Monday, September 30, 2019

Who is She?

Once again the Library of Congress has asked us to identify some folks for them. How about this young woman. All we know is what we have here. I suspect she may be younger than she looks. The pictures seem to me to date from the late 1980s or early 1990s but that is pure speculation. Can you help out your country? Is she a TV starlet of her day? A wannabe Brooke Shields? Your second cousin on your mother's side? Help me, Hivemind. You're my only hope.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Frankenstein vs Ultraman and Popeye--The Final Cut

I first wrote about this in 2005 and then in 2010 I reconnected with my childhood pal with whom I attended this event. And I had forgotten that he had taken photos! Then a few years back I found a newspaper article about these Kiddie Matinee live shows. Finally here, in 2019, all of those posts combined, edited, annotated, and updated

Okay, I think regular readers will grant that I have a rather spooky if weirdly selective memory for detail. That said, I barely remember this roadshow kiddie matinee even though I did attend one Saturday afternoon circa 1972. Now, at the time, I hadn't seen Popeye cartoons in years as they weren't being shown locally. The last time I had seen one was when we were on vacation in North Carolina. Ultraman, however, was hot in the Midwest, having been rerun to death on UHF for several years. The prospect of seeing him team up with the one-eyed, spinach guzzling sailor to tackle the Werewolf and Frankenstein (his monster, anyway) was too good for my approximately thirteen year old self to pass up.

As I do recall, however, I spent about 90 minutes in a noisy, crowded theater with the lights on and a bunch of pre-teen boys shooting stuff all over the place through straws while bad prints of TV cartoons played out on the big screen. At one point, guys in cheap monster costumes stalked out from behind the screen and proceeded to walk through the seats supposedly terrorizing the children but, in fact, being pelted viciously by whatever was going through those straws!

In my mind, there were just those couple of guys in monster suits stalking through the audience between ULTRAMAN episodes and POPEYE cartoons. In 2010, though, I rediscovered the person who attended that long ago show with me and not only were his memories of the event slightly different than mine...he had pictures! In these photos, courtesy of Terry H and taken the day we were there  we see that there was, in fact, a stage show that I have blocked completely from memory. Seeing the costumes, I think I understand why.

I lightened up and cropped the dark photos for inclusion here in 2010 and tonight, with better photo software, I improved them even more, but in case you can't tell, there really was a Popeye along with Frankenstein's monster, a werewolf, Mighty Mouse, an extremely low-rent Ultraman, someone I am told was supposed to be the Pink Panther and Heckle...or Jeckle.

 I do recall that I really liked the Underdog cartoon as, like Popeye, I hadn't seen them in years at that point. Overall, though, this was the end of innocence. My last kiddie matinee. By the next year I was attending R-rated movies. At the same theater!

Of course, after the novelty of that phase wore off, I embraced cartoons again. What's the point of being an adult if you can't enjoy cartoons? You think these things are made for kids?


Monday, September 23, 2019

Help Mike and Tracy DeCarlo

If you're a comic book fan, there's a good chance you've seen the name Mike DeCarlo on quite a few books for multiple companies because he was an extremely prolific inker, especially in the 1980s where one of his biggest issues was the Batman story where the Jason Todd Robin was killed.

In recent years, Mike has been largely making a living by doing conventions and commissions. It was after a convention in Oregon a couple years back where his wife was severely injured by a reckless teenage driver and both Tracy and Mike's lives changed forever.

Tracy has had to have round-the-clock medical care ever since and Mike has risen to the occasion to be her champion but now he finds himself being overwhelmed and could use the help of the fan community. I had less than $100 in the bank this morning but I found a way to contribute. I can't even imagine what he's been going through. Please check out the link and see if you can afford to help as well.


Friday, September 20, 2019

NBC Premieres-1966

This post would have been right at home on my old 1966 blog...or maybe my old Television blog! Here we see some stylish and unusual ads for new NBC series from 53 years ago this month. A few are even drawn by Jack Davis! I love the great logos on so many of them. Mostly classic shows but even the also-rans were pretty good that year!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Archie and Me...Literally

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

Coincidence or a cute little shout out?

Either way, I love it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Booksteve Reviews: The Book of Weirdo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Booksteve recommends.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

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

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

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

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

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