on it?

Thus we here present Adam Lambert's controversial 2009 AMA performance of "For Your Entertainment," set to a rather tame BDSM theme that he takes to relatively mild extremes for just the barest of moments and yet that was enough to get his name known by those like myself who simply hadn't been paying attention.

He's a gifted singer with a nice, charismatic presence. One can easily see in him the influence of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury and even Elvis Presley. If he can reconstitute all of that into originality he may be around for awhile.

Don't know why this thing embedded only partially but if you hit the little button with the diagonal arrow, you'll get fullscreen and then you can get the whole effect.

The Sub-Mariner is Our Pal!

Another odd item from an early HUMAN TORCH fiche scan.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Carl Burgos' Hot Idea

Carl Burgos was a comic book artist who did journeyman work for several decades in the industry and eventually ended up editing and/or hacking out products like the mid-sixties CAPTAIN ("Split!!") MARVEL and the grade Z Warren mag rip-offs of the 1970's. One thing, however, that can never be taken away from him is that Carl Burgos created THE HUMAN TORCH! Here, from a fiche of that character's first Golden Age issue (oddly, # 2) is the "official" version of how that came to be.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pulps on To Tell the Truth

Saw this over at Kliph's CLASSIC TELEVISION SHOWBIZ ( ) this morning and just had to share. This clip from a 1970 episode of TO TELL THE TRUTH is interesting on several levels.

First of all, the guest is Tony Goodstone who compiled the seminal collection of pulp fiction, THE PULPS (seen here) which was, for many of us youngsters our first exposure to those vaunted volumes of heroes, violence and villains.

Second of all, when the three contestants come out, contestant # 1 accidentally gives an incorrect last name. In order to cover this, contestant # 2 (the REAL guy!)also gives that same incorrect name. Not to be left out, the third guy then follows suit. Host Gary Moore, however, is not amused and has the curtain closed so that the gentlemen can come out again, this time offering the correct name.

Logically, this would immediately invalidate contestant # 1. Contestant # 3 should have been equally invalidated when he quickly stated that HP Lovecraft wrote love stories!

NONE of this had an impact on the generally very intelligent game-playing panelists who, on this late episode included veteran panelists Bill Cullen and Peggy Cass along with pioneering TV newswoman Nancy Dickerson and Larry Blyden, himself the host of the revived WHAT'S MY LINE? in the early 1970's.

Explain then why not one, not two but THREE of these seemingly smart cookies chose contestant # 1 to be the real Tony Goodstone!!!?? Host Moore was himself just incredulous! And the fourth player chose the equally obviously false # 3!!! Hahhahahahahahaha! The truth is stranger than pulp fiction!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Radio Once More

One of my favorite new things is the Internet radio station offered by RADIO ONCE MORE ( which last night debuted rare surviving partial episodes of THE SHADOW along with the announcement that prolific author Martin Grams will be doing a book concentrating on THE SHADOW radio series. Mr. Grams returns to the "airwaves" tomorrow evening for an in-depth discussion of his soon-to-be-released book on THE GREEN HORNET (co-authored with Terry Salomonson), fortuitously timed to be available just before the upcoming Seth Rogan GH movie. When Neal Ellis, Terry Salomonson, et al are not doing their live call-in OTR discussions, the station presents a wonderful selection of radio episodes. Since last evening alone, I've heard JACK BENNY, OUR MISS BROOKS, FIBBER MCGEE AND MOLLY, an AMOS 'N' ANDY guest-starring Peter Lorre and a violent episode of Joel McCrea's TALES OF THE TEXAS RANGERS!Check out RADIO ONCE MORE if you're already an OTR buff or if you just want some good, old-fashioned entertainment like they REALLY don't make anymore!

Raquel as Mae

It's public knowledge that the biggest sex symbol of the 1920's (Mae West) had quite the feud with the biggest sex symbol of the 1960's (Raquel Welch) during the filming of 1970's MYRA BRECKINRIDGE. Yesterday, for the first time in four decades, I watched Ms. Welch's highly publicized TV special of that same year and was surprised to catch Raquel doing a more than passable impression of Ms. West!

That TV special--which also features Raquel and Bob Hope singing (and acting!) Paul McCartney's ROCKY RACCOON--deserves a blogpost unto itself but here's a comparison of the two Maes in 1970.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meet the Fly

Here's a little two page filler/ad from Archie's 1959 first issue of THE DOUBLE LIFE OF PRIVATE STRONG which also seems to be the very first appearance of Simon & Kirby's character, THE FLY, pre-dating his own number one issue. Do flies have stingers?

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Classic" Comic Indeed

I'm not a big fan of the way words like "classic" and "genius" get tossed around so lightly anymore. Latest case in point: Today on AOL (yes, I'm still on AOL. What's it to ya?) they had the intriguing little headline to the left. I, of course, clicked on it, expecting to see news of a possible TV series based on, oh, STEVE CANYON, BUZ SAWYER, THE METAL MEN, SUGAR & SPIKE...

Instead we find that the series in question is for....................THE WALKING DEAD!! Ummm....WTF? I know I haven't kept up with my current comics reading in recent years but is THE WALKING DEAD a classic? I mean, I KNOW it's popular and all and I hear Robert Kirkman is a pretty good writer. I've never actually read anything by him. We actually carried some of the collections of the series when I worked at the bookstore. Still...classic? By what definition?

People, it may be popular, it may be well-done, it may be better than last month's DARK AVENGERS but that doesn't automatically make it a classic! A classic is something that stands the test of time and, if anything, enjoys an even better reputation over the years. THE WALKING DEAD is barely seven years old!

Not only that, this wasn't even news as AMC had, in fact, announced last Summer that they were planning on going to pilot with THE WALKING DEAD. Sigh. Add "news" to the list of words bandied about too easily these days.

Fantastic Four Film Trailer-1994

Okay, so we've all seen the legendary unreleased 1994 FANTASTIC FOUR movie by now but have you seen the trailer? Unlike the film itself, this was actually released on various low-budget videos. My cousin whose dad was in the video distribution business even sent me one at the time. Most of the best parts of the film are here and if you can get past the lack of budget made obvious by the spray paint at star Alex Hyde-White's temples, the not particularly metallic looking Dr. Doom facemask and the overall look of the Thing, it isn't bad!

One stupid part played up here, however, is a scene where the Invisible Woman is about to be tackled and just fades away, leaving the two bad guys to smash into each other. The problem here, of course, is that she's the INVISIBLE Woman...not the Immaterial Woman! With only milliseconds, she doesn't have time to run after she turns invisble so in actuality they should still smash into her. They just wouldn't be able to find her after that.

Count Dracula-1970

This was written up big in the monster mags back in 1970, buddy. I really, REALLY wanted to see it! Christopher Lee in a serious, faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's DRACULA. How was I to know Jesus Franco was a renowned hack? I was eleven! As I would find out later, Franco was certainly a fascinating filmmaker and taken on their own unique terms his films can be very enjoyable but GOOD they aren't...ever.

Outside of Franco, the other problem with COUNT DRACULA is that there was not much of a budget. Lee looks good in his white hair and mustache--completely different than his Hammer portrayals of the Count. He is clearly trying hard to give this his all but the effort is just as clearly in vain.

COUNT DRACULA was never even released around these parts and I finally saw it in the early 1980's in a sliced up TV edit. It is, at its best, sad in that one can only imagine what this could have been with a bigger budget and a better director. Here's a longish scene that makes you want for what never was. Sigh.

Live-Run to the Water

What's the point in having a muse if one doesn't get inspired by her? Thus, here we have the group LIVE, with whom I was only vaguely familar previously, in a cool story-oriented video for a song called "Run to the Water." Apparently LIVE has been Brittany Rose's favorite group for YEARS! I didn't know that! Last night she shared a number of their songs and videos with me and I really enjoyed their sound and their charismatic frontman. On the flip side, I introduced her to THE WHO last night also. We'll see where that goes!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marilyn By Norman Mailer

Time for another random book off the shelf!

The late Norman Mailer is generally considered to have been a brilliant author and, as with most brilliant men, even his lesser works are fascinating. His 1974 MARILYN is one odd bird indeed. It says right there on the cover "a biography." the question is, of who? I know I felt after reading this vaguely creepy book that I had learned perhaps more about Mailer himself than I had about his obsession.

I bought my revised mass market copy of Mailer's 1972 bestselling hardcover in 1978 after finally, at age 19, discovering the joys of THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH and becoming increasingly enamored of all things Monroe. I bought nearly all of the dozen or so biographies and film histories of the cinema's most iconic sex symbol that came out in the wake of this one, from the cheesy and sleazy to the reverential. But Mailer's stood out because it was quite frankly weird!

Yes, it talks about Marilyn and her life but in such strange, poetic and sometimes metaphorical attempts that it's easy to get lost. A look at the acknowledgements page shows Mailer actually admitting taking much of the facts from someone else's book and running excerpts from several others.

No, to me, this was as much a book about Norman Mailer and how he himself was affected by and obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. The wonderful selection of photos includes many of the late actress's final color shots from 1962, some of which to me look better than she had ever looked before. Somehow, in this book more than others, the photos drive home Mailer's obsession.

For this paperback, the author has added a chapter in which he speculates, as do all of the other Marilyn books, inevitably, on the story behind her untimely death. I don't know if that chapter was included when the book was rereleased a decade later in the larger trade paperback form but either way, if you're a Monroe fan, you should read this. If you're a Mailer fan, you MUST read this. If you just want a truly odd reading experience, hit up your local library today for Norman Mailer's MARILYN.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 63

Okay, okay. I'll grant you that, as weird comic book panels go, this is hardly the weirdest WONDER WOMAN ever got. Between the BDSM, implied lesbianism, fetishism, and violence of the forties version, the sexism and bizarre continuity twists of the romance-heavy fifties and early sixties version, the retro version of the mid-sixties, the "Mrs. Peel" era with mentor I Ching and the decades of aimlessness and retoolings that followed, WONDER WOMAN is an absolute motherlode of comic book weirdness. Still, this particular panel made me literally LOL so I thought I'd share.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ebay Alert # 1

Okay, so we've had no donations to this blog in about 7 months. Time to resort to Ebay! Starting small here but if there are any Civil War Buffs out there, here's a 105 year old schoolroom biography of General Robert E Lee (published only 5 years after his death).

RIP-Bart Andrews

Herbie J Pilato (THE BEWITCHED BOOK) reports the passing last month of his fellow pop culture author Bart Andrews at age 64. Andrews' mid-seventies book LUCY & RICKY & FRED & ETHEL--later revised as THE I LOVE LUCY BOOK--was a pioneering TV history book and the template for many other specific TV series-related volumes that followed from other authors. The original version, in mass market, was also one of the earliest TV books (other than the various STAR TREK volumes) in my collection. In the years since, Bart Andrews went on to produce a number of other well-researched books including the hard to find "HOLY MACKEREL!" written with Ahrgus Julliard, a study of the success and later controversy over AMOS 'N' ANDY on radio and television.
Bart Andrews' real name was, in fact, Andrew Ferrerri and he was NOT--as I used to think--the same Bart Andrews who appeared as Superman in Don Glut's SUPERMAN VS THE GORILLA GANG.
For more info, below is a link to the LA TIMES obit.,0,5326905.story

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

King Comics Posters-1968

These were official King Features posters, orderable directly, as you can see, from King Comics. I really hope, therefore, that they looked better than these little images! I mean, seriously! Hal Foster's majestic PRINCE VALIANT looks like a really unattractive, pudgy guy in a skirt failing to climb a rope in gym class! Meanwhile, THE PHANTOM, the venerable Ghost Who Walks, looks suspiciously as if he has just consummated a rather bestial relationship with a tiger! MANDRAKE vaguely recalls Fred Astaire in a cape! Only FLASH GORDON shows more than a passing resemblance to his "real" self and it's still such a cheesy pic I wouldn't want it on MY wall! Can anybody point us to the real posters for comparison?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Groovy Davy Jones Ad!

Encyclopedia of Rock Music on Film

Let's look at yet another random book off the shelf here at the Library. Let me see's one!
Today's title is the rather unimaginative ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ROCK MUSIC ON FILM. This is a 1987 British publication which is no more and no less than its title promises. Linda J. Sandhal offers an alphabetical list of each and every English language film she could find that ties in, one way or another, to rock music. There's not a lot of detail other than a few credits and a capsule review or summarization of most titles but the true fun of this book is in the photos, many of which I have never seen before or since. These include rare ads for such films as THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and Nilsson's SON OF DRACULA as well as odd stills of the likes of Frankie Avalon, Roy Orbison and an unusually gay looking shot of Cliff Richard with Tommy Steele.

Bottom line, as a very basic reference to rock music films and documentaries before 1986, it's better than nothing and every single time I use it, I can't resist looking through the well-chosen illustrations again!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Iron Man's Golden Globe

Is Shellhead's movie up for a Golden Globe Award? Who knows. Haven't really watched the show since the notorious Pia Zadora incident of...what? 1983-ish? Anyway, here's a nifty tie-in cover--completely unaltered-- from the mid-seventies.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beverly Hills Country Club-the Book

It's sad that when the average person thinks of Northern Kentucky's Beverly Hills Supper Club they recall it, if at all, as the site of one of the major fires in 20th Century history. In 1977, just days before my high school graduation,at least one of my fellow graduates lost her parents there. My own future mother-in-law had been there earlier in the evening for dinner but had left before the entertainment began and the fire started. It was a sad, sad night but its memory has supplanted the memories of the decades when the Beverly Hills was one of the great entertainment showcases of the United States.

Author and friend Allen Singer met Earl Clark who had worked in the band at the Beverly Hills during its heady days. Clark had taken hundreds of snapshots of visiting celebs big and small over the years and the two decided to share the best of these in the book seen here, due out next week. If you're from the Greater Cincinnati area, if you're a nightclub act connoisseur, if you just like rare shots of celebrities, you should check out this book!
Below is Allen's text for the video trailer he put together for YouTube, followed by the trailer.

This is a trailer I made for my newest book, Beverly Hills Country Club, being released January 25, 2010.

The club was known by more recent generations as the Beverly Hills Supper Club, in Southgate, KY, which burned down in 1977. A major tragedy, and one of the nation's worst nightclub disasters. However, the club had a long legacy, and was known as the Beverly Hills Country Club in the 1950s. This book features over 200 pictures taken behind the scenes during the 1950s. Movie stars, recording artists, Broadway actors, comedians, even dog acts. Much of the world's greatest talent played at this little club just south of Cincinnati.

Here's the list of names in the photos in order of appearance:

Constance Towers (book cover)
Dorothy Dandridge
Marie McDonald
The Ritz Brothers
Ben Blue, in center, with stooges
Milton Berle
Martha Raye
Frank Fontaine
Rose Marie
The Andrews Sisters
Tony Bennett
Abbe Lane and Xavier Cugat
Jimmy Durante with house musician Andy Jacob

The first music cut came Stravinsky's Firebird symphony, the second was "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" by June Christy. Christy appeared at Beverly Hills, and her photo is in the book. I thought it was a great song and appropriate for the trailer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 62

From the look of this 1957 newspaper strip panel, seems like ol' ALLEY OOP may well have been more Bohemian than one might have thought!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chicago Tribune Cartoonists--1931

This seemed perfect to post over at I.T.C.H. this morning but for some reason, in spite of multiple efforts, I could not make an embedded video work...even though it kept telling me it was working! Aaargh!

Anyway, THIS is cool! It's is a truly fascinating and rare bit of footage to entice the comics historian. To quote from the original YouTube poster: An edited excerpt from the silent 1931 promotional documentary, “From Trees to Tribunes,” focusing on the Tribune company’s stable of cartoonists. At work we can see John T. McCutcheon, Gaar Williams, Carey Orr, Sidney Smith of “The Gumps,” Frank King of “Gasoline Alley,” Frank Willard of “Moon Mullins, Carl Ed of “Harold Teen,” Martin Branner of “Winnie Winkle,” Walter Berndt of “Smitty” and Harold Gray of “Little Orphan Annie.” Noticeably missing from the line-up is Chester Gould’s “Dick Tracy,” which didn’t begin until October of 1931.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kip King in Hospital

Regular readers will undoubtedly remember my talk with the absolutely fascinating and funny actor/comedian/teacher Kip King this past summer. Kip has been in the hospital for several months now with a number of major health issues precipitated by a heart attack but he's doing a little better right now. Prayers, happy thoughts and/or good vibes couldn't hurt if you'd care to send any his way.

Kip was an early member of the extremely influential Southern California improv group the Groundlings (which gave us Elvira, Pee Wee and Phil Hartman) and for years has been a respected improv and acting teacher. His own acting credits saw him working with the likes of Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Chuck Conners, James Franciscus, Betty Hutton and Tom Laughlin. He guested on sitcoms for nearly three decades and was a regular on Flip Wilson's short-lived CHARLIE & CO. His favorite role is as Tailor Smurf on THE SMURFS!

He is also the father of actor Chris Kattan and this past year stole every scene he was in of Chris's three part mini-series, BOLLYWOOD HERO. Fans of this blog will no doubt recall him best from his memorable turn (opposite singer Donna Loren) as one of the Joker's henchmen on the 1966 BATMAN episode in which the Clown Prince of Crime infiltrates a high school!

Hang in there, Kip! Get well soon!

Alley Oop

When classic comic strips are discussed it's rare to hear mention of ALLEY OOP and yet the time-traveling caveman has been around for nearly 80 years now and is still going...if not quite as strong as he used to be.

One of my earliest memories is of my mother reading me the Funnies from the local evening paper every single day. These included PEANUTS, POGO, THE RYATTS, FRECKLES, LI'L ABNER, TUMBLEWEEDS and...ALLEY OOP.

For those unfamiliar with creator V. T. Hamlin's wonderfully drawn strip, it started out as a humorous look at life amongst cave people and dinosaurs in the made up ancient land of Moo. Alley was the POPEYE-like lead character--strong, secure and with a set of values the other cave folk didn't always display. He also had a tamed dino named Dinny.

After a few years, the prehistoric domestic comedy gave way to one of the most imgainative storylines ever in comics when Hamlin introduced a time machine into the mix. Suddenly, Alley Oop was brought to the 1930's. Then Alley ended up in ancient Egypt, the Old West, the Gold Rush, Ancient Rome, feudal Japan, the Moon! Literally, the sky was the limit! In between his amazing adventures, he would even revisit Moo for more unrealistic but hilarious prehistoric foolishness.

Alley was a smart cookie and learned to like modern conveniences and indulgences...particularly cigars. Alley's Moovian girlfriend Ooola was often involved in his historical adventures also and she, too, learned to dress and act more modern. She also learned to shoot!

ALLEY OOP has been reprinted a number of times over the years including the slim 1983 Ken Pierce volume seen here and the lovely and wide 1991 volume from Denis Kitchen. There were lots of comic book reprints throughout the forties and fifties, mostly from Dell. More recently there's been some nice DRAGON LADY PRESS reprint mags in the eighties and an apparently current limited circulation (and sadly out of my price range) ALLEY OOP MAGAZINE which it seems is edited by Frank (Foolbert Sturgeon) Stack. Circa 1960, there was even the popular hit novelty song, ALLEY OOP ("Oop, oop. Oop. Oop oop!"). The few attempts at animation have mostly and surprisingly been rather sad.

After all that, though, ALLEY OOP has survived his creator, his creator's successor Dave Graue and continues to this day as written and drawn now by Carole and Jack Bender. Here's this past Sunday's strip in fact, part of a current storyline in which Alley and Ooola are about to (so it seems anyway) finally get married after the better part of a century. Like I said, one doesn't often hear ALLEY OOP mentioned in the same breath as KRAZY KAT, LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE, BARNEY GOOGLE, WASH TUBBS, DICK TRACY and FLASH GORDON...but as entertaining and well drawn as it is and has been throughout its entire run, I'm at a loss to figure out why not.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Danger Trail Ad-1950

Here from 1950 is a rather elaborate ad for DC's DANGER TRAIL. This was, of course, during the period when all comics publishers were grasping at straws to try to find the next big trend since superheroes were on the outs after WWII. The stories featured "King" Faraday and were for the most part written by Robert Kanigher and drawn in the quickly maturing style of the company's future publisher Carmine Infantino. International intrigue stories did not turn out to be the next big thing, however. EC's William Gaines and Al Feldstein were about to discover the "New Trend" across town.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Anti-Semitism in a Disney Comic??!!--1961

This one surprised me! I was casually flipping through the first LUDWIG VON DRAKE comic book story from 1961 this evening. Huey, Dewey and....oh, you know...that other guy...LOUIE! Yeah, that's it. Anyway, the nephews confront their uncle for their two bits allowance but Donald turns to his houseguest, the supposed expert on everything, Professor Ludwig Von Drake for advice on rebuffing them. As you can see, DD says in no uncertain or retouched terms to "chew 'em down." Now, I checked the Web and found no trace of an expression using those exact words but there IS, of course, a classically ant-Semitic expression which fits contextually and only requires the slightest spelling change in "chew."

Now, I'm not saying the writer was anti-Semitic....or even that Disney was although that has been rumored. I'm not even saying I was all that offended in spite of being in a part Jewish family. One has to see it in context. It's just interesting how casually--like the African-American stereotypes--things like this were tossed around in "wholesome" comics. They obviously knew it was bad or they wouldn't have changed the "J" to a "ch" so why leave it in at all?

1961 was certainly a different time. "Dell Comics are good comics," but maybe NOT as good as they thought they were.

Free "Atom Sub"-1959

Hard to believe but apparently back in the increasingly ancient year in which I was born, one could actually get a free "Atom Sub" in boxes of Kellogg's Rice Krispies at breakfast! And it ran on baking powder yet! Did the government know about this?

RIP-Chauncey 1992-2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Our cat Chauncey seems to be slowly dying.

The story we tell is that our nearly 18 year old cat's full name is "Geoffery Chauncer Thompson", so-called because he has kind of a "Canterbury" Tale...whatever that is. (You don't need to tell me it was "Chaucer," not "Chauncer" either. I worked in a bookstore for 27 years. I know this in spite of the punny name story) In reality, when we received him as a post-miscarriage gift back in 1992, we named him after the running gag character on ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE who was always told, "There's something you don't see every day, Chauncey." He had great big ears as a kitten and, as we often noted, looked an awful lot like an ocelot.

Just since yesterday, he has become lethargic, won't eat and barely sips water. He uncharacteristically allowed himself to be held for a long while this morning but then made his way awkwardly back up to the bathroom where he fluffed up a roll of Charmin and plopped on the plush white carpet and has remained ever since. He seems in no pain at all...simply so very, very tired. So we check on him a lot, tell him we love him and let him sleep.

Chauncey survived a feline leukemia scare early on in which the vet informed us IN THE LOBBY that he could "put him down" that afternoon. We insisted on a second opinion which thankfully showed nothing. The vet was fired for his behavior to us when his own receptionist complained.

As a strictly indoor cat, he scared us on a few occasions when he got out back when we lived out in the suburbs. I once found him hiding behind a thornbush and had to dive into the thorns to grab him. It was worth it.

Overall, he has led a charmed life. When he was first offered to us, I asked the friend who had him what his name was and she said, "His name will be history if you don't take him!" And so it has been in our family.

For now, he's still with us but unless he totally pulls out yet another life at the last minute, I don't think it will be long.

Loni Anderson-1970?

Still going through the stack of movie mags from 1970 sent to me by Ace Researcher Derek Tague over the holidays (from which one can plainly ascertain that the hottest acts of that groovy year included Lawrence Welk, the Lennon Sisters and Johnny Cash...) I ran across this wig ad in the back. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that future WKRP sexpot Loni Anderson in the upper right hand pic?

My wife thinks she recognizes a few of these other faces, too, but can't quite place them. Anyone out there?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

On Facebook--Repost

Hey, today's my birthday. Do me a favor and go to YouTube to watch Tracy Newman and Charlotte Dean sing ON FACEBOOK. I posted this the other day when they were trying for 1000 views and only had 850. Well, now they only have 890. HUH?And that's with at least a couple other blogs picking up on it! Come on, people. You didn't believe me? What? I'm not kidding when I say it's a cool, funny song. If you DO like it, please repost again and remember, don't embed! I'm pretty sure it only counts when it's actually seen ON YouTube. Just link to it.

Lucille Ball Comic Strip Bio-1950

This is from the FANCY PANTS issue of DC's FEATURE FILMS, a series that adapted movies into comic book format. This three page biography of Lucy appeared at a time when the redheaded actress was in the final months of her radio series, MY FAVORITE HUSBAND co-starring Richard Denning (later the Governor of Hawaii on TV's HAWAII 5-0). The writers had no way of knowing what kind of fame was waiting just around the corner for her. Before long, everybody LOVED Lucy!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Electroman Ad-1977

From the earliest days of computer electronics for home use comes Ideal's ELECTROMAN. I was 18 when he came out but somehow have no memory of this one at all. Below the pic is a nice update from someone who does if you're interested.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Bernie Wrightson at Wonderfest-2008

Harlan Ellison and Robin Williams on L. Ron Hubbard

This clip is all over the Net but I was unable to come up with anything explaining what circumstances led to this seemingly bizarre pairing. Still, anything Harlan says is worth listening to and the unusually quiet Williams seems to know that, too!

Jason King

JASON KING starred actor Peter Wyngarde in a continuation of his DEPARTMENT S role as the title character. It never aired here and I've never been able to find a single episode but I've always felt it looked cool. In Marvel's X-MEN of just a few years later, "Jason Wyngarde" (secretly Mastermind) appeared looking much like Peter in this series.

Dick Tracy and Joe Jitsu

Politically incorrect but in the early sixties, one of my favorite cartoon series.

Chuck Berry and Trini Lopez-circa 1963

Armored Bikini Girl!

So apparently there was a point in early 1974 when Gil Kane had this model done up in a silvery metal bra with a red...whatever you call it tied around her waist. She was a good model maybe but perhaps not cheap so foxy Ol' Gil figured to get the best possible use out of her poses by recycling them all year long at Marvel! Around March she appears on THOR 223 as drawn by Kane and inked by Frank Giacoia (with her hair apparently miscolored as blonde)and that very same month, by Gil with Ralph Reese, she adorns the THONGOR cover of CREATURES ON THE LOOSE. Three months later, "Sugar" Kane trots her out again for issue 15 of KULL THE DESTROYER. These are just the first three I saw! For all I know, he may have used her again that year! Anyone else seen her around?