Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photography Fans Unite!

I know a lot of you enjoy my BRITTANY ROSE & ME photography site so maybe you can help out here. One of MY personal favorite photographers is a young lady from upper Ohio named Anna Ásfríðr whom I met through FACEBOOK. You see half a dozen samples of her work here (with her permission). Anna is obsessed with photography as an art form! Her work can be found on FACEBOOK and also on DEVIANT ART. She may be young but she has a sharp eye for design, color, artistic quality and a great affinity for her models...including herself. (Thevery photogenic model with the glasses is Anna).

In this economy, Anna is trying to make her own way by transforming her art into her vocation. The problem is that within the past week, her camera completely and utterly died. Not the batteries--the camera!

A Camera Replacement Fund has been set up and donations are being accepted...slowly. In the meantime this truly talented artist is losing her mind with boredom and having to cancel planned shoots!

Anna has generously offered to do a small amount of free commission work (within reason) for contributors. Certainly there are worthier causes in today's society but the way things are these days, we all need to stick together. So if you like good photography or just cute models, there will be a lot more from Anna but only IF she can get enough to replace her camera. If you can, please consider contributing.
On behalf of myself and Anna, thanks!

Please mention Booksteve's Library if you contribute.

The paypal address is

All Man-1967

Here's a nifty find! A generous reader sent it to me thinking it might be Wally Wood. Clearly it is not. What it is, however, is kinda cool! This naught superhero parody, from 1967, is ALL MAN, as originally published in the so-called "men's sweat" mag of that name. My first thought was that ALL MAN was one of the many such mags published by Goodman's Magazine Management company as a sort of slutty sister company to Marvel Comics but apparently this was from a different but similar company. Not sure but I think the art is by Syd Shores. A little net-searching reveals that the former CAPTAIN AMERICA artist (and later Wally Wood studio mate) did quite a bit of work--mostly painted covers--for such mags throughout the sixties.

Special thanks to Harris Smith for this. Check out his blog over at

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Real Fact Comics Quiz

Here's a cute--if not particularly tough--visual superhero and other quiz from an issue of National's mid-1940's title REAL FACT COMICS. Just in case you can't get the answers (and I couldn't for the final panel), the answers follow.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Playboy Cover to Cover-The Fifties

Took a bunch of old video game manuals to the local Half-Price Books yesterday to sell so we had a little money to work with. We also had a 50 % off one item coupon. Rene picked up some opera CD’s. David got an Artemis Fowl book. Bree took my recommendation on my all-time favorite book—FAHRENHEIT 451.

Me? I picked up LENNON & McCARTNEY TOGETHER ALONE, a look at the solo years of the most successful songwriting team of all time (even though technically most of their Beatles-era songs were written solo anyway). I also got Angela Bowie’s 1993 memoir which jumped right out at me and seemed highly appropriate as Ziggy Stardust’s ex actually friended me on Facebook earlier in the day yesterday!

Most interesting, though, was the box set of PLAYBOY-THE 50’S. Originally $100.00, marked down to $50.00 and I had the aforementioned 50% off coupon! Very similar to the ROLLING STONE set I purchased a few years ago (which didn’t work for me until I got my MAC!), the set comes with a commemorative history book on Hef and his creation of the seminal mainstream men’s magazine. Even more fun is a facsimile reprint of the original first issue with the Marilyn Monroe centerfold. I haven’t checked but hopefully there’s SOMETHING about this magazine that shows it’s NOT the original or else I’m sure these are all going to end up on EBay!

The CD offers what the box called “the First Decade” of issues. Badly worded, there. Since the mag started at the end of 1953 and the collection here only goes to the end of 1959, these are, in fact, all the issues from the first decade in which the mag was published but hardly a decade of issues!

This was, of course, the era when you really COULD say you read PLAYBOY for the articles as much as anything else. With the easily searchable database, I’ve already discovered nice articles about Tom Lehrer, Steve Allen, Brother Theodore and Harvey Kurtzman! All of the great Jack Cole’s cartoons are here as well as lots of silly grown-up stuff by future children’s book author Shel Silverstein. There’s even the original, serialized version of Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451! Lots more from Ray, also, along with TWILIGHT ZONE authors Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont as well as many others I haven’t gotten to, yet.

As for the girls, that’s the funny part! Looking at these early issues now, one finds it hard to believe they were so controversial in their day. It’s like looking at the Beatles on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW and saying, “What long hair?”

In any given issue there are only a handful of naughty pics and then not nearly as naughty as many of today’s cable shows such as TRUE BLOOD or SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL. There’s some famous faces including Bettie Page and Tina Louise and some lovely pinup shots but frankly I found the ads more fun!

Tons of ads for what Hef perceived as the PLAYBOY ideal man’s desires—jazz music, tobacco, alcohol, colognes, hats, socks, ties, etc. Lots of writing from him also on his original “Playboy Philosophy.” All in all as much of an enjoyable history lesson as the previously mentioned ROLLING STONE set was about the next generation. Love him or hate him as the aged cartoon character he has become in recent years, Hugh Hefner made an important difference in the 20th Century and that’s more than most people can say.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

RIP-Dick Giordano

I never met Dick Giordano but I walked past him at a Con one time about two decades back. I was so in awe that it was still a memorable moment. Last week, word filtered onto the Net that Mr. Giordano was not doing well and now word comes that he has left us.

I first became aware of Dick Giordano when he became a DC editor in the mid-sixties. Dick was actually kind enough to introduce himself to the fans in a little half page yellow box so I actually knew his name before I knew other DC editors who preferred to sign the generic "Editor" to their letters pages (which were probably not really written by them at all). Giordano had a hands on approach and he brought with him from Charlton a number of creators who would go on to remake the industry at the time...most notably perhaps, Jim Aparo.

At Charlton, Dick had started out as a rather staid penciller back in the 1950's, his best known title being SARGE STEEL, about a cop/spy with a steel hand (whom he revived a number of times at DC years later). Over the years, though, he drew everything and drew it well. By the 1960's he had taken over the editorship of Charlton's attempt at jumping on the Batmania/superhero revival bandwagon and thus shepherded Steve Ditko's revived CAPTAIN ATOM, BLUE BEETLE, QUESTION and the other characters who would one day lead to Alan Moore's WATCHMEN.

At some fortuitous point, Dick returned to the art table while at DC and teamed with sixties wunderkind Neal Adams for a memorable series of BATMAN stories. The pair would work together many times for many publishers as well as at their own Continuity Associates.

But Dick did not relegate himself to inking. He pencilled many memorable stories himself and his own BATMAN became a favorite. He also did the legendary unfinished (until decades later!) DRACULA adaptation with Roy Thomas at Marvel.

After technically retiring, Dick would keep his brushes wet with a little work from time to time working on THE PHANTOM and making guest appearances as a revered veteran working on various international titles.

Dick Giordano drew a unique type of comic book realism. His superhero women were not the supercute, overly busty fanboy favorites. He didn't draw girls--he drew adults. He drew women who looked like women and looked genuinely heroic. He drew city scenes that looked more like real cities than anyone since Will Eisner (with the possible exception of the late Marshall Rogers). He drew a BATMAN who was a sane grown-up who would save me if I needed saving and do so for all the right reasons. He drew MY BATMAN.

Thank you, Mr. Giordano. I should have said it to you at that Con twenty years ago. Thank you so much.

Rest in Peace.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brand New Adam West Promo

Adam himself debuted this on YouTube and Facebook today!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Patty and Cathy Lane for Social Security

This doesn't seem to be new but I hadn't seen it until Scott Shaw! posted it on Facebook this afternoon. In a way, it plays up the passage of time but in another it is such a clever idea! A very brief PATTY DUKE SHOW "reunion" for Social Security! It's always good to see Patty and quite frankly, like many fanboys and geeks, I always liked Cathy Lane better so here is a rare look at the two cousins today!

Frank Robbins, Batman and Mr. Morse

Frank Robbins wrote some exciting stories for his long-running, Caniffesque comic strip, JOHNNY HAZARD. Someone at DC Comics liked them enough to make Robbins the main artist on BATMAN and THE FLASH in the late sixties and the result was…well…weird!

Like Bob Haney, Robbins was never one to let a little thing like continuity stand in the way of what he considered a good story. Thus we were regularly introduced to sweeping, life-changing plot points that were never referenced again. We meet Bruce Wayne’s apparently real wife, Barry Allen’s life-long best friend, Batman’s tailor (who sews his labels in the back of the Caped Crusader’s costumes) and the fellow we’re discussing today…Mr. Morse.

Mr. Morse—no first name g

iven—appeared only once to the best of my knowledge and that was in 1969’s DETECTIVE COMICS # 386. It is, however, strongly implied in the story STAND-IN FOR MURDER that Mr. Morse had been a major part of Bruce Wayne’s life up until this story…even though we had never seen or heard of him before.

The first unlikely event in this story is that we see Bruce Wayne arriving at Gotham Airfield to—“as a civic gesture”—test pilot a new,

top-secret VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) vehicle. Can’t you just see the Air Force guys as they attempted to figure out who to choose to fly the thing? “Hmmm…how about that millionaire over in Gotham City?” Ooooooookay…

All goes well with the test flight but when the vehicle lands, it seems Bruce Wayne is nowhere to be found! JEEPERS! Commissioner Gordon tries and fails to contact Batman to help with the mystery. Cut to the flashback!

Earlier that morning we see Dick Grayson heading off to school leaving Bruce lounging around Wayne Manor in his smoking jacket...smoking! A pipe! The ever-helpful Alfred brings in the “Batman mail” that had been picked up the previous evening at police headquarters and coincidentally Brucie open up one with a tip to a morning bank robbery happening in exactly 30 minutes. Alfred reminds him (again with only 30 minutes to go!?) that he’s supposed to be flying that VTOL. “This is another of those special occasions I HAVE to be in TWO places at the SAME time! Only one way to cope with it—,” says Mr. Wayne.

Clearly having done this before, Alfred agrees to make “the necessary call.” In a matter of minutes, the doorbell rings and “Bruce Wayne” arrives. The new arrival alludes to “the usual facial transformation” and is assured by Alfred—who addresses him as Mr. Morse at this point—that he has made himself up “with the usual perfection.” Again, clearly they have gone through this before!

Inquiring as to what capacity he has to sub for Bruce Wayne “this time,” he is unfazed to hear that it’s flying the top secret plane!! Apparently Mr. Morse was a man of many talents. He sets off for the airport.

Meanwhile Batman is captured by the run-of-the-mill bank robbers with ridiculous ease and tear gassed. While all of this is going on elsewhere, the unfortunate Mr. Morse is hijacked by yet another Bruce Wayne doppelganger and sent off the dock into the ocean in a truck! To his death!

It seems that the new “Wayne” is a rich bad guy who wants revenge on Bruce and toward that end has made an exact duplicate of the top-secret VTOL plane. He steals the original (while disguised as Bruce) and sends the remote controlled substitute back to the airfield, thus making it look as though Bruce Wayne had disappeared!

Needless to say, Batman eventually escapes from the bank robbers and is a bit upset (although not visibly much) that “that poor stand-in” was missing and

that everyone was convinced it WAS Bruce Wayne. He manages to track down the bad guy in a rather convoluted manner and defeats him fairly easily. He a

pparently tells them where he dumped the body and we see the

Commissioner bemoaning his friend’s fate only to have Batman spout out rather matter-of-factly, “Prepare for a shock, Commissioner. The victim ISN’T Bruce Wayne. Just phoned Wayne--He’s quite alive, b

ut in bed with a bad head cold. He didn’t want to disappoint the city council so he hired a stand-in! Poor guy took it for him—all the way!” The end. Seriously, that’s the end. Can’t you just see Batman and Gordon after that having a good laugh at poor Mr. Morse’s extent?

So we know that Bruce had used a corporate double (perhaps more than one) on a number of occasions, that he was kept available on a moment’s notice, that he needed make-up to look the part and that he was able to fly planes. RIP Mister Morse—we hardly knew ye.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Huck Hound Club-1961

I was two in 1961 and my world pretty much revolved around Hanna-Barbera for much of that and several subsequent years. I was too young to really care about this club, however but I do recall the cereal box ads for it at the breakfast table.

What the deal is with the word balloons here I don't know. It's long been accepted that segmented balloons such as these denote whispering and I really doubt that's what they were trying to get across.

Note also how Yogi Bear is featured as prominently as Huck and, in fact, they refer to the club as "our" club. Originally a back-up star on THE HUCKELBERRY HOUND SHOW, Yogi's popularity eventually eclipsed the blue dog's and he ended up with his own show, his own cereal and tons of his own merchandising!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Comic Convention Past-1975-1977

Funny how memory plays tricks on you isn’t it? Even a spooky memory like mine. I’ve written here before about some of the earliest comic books conventions I attended and I was convinced that what I said was correct. Turns out it was close! I just ran across a list I made with basic info about these early Cons…as they happened!! From early 1975 through late 1977 I attended 9 comic book conventions and here they are! Again, some (not all) of this info contradicts previously published reports on this site but I have every reason to believe that THIS is the accurate info this time!

1-I had been reading about Cons for a few years by the time Cincinnati got one of its own in January of 1975. That was, as I remembered, THE 1ST ANNUAL CINCINNATI COMIC CONVENTION. Sponsored by Cy and Andy Voris of the lo

ng gone Yellow Kid Comics Shoppe. It was held at the venerable Netherland Hilton in downtown Cincy and cost a buck and a quarter to get in. I spent $28. I recalled before the guests I saw there but I was incorrect. See # 4.

2-THE MID-AMERICA COMIC CONVENTION was sponsored by the owners of Northern Kentucky’s only comic book shop, The Northern Kentucky Bookstore. It debuted on a cold March day still in 1975 at a Holiday Inn within waking distance of my house so I walked. It was a two day con with an extra-large dealers room and movies but no guests. Cost to get in--$2.00. I went both days.

3-THE 1975 CLEVELAND COMIC-CON was held at the Sheraton Hilton in August of that same year and somehow I talked my parents into taking me to the opposite end of the state on a Greyhound bu

s! Sponsored by Vladimir Swyrinsky, this was my first real Con! I saw or met lots of celebs including Cleveland area resident Tony Isabella who would,

in the Internet age, actually become a friend! It rained torrentially the whole weekend! Admission was $4.00 a day and I spent $75. I also got to enjoy watching STAR TREK on a giant screen in a room full of Trekkies for the first time and saw the closed circuit TV debut of SPACE: 1999.

4-THE 2ND ANNUAL CINCINNATI COMIC CONVENTION was back at the Netherland Hilton in January of 1976! I believe I wrote previously that there WAS no 2nd Annual one! In my mind, somehow I mixed the two together. Easy enough, I suppose, as this one was al

so sponsored by the same folks, at the same hotel, for the same price. The difference was that this one had some good guests including Frank Brunner (whom I never saw once somehow) and super-hot writer Steve Gerber as well as Mary Skrenes (the latter two then doing OMEGA THE UNKNOWN for Marvel) and fan-turned-pro Marty “Pesky” Pasko. Th

em I saw. The guests were in this intimate little room with just room for a small handful of folks and I managed to be one. Much of the talk was about the then topical concept of unions for comic book artists. Again, I spent about 75 bucks.

5-A couple of months later in April, THE MID-AMERICA COMIC CONVENTION II was held at a new venue at a Holiday Inn North of Cincinnati. I had to take a bus and then a cab to get there. There was very little publicity this time and a small dealers room where I spent only 30 bucks again. The sponsor was again the Northern Kentucky Bookstore, which soon afterwards went out of business. Admission for each of two days was a buck. I only went on Saturday, as it was so hard to get to in the first place.

6-OMNICON was next in July! The biggest yet! This was the nigh-legendary con in Louisville co-sponsored by super fan Don Rosa (yes, THAT Don Rosa!). It was July of the Bicentennial year and once again my parents and I bussed it, this time for all three days. Admission was $7.00. I spent $60. It said Louisville but in actuality it was outside of town at the Convention Center Ramada Inn (very near where I would spend a week in training 20 years later when working at Waldenbooks!). I think Frank Brunner was there, also. I know he did the Con book cover. I also know that if he WAS there, I missed him again. I was wearing my blue, short-sleeved STAR TREK shirt when I met DeForrest Kelly, though--the first of many STAR TREK actors I would meet over the years. I stood next

to him while a local TV news program interviewed him. That evening at the hotel, I watched the interview on the news with my parents. Many years in the future, I discovered that my Trekkie wife had also been at OMNICON but we had not yet been fated to meet.

7-THE COLUMBUS COMIC BOOK CONVENTION is one that I would have sworn took place a few years later and that’s what I said when I wrote about it later. I took my first ever Greyhound trip to get to it in downtown Columbus, Ohio, a few blocks away from the bus station. This is where I met Jim Steranko and Bob Layton and Mike Nasser who, three decades later, would become a close friend through the Internet as Michael Netzer. I only spent thirty again, though, and had read everything I got by the time I got home that evening after my second two hour bus ride of the day!

8-In the summer of 1977, I attended the biggest comic book convention of its day. That year Con pioneer

Phil Seuling was forced by circumstance (a political convention if I recall correctly) to hold his annual Fourth of July NYC show out of town. Thus, I attended the 10TH ANNUAL NEW YORK COMIC ART CONVENTION…but it was in Philadelphia! Once again, I talked my parents into a long Greyhound trip to the Philly Sheraton. Not sure what they did the whole time but I spent three days roaming the Con floors where I saw Barry Windsor-Smith, Frank Thorne (now a Facebook friend, also), Seuling himself and a large number of other big name comics creators that at that time I did not recognize. John Stanley and Berni Wrightson were the guests of honor. At that point I didn’t care about Stanley (now a favorite) and it would be 32 more years before I’d actually see Berni(e) and that was at last year’s Mid-Ohio Con. Frank Brunner was probably there, also! In my memory, the highlight was finding an entire room full of paintings from Jeff (now Catherine) Jones. All of that beautiful work that was later published in THE STUDIO and THE ART OF JEFFREY JONES was even better in its original form! Catherine would also become a friend in recent times and, in fact, quotes me on her website! Tickets for this one were a whopping ten bucks and for the first time I spent more than one hundred dollars.

9-The last comic book convention I attended in my eighteenth year was rather anti-climactic (as anything might be after the previous one). As with the earlier Columbus show, I too a solo Greyound trip to Dayton, Ohio, only an hour away, for THE DAYTON COMIC BOOK CONVENTION. Sponsored by downtown Dayton’s Dragon’s Lair, this was at the Convention Center and had received TV coverage even as far south as Cincinnati. Admission was a dollar and I was back to spending only around thirty, this time mostly on newer stuff.

In future years there would be mall shows, pre-packaged shows, STAR TREK Cons, OTR Cons, a bunch more local hotel shows, a canceled Indianapolis Con, two Chicago Cons, return trips to Dayton and Columbus and eventually, the San Diego Comic Con! But...this is where the original chronicle of my Comic Book Conventional life ends.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tex Blaisdell on To Tell the Truth-1970

Saw this without fanfare from Kliph over at CLASSIC TELEVISION SHOWBIZ ( )and thought some of you might appreciate it, also. Comic artist Tex Blaisdell was, at the time, the artist on LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE. Later, he became known for inking Curt Swan at DC on SUPERMAN.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 67

From an old issue of WONDERWORLD COMICS--Lazy colorist or what happens when a couple members of Blue Man Group imbibe a tad too much?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Raquel Welch Pillow-1971

"Livens up party when everyone sees and feels this..." OOOOOOKay! I'm betting this was not an approved marketing concept by the actress herself who by the early seventies was desperately trying to get people to take her seriously as an actress!

RIP-Fess Parker

To me he was always TV's DANIEL BOONE. Disney's DAVY CROCKETT was before my time but the next county over from me is Boone County so we always noticed anything to do with ol' Dan'l! After that series ended at the end of the sixties, Parker spent a considerable amount of time, money and effort attempting to re-create a Disney-styled theme park here in the Commonwealth. The idea popped up in the news off and on for what seemed like decades and it one point I seem to recall a ground-breaking ceremony even but nothing ever seems to have come of it. Certainly nothing really like Disneyland which FessParker's Davy helped popularize with its Frontierland.
That said, one of the oldest surviving (but in no shape to be considered truly collectible) remnants of my childhood is the official Walt Disney Davy Crockett fringed jacket seen here. Undoubtedly left over from the perhaps overproduced tie-in line of a decade earlier, there is a photo of me wearing this in 1965 (complete with a coonskin cap I no longer have).

Important Cincy OTR Con Update!!

Dan Hughes passes along the info that the venue for this year's convention has been changed with less than two months to go! Hopefully any of you who already made reservations can switch them as this new hotel is on the opposite side of town entirely! If I'm remembering correctly, I attended a couple of business seminars there in recent years (when I was still employed) and it's a nice hotel but nowhere near the area the Convention has been located for the past two decades.

IMPORTANT UPDATE - NEW HOTEL - The hotel for this year's convention has been changed!  Same dates and times, but the venue is now the Crowne Plaza at 3901 Pfeiffer Road, Exit 15 off I-71.  Rooms $89 single or double, reservation telephone number 513-793-4500. 

Aurora Prehistoric Scenes Art

Not sure who did this art but isn't it good? I had heard somewhere that it was Russ Heath but the faces look wrong to me. I know Dave Cockrum did some early behind the scenes work but doesn't look like his distinctive stle either. At least one website credits a "B. Brown for some of the early seventies PREHISTORIC SCENES art. Comics artist Bob Brown? Doesn't look too much like his either. Anyway, here, from my own recently discovered instruction sheets (which is all I have. No more models. Traded them to Terry Harman for comics in 1976).

RIP-Alex Chilton

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wisconsin Trivia!

The time is coming again! Stay tuned for more information (unless you're in Wisconsin in which case you probably already know what I'm talking about!) One month to go!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story

Here's one of the books that I worked on a little behind the scenes this past year, now available. I was only minimally familiar with Milt Gross before this book and now he's a favorite! Since I worked on it, I'm not going to review it but instead just share IDW's press release from last week:

IDW and YOE Books Launch The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story

Mar 10th, 2010

"An absolute must-have" -

Large format retrospective showcases life and works of groundbreaking creator, available today

San Diego, CA (March 10, 2010) - "Milt Gross is 'one of the best things to ever happen to comic strips,' proclaims comics historian Bill Blackbeard." With his most recent book, famed creator Craig Yoe (Secret Identity) and IDW Publishing prove just that. The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story, which Yoe meticulously compiled from original art, rare and vintage comics, research and interviews, offers fans unique insight into this historic creator, topped off with an introduction by Gross's son, Herb, and a FOLD-INtroduction by MAD Magazine's Al Jaffe. IDW and Yoe are proud to offer this book just in time for Gross's 115th birthday.

Available in comic stores today and book stores next week, The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story is a testament to Gross's influence on both comics and pop culture, as one of the first mainstream Jewish cartoonists and a pioneer of comic strips, graphic novels, animation and more. Throughout his incredible career, Gross created comic strips and cartoons, wrote screenplays and novels, and created fine art. Gross even crossed into Hollywood, working with Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford, and designing sets for movies featuring Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton and others.

"Milt Gross is the number one, most hilarious comic book artist," said Yoe. "And his art style is as modern as tomorrow. It's a thrill to present this wacky, bizarre, genius material."

The beautifully designed book collects the complete comic book stories of this comic genius, culled from rare, impossible to track down comic books of the '40s, which have been painstakingly restored, plus an in-depth look at Gross's life. At 354 pages, called The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story "massive" and "an absolute must-have."

The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story is the latest great book from 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. Coming next from YOE Books is Krazy & Ignatz in Tiger Tea, presenting George Herriman at his best in his only full-length "Krazy & Ignatz" story, available in stores on March 17th. Vice Magazine has deemed Yoe "The Indiana Jones of Comics Historians."

Today, BOING_BOING gave the book it's seal of approval, also!

Neal Adams Article-1979

With perenniel fan favorite comics artist Neal Adams working on an upcoming BATMAN project for the first time in ages, let's look back to 1979 and a CINCINNATI ENQUIRER article about how he was then giving up comics for advertising.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Simon & Kirby Ad

Bob Kane may have gotten his cute little signature box and impressed the girls for three decades. Siegel and Shuster even got a byline until they (rightfully) sued the hand that fed them. As far as I know neither of them ever got their own house ad, though, like this cool early 1940's one for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks # 60

In the early to mid-sixties, there existed briefly a genre of films that tended to only play in the South. Although they ostensibly had plots, said “plots” were just an expendable frame for a whole bunch of music video-style performances from country music stars of the era.

Perhaps the most notable example of this genre is HILLBILLIES IN A HAUNTED HOUSE which featured Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney and John Carradine. Others included FORTY ACRE FEUD and LAS VEGAS HILLBILLYS. Then there was the one we’re discussing today, SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR.

I’m not a big country music fan but even for me there’s a certain joy in watching these legendary performers miming their big hits. Little Jimmy Dickens is great here and Sonny James (who seemed to be in most of these pictures) was always

impressive. Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys seem a little put out but do a fine version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

TV comic Arnold Stang (voice of TOP CAT) co-stars with Pamela Hayes, for whom this was her only IMDB credit! The real attraction with this picture for non-country fans, however, is the Bowery Boys! That’s right. Ten years after he retired, Leo Gorcey teams up again with Huntz Hall, creatively named “Leo” and “Huntz” but clearly playing Slip and Satch, hats and all. Their comedy schtick at the beginning and between numbers throughout seems largely unscripted (and thus unfunny) but it’s still so good to see them again…in color yet! The years hadn’t been that kind to Leo but the chemistry with Huntz was still there.

Recently released on DVD finally, SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR isn’t much but it is well worth it for fans of this odd genre, classic country or the Bowery Boys.

When HEE HAW came along a couple of years later on television, they stopped making this type of film and many of these Grand OlOpry veterans became semi-regulars there instead. Huntz and Leo would team again for a TV documentary and a later cameo in THE PHYNX, made just before Gorcey’s death. SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR is literally a movie of which it can be said, “They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore,”

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bogie's Final Film

Surprise! One of my Facebook friends reminded me that Humphrey Bogart's final film was on TCM this morning so guess what I updated for the first time since November?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Archie Wins the Maggie Award-1958

Pattinase Guest Review

I was recently asked to write a guest book review for a site called PATTINASE and its series f reviews of "forgotten" books. After a few days of brain-wracking to determine exactly what forgotten book might best exemplify my interests in comics, television, the sixties, etc, I settled on BATMAN VS. THREE VILLAINS OF DOOM by Bill Woolfolk as "Winston Lyon." The review went up today. Check it out and then check out all the other literary goodness on the blog while you're there!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Back in January, Brittany Rose and I collaborated on an ambitious attempt at a theme photo shoot based around an abused woman's vengeance on her attacker. It was a surprisingly fun shoot when one considers the subject matter. Afterwards, I took the more than 200 photos we took that day and started piecing them together into a comic book-like form using various programs on my PC. That would be the PC that died at the beginning of February before the project was very far along, leaving me thinking for a month that I had lost every single one of those pictures. Well, to be fair, about halfway through the month it occurred to me I had given BR a disk with all of the originals. Whew! Still, the work I had done on them had been lost, as had the programs I had done it with!

Now that it's all back, the moment seems passed and the project left unfinished. Today over at BRITTANY ROSE & ME, however, I run a handful of shots from various stages of the aborted production. Yes, yes....the glasses. I know, I know...we did some shots with and some without the glasses. Still, I think it's some of my best work so if you haven't checked out Brittany Rose lately, check her today at to see a never before seen side of my wonderful muse!

Bat Lite-1966

Nothing intrinsically odd about this. Fairly clever marketing, in fact--miniature bat-signals! At three for five bucks, you and your friends can be scaring your sisters in the bathroom and flashing coded bat-messages until the D batteries go dead!

What got my attention, however, was the company that no doubt raked in moolah for these unofficial tie-ins! GRAYSON Productions! A wholly owned subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, perhaps? Looks like the boy wonder decided to exploit the whole bat craze while the exploiting was good! Holy cash-ins, Caped Crusader!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Green Grass and High Tides-the Outlaws

One of my all-time favorite guitar songs, this Southern Rock 10 minute monster used to be a staple on FM radio back in the seventies and eighties but I haven't heard it now in more than twenty years (except on the Greatest Hits CD I actually bought a few years ago just to hear it again. Hey, the rest of their stuff was good, too! Who knew?) Apparently the song was featured as the killer closer in something called "Rock Band" in recent years. Eh. Perhaps because of that, it got its own Wikipedia page, though, where you can read more about it here:

Dan DeCarlo and George Gladir-1999

The co-creators of SABRINA-THE TEENAGE WITCH, George Gladir and the great Archie artist, Dan DeCarlo, briefly taped at 1999's Wondercon.

Go Go Pogo-Walt Kelly

Here's a nice, bouncy, visual tribute to the great cartoonist Walt Kelly and his immortal creation, POGO, set to the tune of Kelly singing his own legendary song!

Pistols 'N' Petticoats Theme-1966

Here's the opening for a short-lived TV series I really enjoyed way back in that wonderful year of 1966, PISTOLS 'N' PETTICOATS. The ill-fated Western sitcom was meant to serve as a vehicle for former Warner Brothers "Oomph Girl," Ann Sheridan, but the actress failed to disclose just how ill she was with cancer and died before the end of the show's first and then only season.

The premise dealt with an Old West family known for being the best shots around--the Grandfather, the Grandmother, the Daughter (Sheridan) and the Granddaughter. The daughter was played by pretty but relatively generic Carole Wells but the grandparents offered my initial introduction to the great character actors Douglas V. Fowley (nowhere near as aged as he played here) and the delightful Ruth McDevitt. Charismatic McHALE'S NAVY alumnus Gary Vinson (later a real-life victim of suicide) rounded out the regular cast as the sheriff.

If you've never seen the series, a few rare episodes are online here: Thanks, LJ.

The Norman Rockwell Code-2006 Trailer

At first I thought this was simply one of those fake trailers for non-existent films but apparently THE NORMAN ROCKWELL CODE exists. The trailer here is hilarious with Mike Walsh so funny as Barney Fife's son attempting to solve a DA VINCI CODE like mystery. The film itself might be overkill.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 66

Long before the X-MEN titles saturated the comic book market in the nineties, Marvel pulled the exact same thing for more than a decade beginning in the late 1940's with a series of roughly interchangeable titles featuring...PATSY WALKER!!?? Here's a panel from a 1953 issue showing a young man in bed with a copy of one of Martin Goodman's "Men's" magazines generically entitled MALE. I find myself wondering if he was just reading the "articles" and also what "stuff" the lady on the phone (and yes, it is a lady shown in the previous panel) is talking about?? Little blue pills, perhaps? Looks like that magazine is doing the job. He's "feeling much better!" Paging Dr. Wertham!