Thursday, March 31, 2011

1974 SUPERMAN Puzzle Original Art! Dick Giordano! DC Comics!

Here's a rare glimpse at some mid-70s merchandise art, from DC Comics! Created for a series of Superman and Batman puzzles (sold in cans and boxes), here is the Man of Steel by long-time comic artist Dick Giordano! Dick was known not only as a great solo artist, but also as penciller Neal Adams' main inker in the 70s! Dick brings much of the same sense of realism, movement, and drama to his OWN art, as in the work he did when teamed with Neal! The puzzle debuted around the same time as the shark-mania inspired by the JAWS book and film! Smart! Click to enlarge and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Many Faces of SPIDER-MAN #113! John Romita Sr.! Marvel Comics!

You read right. Here are not one, but two cover versions for the iconic front of SPIDER-MAN # 113! Both drawn in 1972 by the fabulous John Romita Sr., the version of the left shows his early inked cover, before JRSR's gray wash effects were added (below right)! Both are beyond perfect! It was unusual then for a comic cover to feature painterly or special effects, with the fairly primitive printing methods (as compared to today's computer-aided efforts) of the time, and covers like this really stood out and grabbed reader attention! Even the composition and basic idea are wild and imaginative on this ground-breaking "Spidey vs Dr. Octopus" cover image! Amazing all around! BONUS! I've included a fantastic fourth version of this cover, from it's reprinting in 1978's MARVEL TALES #92! Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BRAVE AND THE BOLD! Original 1977 Comic Art! Batman! DC Comics!

A rare look at original comic art drawn by Jim Aparo! This is the fantastic cover to BRAVE AND THE BOLD # 132, from 1977! Batman teams up with Richard Dragon, newly ejected from his own cancelled title in those waning days of the Kung-Fu craze! Aparo's art was at once realistic, action-oriented, moody, and perfect for this Batman team-up title! And to think that Jim provided the cover art, as well as the interior art (pencils, inks, and lettering) in every B&B issue (as well as art stints concurrently on other titles)! Click image to enlarge!

Monday, March 28, 2011

1978 Stan Lee's Soapbox! Marvel Comics' BULLPEN BULLETINS! Hulk!

Take a gander at this 1978 entry of Stan Lee's SOAPBOX monthly column. Stan talks about the Marvel characters, and their then-recent take-over of television. Spider-Man, Hulk, and, to a much lesser extent, Captain America and Dr. Strange, all had live-action TV outings that year (or soon after). Planned, but never screened, were Human Torch and Sub-Mariner pilots. Note how, in those days, the shadow of the 1966 BATMAN TV show was still being cast, as Stan defends the "straight" nature of these new small screen shows, which, despite other failings, did stay away from the camp approach. Even the concurrent WONDER WOMAN show still played things fairly campy in their attitude. Also contrast this to the wave of Marvel movies we're enjoying today, against these 70s programs, and revel in how much comic-centric stuff they can jam in, even to the point of the films (like the comics themselves) resulting in a cross-over event, with the upcoming AVENGERS movie! How far things have come. But, as Stan would say, for good or ill? Click images below to enlarge!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Supergirl's Sexy 70s Costume Cut-Ups! 1970 DC Comics!

Most fans don't recall that in the early 70s, DC Comics toyed with the idea of changing Supergirl's iconic red-and-blue costume, during her odd run in ADVENTURE COMICS (How odd? Check the panels below, where Supergirl manifests sudden mental telepathy and mind-reading powers)! But, DC being a very conservative firm then, the final changes were very modest, consisting of added "hot pants," a more blouse-y tunic, and a small change in her footwear. But, for a few months, DC allowed readers to send in, and in some cases, see, their new costume designs used in the book, as Supergirl wore a variety of new outfits! Some of these designs were a bit--er--unfortunate, reveling in the excesses of early 70s sartorial silliness, but what do you expect, with the Maid of Steel taking fashion advice from a newly re-designed Wonder Woman (below)? It was all in good fun, and a bit of a thrill to see the classic outfit changed in any way! Click images to enlarge!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Monkees! 2011 Tour Update! Hear "All About Micky Dolenz!"

Hey Hey! A recent article on the new (and already successful) 2011 Monkees tour, plus a handful of older pics! Mike and Peter jam with Jimi Hendrix in '67! PLUS! Hear the super-rare audio from the 1967 flexi-disc that came packaged with the Hasbro Micky Dolenz "Show Biz babies" doll! Click here to listen to past Monkees "Show Biz babies" flexi-discs! Click images below to enlarge and to listen!

Friday, March 25, 2011

At Long Last! The Origin Of Nick Fury's Eye-Patch! Marvel Comics!

Most newcomers to the Marvel Comics universe know Nick Fury only thru his portrayals by Samuel L. Jackson in films like IRON MAN. Long-time comic fans, tho, know Nick from his first appearances in the early 60s, in such titles as STRANGE TALES (his modern adventures as head honcho of SHIELD), and SGT. FURY, detailing his World War Two tales! It was in FURY #27, from 1966, that fans finally learned how Nick lost use of his left eye, in a torrid tale drawn by "Darlin'" Dick Ayers! Click below to enlarge these pulse-pounding panels that reveal how the future super-spy earned his famous eye-patch! BONUS: Pics of both David Hasselhoff (true!) and Jackson in their film turns as Fury!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FANTASTIC FOUR! MARVEL TREASURY EDITION Cover! The Evolution of a Jack Kirby Masterpiece!

As most fans know, master artist Jack "King" Kirby returned to Marvel Comics (after a 4-year stint at DC Comics), and surprised many by working on only a handful of his old titles, such as CAPTAIN AMERICA. Instead, Jack wasted no time in starting his own trail-blazing titles, such as ETERNALS, DEVIL DINOSAUR, and others. Jack did, however, pencil many covers featuring the older Marvel stalwarts, turning in cover scenes for such diverse titles as DAREDEVIL, IRON MAN, and even SPIDEY SUPER STORIES! Here is his pulse-pounding work for the back cover of the 1976 MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #11, spotlighting his co-creation,the Fantastic Four! Click below to enlarge the image, showing the actual cover, the inked version (with some John Romita Sr. touch-ups,) and even Jack's first pencil rough! Face front!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rare 1969 BATMAN Comic Strips! Nick Cardy and Al Plastino Art! DC Comics!

Talk about rare! Didja know that BATMAN was awarded his own daily comic strip in the mid-60s, coinciding with his blockbuster ABC TV show? Didja know comic art greats like Nick Cardy and Al Plastino provided the stellar artwork for said strip? Didja know these strips (running until the early 70s) have yet to be formally collected in any trade paperback or hardcover? Didja know the original art for these strips (as seen here) is passionately bought and traded among comic art fans today? Didja know that other DC heroes and foes, such as Green Arrow, Aquaman, Riddler, and Poison Ivy made frequent appearances in these adventures? Didja know you could click the images below to enlarge and enjoy them? Oh. You did.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BATMAN 1966 TV Show! A Day in the LIFE of Adam West! Joker Meets-- Jerry Lewis?!

More terrific tidbits from the famed 1966 BATMAN ABC-TV show! First up: a great pic from the '66 LIFE magazine photo session! In fact, this is the cover shot itself! Next: a fab candid on-set pic, from '66, of Adam West (Batman), and Cesar Romero (Joker) with comedian Jerry Lewis (there filming his "pop from the window as Batman scales by") guest cameo, as they all greet eager fans! Plus: a new Burt Ward (Robin) update, on his great work rescuing, and caring for, big dogs of all kinds! Learn more about his heroic efforts here! Click each to enlarge, Bat-fan!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gil Kane! Original 1976 MARVEL TREASURY Art! Spider-Man! Captain America!

More appreciation for Gil "Sugar Lips" Kane! This stellar artist was ubiquitous in the Bronze Age, and here is yet another reason why! Here are Gil's pencil layouts for both covers to a 1976 MARVEL TREASURY EDITION (a big, oversized reprint volume of past Marvel adventures), along with the finished art, inked by John Romita Sr.! All the "Marvel-style" action and drama is presented in full force in these great illustrations, showing Gil's take on Spidey, Hulk, Silver Surfer, and other Marvel mainstays, in new scenes that re-interpret past superhero conflicts and team-ups! Wow! Click to enlarge!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The INVADERS! Original 1975 Cover Art! John Romita Sr.! Marvel Comics!

It simply does not get any better than this, faithful one! Here is the pulse-pounding cover to 1975's INVADERS #1! All of the greatest Marvel superheroes of World War Two were gathered for one incredible cover scene, to herald the start of this long-running series, one of the first to "ret-con" new tales into the past continuity from the "Golden Age" of comics! Drawn by (who else?) comics master John Romita Sr., this is a perfect example of what made Marvel the number one comics publisher in the 70s, with it's great staging, action, and drama! FUN FACT: Romita began his comic career drawing CAPTAIN AMERICA comics in the 1950s, during Cap's short-lived revival! Can you spot the slight changes to the cover between finished art and publication? Click image below to enlarge!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Off-Model Madness Returns! 1979 Horrible HULK Patch! Marvel Comics!

It's back! Its' the return of "Off-Model Madness!" Harkening back to the days before corporately-controlled style guides, here's a terrible rendering of the Hulk, interpreted for a colorful cloth patch! The embroidering technology then was not quite as sophisticated as it got in the 90s and beyond, but that's no excuse for this wildly off-model version of old Jade Jaws, especially when they had John Romita's beautiful original art (below right) to use, fresh from the back cover of the 1975 MARVEL HOLIDAY GRAB-BAG! Click here for more hilarious off-model Marvel patches! Click image below to enlarge!

Friday, March 18, 2011

IRON MAN #42! Marie Severin Cover Design Rough! Marvel Comics!

Yow! We all know that "Mirthful" Marie Severin provided tons of rough ideas for much of Marvel's early 70s comic covers, but few have survived for viewing today! Here, however is one that did! It's her cover sketch for the front of IRON MAN #42, from 1971! Even tho it's a very loose sketch (done on merry Marvel stationery, natch), all of the drama and conflict is evident in this powerful design! It's easy to see why Marie was the new go-to gal for dramatic cover art layouts! Below right is the finished cover, by "Gorgeous" George Tuska! Click to enlarge!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A New Look for Robin? 1975 BATMAN FAMILY Feature! DC Comics!

I always loved these rare fan-art features from DC Comics! Appearing in the books in the mid-70s, these "New Look for Robin" spots ran in the BATMAN FAMILY comic, and featured some terrific (and not so hot) reader ideas for a new outfit for the Teen Wonder! Other comic books ran similar features, but usually girl-oriented fashion-themed books, so this was a truly interesting treat for superhero fans! DC was so much more conservative than competitor Marvel then, so any real change to the famous Robin costume was not going to happen then (just wait until the 90s), but it was still fun imagining the character leaving his "short pants" look behind. If you look closely at this NLFR installment, you can see that future BATMAN comics artist Norm Breyfogle had his entry published! Click images to enlarge!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's FANTASTIC FOUR #179! Kinda. 1977 Albert Bigley Comic Art! Marvel Comics?!

That's right! My own interpretation (done by me in 1977-age 12) of the cover to FANTASTIC FOUR #179! I was a new regular FF reader then, and soon become totally engrossed in their high-flying adventures! It's only natural that I'd try to mimic the artistic mastery of the cover artists here, in this case, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott! I still had a bit to learn about laying the image out in order to gauge the compositional space needed, not to mention plain old anatomy! But, you can certainly feel my excitement for the characters, and my youthful (if naive) energy, in this drawing! Go ahead. Be brave and click to enlarge!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rare Curt Swan Superman/Batman Custom Artwork! DC Comics' WORLD'S FINEST Art!

We all know Curt Swan as the long-running (from the 1950s to the mid-80s) artist on the SUPERMAN line of books, including ACTION, JIMMY OLSEN, and, of course, the SUPERMAN title. It was always a rare treat to see him depict other DC superheroes during his long stint, usually only when other heroes crossed-over or guested in the main Super-books! But, here is a fantastic fan commission, from the 80s, of the WORLD'S FINEST team, Superman and Batman, drawn as only Swan could! Curt had the ability to depict such characters with grace, power, and strength, at the same time imbuing them with a certain realism that grounded the usually hyper-active superheroes. Great work! Click to enlarge!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Strange Spanish SPIDER-MAN Record Album! Power Records! Marvel Comics!

We all know that the folks at Peter Pan Industries, calling themselves "Power Records," released many kid-oriented LPs and 45s featuring the Marvel and DC Comics stalwarts, such as Superman, Hulk, Batman, and even Conan!  But imagine my surprise when I came across this rare little gem. Produced late in the PR game (1981), this is no mere "across-the-border" release of the US version of one of the earlier SPIDER-MAN LPs. No, this 12-inch disc seems to feature all-new exclusive audio adventures of Spidey, performed in Spanish! A friend roughly translated the cover titles as, " Never Use A Scorpion, Sands of Crime, The Vulture's Challenge, and Trapped by Jameson!" I wonder if these were adaptations of early 60s Spidey comics adventures, since many of the themes fit that time-table. You can read more about Power Records here! Click images below to enlarge!

Friday, March 11, 2011

SUPERBOY 1965 Aurora Model Kit Re-Issue! 2010 Moebius Kit! DC Comics!

Here is my completed SUPERBOY Moebius model kit re-issue! It's a re-casting, of course, of the famed 1965 Aurora kit, complete with perfect molding and fit, just like the original! 

To start, I decided to sand away the sculpted-on "S" insignias (not quite "on model" here), preferring to make my own stickers for the emblems as seen on the capes and tunic. 

I also heavily detailed the base, adding grit and texture, areas of lighter and darker ground, then later adding real pebbles and rocks to the surface.

Then some sanding of seams, filling gaps, and assembling could take place! Later, after painting the kit, paying attention to gloss areas (Superboys' hair, boots, belt, Krypto's collar), and matte areas (base, capes, outfit, etc), I then hand-detailed the faces on both Superboy/Superdog. 

I also gave the "dragon" some nice overcoats of glossy greens (some metallic spray paints were used), with some lighter top sprays, and darker undercoats...

You can click here to read about the 70s Aurora "Comic Scenes" issue of this fabulous kit! A great and fun model and a real blast from the past! Click images to enlarge!

Spider-Man 125! Original 1973 Comic Art! John Romita Sr.! Marvel!

ANOTHER John Romita riotous rouser! This time, it's the power-punched cover to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #125! This perfectly rendered action scene depicts Spidey in a life-and-death battle with his then-spanking-new baddie, The Man-Wolf! As usual with the work of JRSR, you get impeccable composition, shading, figure work, anatomy, and plain old Marvel-style action! Not only is this quite possibly one of the greatest covers of the Bronze Age of Comics, but it was also my first regular issue of Spider-Man, after being introduced to him thru afternoon reruns of his 1967 cartoons, and the fantastic "Rockomic" LP! What a place to start! BONUS FACT: This issue was one of two used to create the 1974 Power Records book-and-record SPIDER-MAN "Mark of the Man-Wolf" offering! Click images to enlarge!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spectacular Secrets of the Sensational SPIDER-MAN '76 Shirt! Marvel Comics!

Those of you who recall this swingin' ad from Marvel Comics in 1976 will also recognize the fantastic artwork featured on said apparel! That's right! It's the work of Gil "Sugar Lips" Kane (him again!) from the 1973 issue of MARVEL TEAM-UP #13! This all-over print spotlights Spidey and Captain America, lifted straight from that same issue, in bold action as only Gil could depict! Below are the actual panels used on the shirt, and the original ad for this now-rare Marvel item! Now you know! Wish I had this and the other shirts listed in the ad! Click images to enlarge!

BONUS! Look below to see actual images of a young fan wearing this shirt in 1977!

BONUS BONUS! Below is a powerful pic of super-fan Scott Ruplin, rockin' the above tee in '76!