Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christa Helm Podcast

Recently Rene and myself, along with our original co-author and researcher John O'Dowd, participated in a podcast regarding the life and murder of Christa Helm for Movie Geeks United. Christa's daughter, various friends and acquaintances also appear and there are some new revelations in the mix. Give it a listen!

Monday, October 27, 2014


I haven't done much computer art in a while but here's the most recent piece I did do, from earlier this month, entitled Radio Waves. One reason I haven't done any is because I'm fairly overwhelmed with transcriptions, writing gigs, typing projects and such. So posting may be a tad irregular here for a bit, as I try to get somewhat caught up. Things should proceed more or less daily at FOUR COLOR SHADOWS, however, so be sure to check it out on a regular basis! Thanx! See ya soon!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Captain Hadacol

Facebook friend Bruce G. sent me a copy of the image below and I had no idea what it was. This being teh Internet, however, I'm now pretty well-versed in the fact that Captain Hadacol and his comic book and club were used as advertising shills for Hadacol, a Louisiana patent medicine from the mid-20th century. described as "a little honey, a little alcohol and some Vitamin B." For the full fascinating story, go here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

King Solomon's Kickstarter

In the early 1970s, a small company called Skywald popped up as competition to Warren Publishing's black and white horror mags. With titles that included PSYCHO, NIGHTMARE and SCREAM, they offered some surprisingly good stories, often by old-timers at first but later mainly by talented newcomers. Without doubt, the best thing to come out of Skywald was the US debut of artist Pablo Marcos.

After a career in mainstream comics, Marcos became known more by kids in this country when his studio in the Philippines illustrated a long series of classics for children sold as bargain books in the chain stores.

Now comes my Facebook pal Stephan Friedt with an all-new Kickstarter campaign for what looks to be a beautifully painted adaptation of KING SOLOMON'S MINES from Pablo Marcos with Mark Ellis. As always, I understand. Everything wants your money these days. But if you like good art and classic stories--especially if you were a fan of comics in the '70s--please give this project our consideration.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rare Marx Brothers Stuff

Found online in various archives.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Craig Yoe Receives the Jerry Bails Award-2013

This has been up nearly a year but I just now discovered it online--friends and mentor Craig Yoe accepting the Jerry Bails Award at last year's Detroit Fanfare show with a great speech.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chevy Chase on Ernie Kovacs-1977

Ernie Kovacs died when I was 3 years old and I didn't remember him at all. By 1977, however, I had read enough histories of television that I knew he must have really been something! Chevy Chase was the comedy flavor of the month at that point and the premiere of the PBS series, THE BEST OF ERNIE KOVACS, led TV GUIDE to enlist him to sing Ernie's praises. It was enough to get me  glued to my set every Tuesday night while the show was on and I quickly became a big fan. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Get Off My Lawn, Conan!

Is it just me? I used to love Conan back in the day, especially the more adult SAVAGE SWORD tales. I had actually avoided the early issues of the Marvel comic but was introduced to it via those packs at the corner grocery where you got 3 coverless or partially coverless comics for a quarter. When I saw Barry Smith’s rapidly evolving art, I began seeking out back issues on purpose. In time, with Roy Thomas’s help, I discovered the mythos of both the character and the property.

Today, though, I ran into this image on the Net. It’s the cover of a relatively recent CONAN title but it looks little different from literally hundreds of earlier ones, nearly all inspired by Frank Frazetta’s paperback covers from the sixties. Only this time—the first time I’ve really looked at a cover featuring the character in probably more than a decade—it bothered me.

Let me preface this by saying that I love Frank Cho’s artwork and have long been a fan of his LIBERTY MEADOWS.

But let’s see. You have the dark-skinned Conan, not a hair out of place, posing with a bloody axe, having presumably lopped off the head of the unfortunate gentleman at left. His axe blade is bloody but not dripping and the blood’s clearly running down-cover from that site so where’s the body? That said, why does our “hero” look so calm and poised? Yes, his arm veins are bulging but not a drop of sweat or obvious signs of exertion. And what about those legs? They look more like dual tree trunks. Even assuming he might legitimately have legs like that, where in the world would he have found boots that fit?

The real issue though is the girl. Now it had to have a girl. I get that. You don’t hire Frank Cho and have him NOT draw a girl. But why is she there? In spite of all the obvious recent carnage, she looks almost drugged, even as the blood congeals under her thighs. And why is she dressed in a Slave Princess Leia costume anyway? Where did she come from? With skin that pale, she isn’t likely to be a local girl and that is most likely not her normal attire. More importantly, what is she doing crawling between Conan’s tree trunk legs in the first place? It looks as though if you were to stand her up she would be a tiny sort, too, except, of course, for that outsized derriere. Is she supposed to simply be just a random sex object, another in a seemingly endless line of submissive females in Conan’s testosterone-bloated universe?

As I said, maybe it’s just me. There was a time I would not only have loved this cover but would have spent long hours trying to draw ones just like it. Now I look at it and see nothing but a violent and potentially dangerous male fantasy catering to base instincts that I like to tell myself most of us have long since outgrown.

Yeah. I’m thinking it’s probably just me.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Columbo Day

With Ol' Chris now fairly well discredited by historians, there's no need to celebrate his life and deeds--to say the least--but no one wants to give up the holiday. So I've joined the movement to simply rename it COLUMBO Day. Now there's a guy whose life and deeds deserve to be celebrated!

I picked up the above box set as one of Amazon's Deals of the Day last month when I briefly had some money. $100 off the regular price! It's since jumped back up but still nicely priced and highly recommended. Don't recall having this much fun with a box set of DVDs in ages. 

By all accounts, Falk could be pretty much a prick, more so at some stages than others, but it's never seen on screen. He gives a consistent performance throughout and the audience is given access to his thoughts only through the subtlest of movements or wordplay most of the time. 

It's the guest star criminal that we are led by the generally choice scripts to identify with, knowing every step of the way what he/she did but hoping the Lieutenant picks up on what we already saw!

Every episode was 90 minutes or 2 full hours and there weren't a lot of episodes made in the show's original 7 season run due both to the Mystery Movie format as well as Falk's regular behind-the-scenes dickering for (deserved) salary increases.

Some 15 years after the series officially ended, Peter Falk revived Lt. Frank Columbo (Yes. It's Frank. NOT Phillip) in the first of a series of TV movies that would ultimately last almost as long as the original run and with more than a few entries just as good!

So Columbo Day. Just need to change a few letters. 
Think about it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

When is Joe Penner NOT Joe Penner?

This may be of interest only to me but at top you see a one page comic strip--credited to Jack Cole--from a comic book that featured radio and Vaudeville comic Joe Penner, known for his catch phrase, "Wanna buy a duck?" The comic came out a bit prior to Penner's untimely passing at the age of 36 in 1941.

Below is that same strip, reprinted 5 years after Penner's death for some reason. While keeping the duck and the other trademarks that would readily have been recognizable still to slightly older readers, the reprint eliminates the one line in panel one--word balloon and all--that identifies the character as Penner!