Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jerry Robinson! BATMAN Artist! Robin and Joker Co-Creator! DC Comics!

Here is an informative 2011 article on the unfortunate passing of comics Golden Age (and other "ages") great, Jerry Robinson! Jerry was one of the first of the Bob Kane "ghost artists" to be recruited by Kane (the creator, with Bill Finger, of Batman), early in the strip's life! Jerry not only bought a cleaner, more dynamic style to the fledgling DC Comics strip, but was instrumental in adding and developing the characters of Robin (ROBINson?) and the Joker, along with so many other important Bat-elements! And those are just some of Jerry's amazing accomplishments! So, click to enlarge the article below, and learn more!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Thing Meets--JIMMY CARTER?! MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE # 27 Original Cover Art!

From the ComicArtFans site, comes one of the iconic covers of the Bronze Age! Here is the original art to the front of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #27! What more could any Marvel maven ask for? The Thing (star of this long-running team-up mag)! Human Torch! Mr. Fantastic! Invisible Girl! Deathlok! And--President Jimmy Carter?! Yep! Sorta. Not wanting to risk the health and life of the then-prez, the FF decide to call in old shape-changing friend/foe, the impish Impossible Man, to impersonate the peanut farmer-in-chief! Even Nick Fury guested in this issue! And to top that off, this crammed cover is by Jack Kirby and Joe SinnottMore ya want?! Click to enlarge!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lex Luthor Gets SMASHed! Superman's Greatest Foes! 1975 Article! DC Comics!

Another blast from SMASH magazine! Here is a fabby 1975 article on Superman's greatest foes, headlined by malignant Lex Luthor! Didja know that Supe's rivalry with Lex (they were once best pals) goes all the way back to his Superboy days (or did, before 592 recent re-boots, re-starts, retro-fits, and re-jiggers by the current and confused DC Comics administration)? Didja know Luthor blames the Boy of Steel for his famous bald pate? Didja know the inside scoops on other Super-villains, such as the stuck-in-the-70s Terra Man, The Parasite, and the ever-hard-to-pronounce Mr. Mxyzptlk? Well, you do now! Click to enlarge!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Hulk Goes CRAZY (Magazine)! 1978 Marvel Spoof! Lou Ferrigno?!

What an oddity! Here is a 1978 INCREDIBLE HULK spoof from Marvel Comics' own answer to MAD magazine, CRAZY! Created at the time of the popular late-70s HULK TV show, this parody features good likenesses of stars Lou Ferringo and Bill Bixby, as well as famed newsman Walter Cronkite! CRAZY started out in the early 70s as a very strong humor mag contender, with great work by Marvel mainstays like "Mirthful" Marie Severin and "Marvelous" Marv Wolfman, but soon degraded into a low-wattage rack-warmer produced by fairly unknown (and less expensive) writers and artists, as Marvel simply attempted to crowd out the other humor publications. But, some bright spots still occasionally appeared, like this little laugh riot! Of course, that ending woulda been better suited to material published 5 years earlier, but at least you get to stare at a gorgeous Bob Larkin painted cover! Click to enlarge!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #6 ! 1977 Original Marvel Comic Art! Morbius!

Another brain-busting find! Here is the original cover art to 1977's SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #6! Altho wrapped around a reprint (of MARVEL TEAM-UP #3), this issue sported a fabulous new cover by amicable Al Milgrom! We not only get treated to a swingin' Spidey pose, but the Human Torch and macabre Morbius thrown in, to boot! Note the correction note about Spidey's eyes! If only today's comic artists would heed the same note! Click to enlarge!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge the original 1972 cover to this terror-filled tale! Art by Gil Kane!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HULK # 208! Another Look! Dave Cockrum Original Comic Art! Marvel!

We've already featured the colossal cover to 1977's INCREDIBLE HULK # 208 here, but can you take another block-busting post about this powerful image, one that was originally drawn by Marie Severin? Brace yourself, because we've unearthed the rambunctious original cover art, drawn by none other than dynamite Dave Cockrum! Dave, of course, was a very prolific Marvel and DC artist in the 70s and 80s, headlining the famous return of the X-MEN that brought that team back into favored fan-fave status! Dave's version seems to have better "camera" position and overall composition, with more drama, and a more intense feeling of speed and danger! But, the Hulk seems to be covered and "closed" in his pose! Could that be the reason for this piece's initial rejection?! Thanks to Ferran Delgado's amazing site for this piece! Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daredevil Meets--Fred Hembeck?! 1982 Marvel Comics Mirth!

Here are a few more choice pages from the fun and info-filled DAREDEVIL CHRONICLES! Published by long-defunct FantaCo in 1982, this special publication featured unseen art, interviews, news, and insights into dynamic DD and his world, including some funky and fun facts as illustrated by Fred Hembeck! Why does Daredevil hold a grudge against ol' Iron Man?! How does psychic Uri Geller fit into DD's universe? And what's with that Foggy Nelson, anyway? Click to enlarge and laugh, Horn-Heads!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sensational 70s SPIDER-MAN Strip! Jonah Jameson---Kidnapped!? 1977 Marvel Comics!

The corpulent Kingpin ratchets up the heat, as he has his men kidnap newsman J. Jonah Jameson himself! Spidey must reluctantly swing into action to rescue his most vocal and loud-mouthed (not to mention ungrateful) detractor, in this fabulous all-action (and what action it is!) 1977 newspaper strip sensation! This particular installment just happens to be the first SPIDEY strip I ever saw, in a 7th grade art class, as the teacher distributed old, saved papers to catch all errant paint drops! I immediately clipped and saved! This has to represent artist John Romita, Sr. at his very best! Click to enlarge, Web-Heads!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't Get Sore! Be THOR! 1966 Ben Cooper Halloween Costume! Marvel Comics!

Here we go again with another laughable look at a Silver Age comic book costume! This time around, it's the less-than-marvelous Mighty THOR outfit, from 1966! Like the Iron Man Halloween gear, this take (by the ubiquitous Ben Cooper firm) on the Thunder God doesn't even come close to resembling his comic counterpart, but is, in its own way, an appealing take on the character! The mask is not bad, taking its cue from the then-concurrent THOR cartoon in the MARVEL SUPERHEROES show, but the body suit is something else entirely! Thor's famous chest "buttons" now sport images of him in action, and, of course, his logo! And, once again, unheroic and spindly legs are drawn on the actual pants! Hey, at least they threw in a cape, right? But--no hammer?! Click to enlarge!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Three Faces of ACTION COMICS #544! Original 1983 Gil Kane DC Comics Art!

Wow! Here are three sensational stages in the creation of a great and iconic comic cover! Here are Gil Kane's pencils, the finished inked (by Dick Giordano) cover, and the final, printed color version! It's the frenzied front of ACTION COMICS #544! Gil left his pencilled Superman background image to be printed as a "surprint," meaning, instead of black lines, colored lines would be used to depict the art! What a dynamite, attention-grabbing cover! This issue also sports the then-new looks of the made-over Lex Luthor and Brainiac, two long-time Superman foes who needed a change of pace (and clothes)! Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tour The Marvel Comics Offices in 1974! SMASH Magazine Pics and Article!

Who out there recalls SMASH magazine? Kind of a sister mag to the more popular DYNAMITE, and issued also thru school book clubs, SMASH (with it's very odd typesetting and design, by famed graphic artist Milton Glaser) aimed at a hipper, older crowd (you know-7th graders and above)! Dig this great and rare article from a 1974 SMASH issue, spotlighting Stan Lee and Marvel Comics! Marvel was still growing and evolving in exciting ways, even after 12 years on the scene, and a cool, toupee-wearing Stan was becoming a very visible spokesperson! Note Stan's groovy office and the painting in the background from the cover of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN # 1! Click here to read a similar Marvel tour article, from the same period! Click to enlarge all images below, frantic one!

Below, left: A close-up (you can enlarge it) zoom of the Marvel Bullpen pic! Is that Len Grow or John Verpoorten in that production room? Danny Crespi? Stu Schwartzberg? And, what covers are being worked on? I recognize FEAR # 24! Below, right: The very cover of that awesome issue of FEAR!

BONUS! That same issue of SMASH came with these mildly magnificent Marvel stamps! I recall getting (through a great deal of haggling) these issues just for the stamps, as that was the only way to get access to past issues and what had come before, in those pre-comic shop days! FUN FACT: Didja know SMASH magazine (as well as DYNAMITE) was created by future DC Comics publisher Jenette Kahn?

Monday, December 12, 2011

THE HULK! Rare 1982 Jack Kirby Sketch! Original Marvel Comics Art!

Who better to produce a panic-packed sketch of the Incredible Hulk, than his co-creator himself, "Jolly" Jack Kirby?  Jack (along with writer Stan Lee) created the jade giant back in 1962, combining the best of two classic tomes, Robert Louis Stevenson's DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, with Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, conjuring up a modern day parable of atomic power gone awry! Hulk is, of course, still muscling his way thru the hearts of fans today, even being featuring in next year's mega-movie, THE AVENGERS! Jack rarely drew fan sketches in the 80s, so this is truly a rare treat for all, especially the lucky sketch recipient! Click to enlarge!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sensational Sunday 70s SPIDER-MAN Strip! Spidey Strikes Back! Sorta. Marvel Comics!

Things are heating up as a fed-up Spidey decides he's had it with the Kingpin's orders! But, the oversized ogre reminds the webbed one just why he's still in charge! More 1977 Marvel magic from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita Sr.! Click to enlarge!

Friday, December 9, 2011

THOR! Rare 1975 Gil Kane Cover Sketch and Original Comic Art! Marvel Comics!

ZOUNDS! How often do you get to see the rough sketch and the finished original comic art for a calamitous classic comic cover?! Well, wonder no more! Here is the cover sketch idea, the finished inked cover scene, and the final published cover, for the front of THOR #242! Created in 1975, by the incredible and gregarious Gil Kane, chief cover commander for Marvel in the 70s, this masterwork has it all! Danger! Drama! Volstagg! The final cover looks to have been inked by Frank Giacoia, too! Click to enlarge, and face front!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Off-Model Madness! 1966 Ben Cooper IRON MAN Halloween Costume! Marvel Comics!

Hoo Boy! Take a glance at this howl-inducing Halloween costume from the Silver Age of 1966! Manufactured by the once-ubiquitous Ben Cooper firm (main provider of flame-retardant kid's costumes in the the 60s and 70s), this live version of Iron Man isn't exactly picture-perfect! Sure, the company was more concerned with adding eye-catching, fluorescent safety colors and logos, but ol' Shellhead never looked more peculiar! The colors and mask (note the appearance of a "nose," 9 years before the comics gave him one) are sorta there, but the odd chest area, and drawn-on skinny legs?! Huh? Even the box is a reminder of the days before carefully-controlled corporate nit-picking! Iron Man is flanked by odd patches of off-model art featuring characters from competitor DC Comics, and--Disney's Mary Poppins?! Today, of course, kids (and adults) have an incredible selection of more accurate and detailed superhero outfits to choose from, but back in the day...Click to enlarge!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

1974 LOIS LANE Original Trading Card Art! Superman! Wonder Bread! DC Comics!

Talk about rare! Here is the original art (thought to be created by long-time artist Pat Gabriele) of a liberated Lois Lane, for a colorful 1974 trading card! The card was part of a DC Comics superheroes premium set, made available in marked packages of Wonder Bread! The cards are now highly sought-after by comics and art fans, due to their oddball and quirky artwork, something not seen so often in those days of only one or two artists assigned to certain characters! I recall eating tons of bread to get the many Batman-related cards in the set! Lots of fun! Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BATMAN! The 1966 ABC-TV Show! Adam West! Yvonne Craig! Cancellation! DC Comics!

POW! More incredible tidbits from the mid-60s TV juggernaut, BATMAN! Click each to enlarge! Below, left: Adam West, "Batman" himself, in a pensive mood in the Batcave, between takes! Below, right: An actual used "utility belt" prop from the series, later signed by cast members! 

Below, left: Adam with a shapely set visitor, once again, generously giving his time between shooting scenes! Below, right: Burt Ward ("Robin"), in a colorful pop-art publicity still!
Below, left: Yvonne Craig as "Batgirl" helps out an attacked Bruce Wayne, as the staff and crew set up and "slate" the shot!  Below, right: Burt Ward goes over lines near the Batmobile, before the cameras roll!

Below, left: A rare newspaper clipping detailing the 3rd season 1968 episode, "Catwoman's Dressed to Kill," starring the exotic Eartha Kitt (stepping into Julie Newmar's famed purr-fected pussycat part)! Below, right: An article announcing the (gasp) cancellation of the campy 3-year sensational series! Holy Nielsen ratings!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Hulk and Spider-Man! Together?! 1978 Albert Bigley Art! Marvel?!

Ah, one of the great duos of all time! The Hulk and--Spider-Man?! Why not? I decided to stage my own "Marvel Team-Up" in this 1978 pencil drawing (I was 13), as Marvel's two titanic "TV sensations" appear to be wrapping up a skirmish by casually tossing one of the remaining bad guys into the deep blue sea! Neither ol' Jade Jaws or Spidey seems to be too concerned! Looks like the complacent companion piece to this dynamic drawing! Click to enlarge!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sizzling Sunday 70s SPIDER-MAN Strip! Geraldo Rivera Steps In?! Marvel Comics!

Looks like the Kingpin is still forcing a reluctant Spidey to do his baleful bidding, as the web-slinger crashes an anti-Kingpin campaign headed by--Geraldo Rivera! Yep! The TV anchor was then (1977) a reporter and newsman known only to local New York residents, such as Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr., the strip's creators!  Marvel made its reputation by using such "real life" celebrities and locales in its comics, adding an edge of "realism" not seen in their competitor's comic adventures! Click to enlarge!

BONUS!  Click below to see Geraldo Rivera thru the ages!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Summer 2011 Movie Scene! "Too Many Superheroes?!" New ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Article and Pics! Thor!

Here is a thought-provoking new article from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY! The author posits that there may no longer be anything "special" to enjoy when it comes to the avalanche of new superhero big-screen movies! When, once, a film like 1978's SUPERMAN-THE MOVIE was a rare and delightful occurrence, now we seem to be spoiled by endless multiple multiplex extravaganzas from both Marvel (IRON MAN, THOR) and DC Comics (BATMAN, GREEN LANTERN)! Do you agree? Click to enlarge!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Tale of Two PETER PARKER Covers? 1976 SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN Marvel Mystery!

What's this?! Two versions of the captivatin' cover to the debut issue of PETER PARKER-THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN?! All true, believer! Take a glance below, and see for yourself! The cover image on the left was scanned from the "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" pages of the December, 1976 Marvel titles, in a blurb announcing the new Spidey-centered comic! The cover on the right is the finished, actual cover! Why the changes? Was it decided that the original sported too many word balloons, leaving little room for the "collector's item" hype? Were the figures of Mary Jane Watson and her escort, "Flash" Thompson, deemed too large and attention-grabbing? Or, was that first take only a patched-up image, cobbled together quickly to meet the looming deadline? What's your opinion? Click to enlarge!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy THORSday! Rare John Buscema THOR Sketches! Marvel Comics!

Wow! It's very well know among comic art fans that "big" John Buscema loved to pencil tons of "warm-up" sketches and such on the backs of his comics pages! Take a gander at these wonderfully loose and lively sketches he did of that ol' Asgardian hammer-tosser himself, the Mighty Thor! John had a real knack for action anatomy, expression, movement, and drama, and these seemingly simple sketches prove that fact! John, of course, had a lengthy run on the THOR comic for Marvel in the 70s, before taking full artistic reign on their CONAN book! A proper fit, as Buscema always had a real dislike for the straight superhero-themed books, preferring the more organic, ancient barbarian types to draw! Click to enlarge!

Below: John Buscema himself, circa 1975, in the Marvel Comics offices!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Kingpin Strikes Again! SPIDEY SUPER STORIES Original Cover Art! John Romita Sr.!

Altho sometimes dismissed as a "kiddie comic," the first few years of SPIDEY SUPER STORIES featured some of John Romita's best Spider-Man art! JRSR not only drew the front cover scenes for SSS, but also many back cover and poster images, for the mag that encouraged reading skill development among young readers (with the help from the PBS show, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY)! This image is from SSS #18, from 1976! Note the minor changes that were made from original art to published cover! The elimination of the background room interior now makes this sensational scene a symbolic one, with the Kingpin no longer cruelly crushing a mere model of the city, but a visual representation of the real thing! Are those the Twin Towers he's taking down?! Yikes! Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

George Perez Draws--DAREDEVIL! 1982 Original Comic Art! MarvelMania!

Wow! It's a rare treat to see George Perez draw any Marvel Comics character, but here is a terrific 1982 illo by him, starring Daredevil! George began his career in the 70s at Marvel, drawing many books, including FANTASTIC FOUR and AVENGERS, but soon went to DC, where he applied his talents to great books like NEW TEEN TITANS (is it any wonder he soon got the tag of "team book artist?")! This art appeared in the little-seen DAREDEVIL CHRONICLES book from long-gone publisher FantaCo, published in the early 80s! The one-shot comic-sized b/w book was full of rare art, spot illustrations, and interviews with the DAREDEVIL writers and artists! Click to enlarge!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Send a Nifty Note--The SPIDER-MAN Way! Marvel Comics Stationery!

Here's a real treat for you! Some sensational SPIDER-MAN note paper, generously festooned with great images of the ol' wall-crawler, straight from the 60s! Just take in that gorgeous art by Steve Ditko and John Romita, Sr.! It's Spidey in awesome action against the sinister Sandman and the demonic Dr. Octopus! All you have to do is print the images out on paper of your choosing, write a note to a friend (or even an enemy, or to the I.R.S.) on the inner blank side, fold as noted (you'll need tape, not spit), and mail away! Let the world know that you're a swingin' Silver Age Spidey fan! Click each to enlarge!