Monday, April 30, 2012

Go Ape With the MONKEES! Davy Jones! Micky Dolenz! Peter Tork! JC Penney?!

What? More rare items from the Monkees vault? You betcha! Take a look below to glom some of the rarest pics of the Monkees, from the hard-to-find 1968 paperback, MONKEES GO APE! This book had tons of candid on-set photos from the movie HEAD, and have never been reproduced anywhere else! Davy waits on set! Peter and Micky take time out to grab lunch! The Monkees play with shoes for a jocular JC Penney (or was it for Thom McAn?) promotion! Peter gets into psychedelic pop! Click to enlarge!

Yes, I had Davy Jones sign my copy, in 1997! After I handed the book to him,
he glanced at it and said, "That's an odd one!"

Filming the HEAD "desert scenes" on location!

BONUS! Cast your disbelieving eyes below, to glare at ultra-rare 1978 pics of Davy and Micky on the road, and with lucky fans, in New Jersey!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Superior 70s SPIDER-MAN Sunday Strip! Spidey Super Shopper Stories?! 1977 Marvel!

Last time, Spidey actually caught a life-saving break when the evil Kraven displayed a rare blip of valor and refused to put the kibosh on our sagging superhero! What does the weary Wall-Crawler do do celebrate his quasi-victory? He hits Macy's! That's right, since Christmas '77 is hot on his heels, it's time to grab a groovy gift for dear old Aunt May! But, no celebrated crime-fighter like Spider-Man can be caught in a long line of confused consumers, right? Click below to enlarge this slice of Marvel greatness from Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.!

This installment was also sorta a cool Christmas gift to the strip's readers, from Stan and John!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mighty Marvel 1965 Office Stationery! Spider-Man! X-Men! Hulk! Steve Ditko!

Take a gander at this actual piece of mighty Marvel Comics in-office stationery! Merrily festooned with images of all the cavorting characters of the day, such as Spidey, Hulk, X-Men, Nick Fury, and even the Two-Gun Kid, this is one blast from comicdom's glory-studded past! Looks like one enterprising young and rabid fan even took this sheet on the rounds to acquire sensational signatures from Neal Adams, "jaunty" Jim Steranko, Walt Simonson(?), Stan Lee, and even Jack Kirby! Click to enlarge, history buffs!

BONUS: Make your own brain-bursting note paper, by printing this page (below), using it around the job site, and impressing your office pals and gals! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

SPIDER-MAN SPECIAL #6! The 1969 Color Comp! John Romita Sr.! Sinister Six!

You've seen the original art for this pulse-pounding cover, but here, below, is the incredible color comp for this riotous 1969 action scene! Created by John Romita Sr., this artwork simply has it all! Six of Spidey's main foes (indeed, this issue reprints the original "Sinister Six" storyline from five years earlier), action, drama, and terrific art! Looks as if this was used not only as color direction for the engraver, but also a rough sketch for planing the b/w art in general! Even JRSR's roughs are mind-blowing! Click to enlarge!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Angel! Iceman! 1976 Topps Sticker Set Production Art! Marvelmania!

Another look at some super-rare production art from the vaunted Topps vault! This time we look into the 2nd MARVEL SUPERHEROES set, which featured a series of senses-shattering stickers of all the Marvel madcaps, with "funny" word balloons attached to exciting (if familiar) poses! Here are the art boards for those two awesome X-Men, the Angel and Iceman! Looks like this art came from the pen of gracious Gil Kane, and it certainly is dynamic! The Topps designers took stats of the actual Kane art and pasted them to the boards, adding text and indicia, and everything you see on the final card! Then, a stat is made from that, and...Click to enlarge!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge the cover of CHAMPIONS #1, the source for the above awe-inspiring art!

Below: The actual wrappers (and point-of-purchase counter box) that housed these titanic sticker (and gum) sets!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SPIDER-MAN! 1977 Albert Bigley SPECTACULAR Artwork!? The Vulture! Marvel Mirth!

Another big one, from my checkered past! Here is my line-for-line (!) re-creation of the cover for SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #5! Well, it was the best I could do at age 11, in early 1977! Had I not heard of straight-edges or templates then?! I had a real thing for covering covers back then, having to include every line of text, indicia, and even UPC boxes! The original cover was drawn by dandy Dave Cockrum, when the title was still fresh and exciting, at a time when the world-weary Wall-Crawler only had three regular ongoing new titles! Compare that to the mind-numbing amount of poorly-produced periodicals he headlines today! Click to enlarge, art lovers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Monkees in the 80s! Davy Jones-Broke? Peter Tork-The Teacher?! Michael Nesmith-Video Pioneer!

Sure, most fans remember the mega-huge Monkees comeback/reunion of the mid-to-late 80s, but what was the band up to before those delirious days? Who recalls that Peter Tork was a short-term teacher in California? Micky was a successful director in merry ol' England! Michael was being recognized (and even won the first "video grammy" for) his video pioneering and creative work! Click to enlarge these many and varied clippings from the MTV era! Yes, I know a few come from the 70s, but...

Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart only lasted a little over a year, touring and creating one studio LP!

Peter did keep his hand in music and song-writing, and would resume touring with his solo shows shortly after this period!

Take this kinda article with a grain of salt, as they greatly exaggerated Davy's situation at the time! Note how they used a pic of him in heavy stage make-up, making him seem older and tired!

During this period, before the massively successful 1986 reunion, mainstream coverage of the Monkees, like this 1982 US magazine piece, was very rare!

Who recalls Michael's own 1985 NBC series, TV PARTS? That was how popular his one-shot ELEPHANT PARTS video was at the time!

Funny how Michael's TIME RIDER film foreshadowed the similar BACK TO THE FUTURE film series! And, Nez was one of the first to foresee our use of, and relationship to, television today!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sensational Spider-Man 70s Daily Strips! Kraven Backs Out! Jameson Drops Out! Marvel!

Last week, you saw Spidey on the ropes, and about to be defeated decisively by calamitous Kraven the Hunter! This time, the jungle-bred joker has second thoughts and displays a bit of actual valor, as he turns his lion-fur festooned back on an easy victory over the Wall-Crawler! Will such an example cause J.J. Jameson to re-evaluate his life and under-handed ways? Will Peter Parker be able to fight off his biggest threat yet--hoards of holiday shoppers? What do you think? Click to enlarge this week's worth of Marvel newspaper strip magic from 1977, all brought to you by Stan Lee and John Romita. Sr.!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

SHAZAM! Catching Up with Jackson Bostwick! 1974 DC Comics Saturday Morning Greatness!

Dig this FILMFAX magazine interview with Jackson Bostwick! Jackson portrayed the mighty "Captain Marvel" on the popular 1974 Saturday morning CBS series, SHAZAM! Altho not as well know (at the time) as Superman, the good Captain was making a comeback (since his sky-high heyday in the 1940s) due to being revived by DC Comics (Superman's publisher), becoming heavily merchandised (on shirts, action figures, toys, and posters), and, of course, headlining this exciting live-action Filmation show! Jackson talks about the series, his co-stars (like "Billy Batson" Michael Gray), and his new projects, so click to enlarge now! What are you waiting for? A call from "the Elders?!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Mystery of the Sandman's Sartorial Substitutions! Jack Kirby! 1967 Marvel Comics!

We all know that Jack "King" Kirby was an artistic genius. Called upon to not only draw comics, but design and execute covers, create colossal compositions, roughs, layouts, and even costume designs (among many other titanic tasks), Jack always came through like no other! When it was time for the Sandman (long-time Spider-Man foe) to brush up his image before tackling the Fantastic Four in 1967, Jack re-designed the granulated goon, taking him from the striped-shirt wearing felon (as designed by Steve Ditko) to an armored world-beater!

The Sandman's first appearance, in 1963!

The new dynamic duds helped to make Sandy seem more menacing and dangerous, but it also looks like Jack had even more in mind! Sandman was supposed to use his new threads as a sorta "home base," blasting his sandy body out of the hard shell center of the armor! He could later re-group, and put the chest piece back on! It looks as if Kirby intended for Sandy's arms and legs to be bare, further emphasizing the "chest piece" idea!

This is emphasized later in the same tale, as Sandy seems to lose more and more of the non-armored portions of his outfit!
Suddenly, Sandman has bare arms, wrist-bands, and no gloves!

As the story winds down, Sandy is now somehow wearing only his mask and trunks! Was Jack being forgetful (not unusual for him), as he raced to produce as many pages a day as possible, or did he intend for the adventuring Sandman to return to his "shell?" What if some passer-by walks away with his waiting armor?

Lastly, on the very cover to this senses-shattering issue, Sandy is in full costume, but has forgotten his mask! Sheesh! Click all images to enlarge, beach-bums!

Brain-Blasting BONUS! A fan-made Mego-style action figure of the Sandman, using Kirby's re-designed costume!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

1980 INCREDIBLE HULK TV Update! Less Lou? Banner on a Bus?! Marvel Comics!

From the page of a sensational STARLOG magazine, here is a 1980 update on the 4th season of the INCREDIBLE HULK TV show! Though the sulky superhero series was somewhat out of the fan and public eye at the time (it would lurch into cancellation at the end of the next season), its cash-strapped producers still had lots of fun and exciting plots up their sleeves! Who doesn't recall the dramatic "Prometheus" 2-parter, or the "evil" David Banner plot? But, what about the show we almost got to see? Can you imagine episodes with only one "Hulk-out" each? Also interesting to note the further changes to the format the producers had in mind if they didn't get the needed budget for the show! Click to enlarge!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Go Upside Down With The Monkees! 1980 Original Art by Albert Bigley! Davy Jones?!

It's 1980. I was 15, and in 10th grade. THE MONKEES show hadn't run in syndication in my area since late 1977 (and I won't see it air regularly again until MTV famously runs it in 1986), but I still dug the group (since the early 70s), and the four LPs (and two 8-tracks) in my possession. I was just about to embark on collecting the remaining albums and fan magazines and such, due to obtaining my newly-minted driver's license (and transportation to comic conventions and pop culture dealers) in about 6 months, but, in those days before eBay and the internet, it was quite a difficult (but rewarding) job! About that time, I decided to whip up a drawing of the group, as I recalled them (no VCRs yet to record the show, but I had used my audio recorder for the 70s reruns) performing in some scenes in front of the famed "seamless rainbow" set! I also tried to remember their dress, instrument set-ups, and positions in such segments, getting almost none of those details right, all without benefit of many photos. Click to enlarge this ink-and-colored-pencil monstrosity, if you feel you must.

So, exactly what is Micky wearing?! And, is that a speaker or an amp behind Micky, or a steamer trunk?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spectacular Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strip! Spidey Falls! Kraven Triumphs? 1977 Marvel Mirth!

Last time, you gasped at the sight of a week's worth of Spidey strips leading to this terrific Sunday color installment, and it sure is a doozy! An injured Spidey, after giving his all to save the evil and crafty Kraven, now possibly pays the ultimate price for his selfless deed! He's down, but is he out (for good)? Things already look bad, and here comes ever-meddling J. Jonah Jameson, to boot! It's mind-melting mayhem from the Marvel mavens Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.! Click to enlarge, Web-Snappers!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nyuk! The THREE STOOGES! 1975 Moe Howard Interview! Curly! Larry!

From the pages of the venerable FILMFAX magazine, comes this great current (well, if you're a nut like me, and consider 1975 as "current") interview with the lead Stooge himself, Moe Howard! Even at his advanced age, Moe is wonderfully lucid, covering not only his time with the Stooges, but his thoughts on the many media touched by the boys, including live vaudeville, the famous film shorts, TV, and even the parental groups that were already bemoaning the oh-so-terrible Stooge "violence" and easily-copied mayhem!  He even delves into the lives of Curly, Larry, Shemp, and even the under-appreciated Joe Besser! A great bit of (kinda) living history about the comedy team that's still thrilling and entertaining millions in the new millennium! Click to enlarge!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thor's Giant EGO! The Inside Facts on the "Living Planet!" 1975 Marvel Mayhem!

More on Thor! From a 1975 fact-piece from delightful DYNAMITE magazine, here is the complete inside scoop on one of Thor's (and Marvel Comics') oddest villains: Ego, the Living Planet!  First created in the 60s by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the visual imprint and impact of Ego has to be the most unique and unforgettable in all of comics! He's basically a planet with a face! Sure, Ego can control his basic appearance, environment, structure, and where his "face" (and anything else he wants) manifests, but he's still a weird and wonderful foe for the ages! Click below to enlarge this installment, and learn all ya ever wanted to about this sentient, space-born mud-ball!