Saturday, September 29, 2012

1973 Saturday Morning Cartoons! One Frustrated Fan's Review! SUPER FRIENDS! STAR TREK!

From the manic maniacs at MONSTER TIMES, here is an interesting review of 1973 Saturday morning TV fare! In those pre-cable/VCR days, one could take in the entire 5-hour animation-fest without breaking a sweat (he musta had multiple sets plugged in), tho now it's hard to believe that kids and fans only got that brief weekly blast when it came to enjoying new animated shows and specials! I was 8 years old in 1973, and, as a long-standing superhero and comics fan, was looking forward to the debut of SUPER FRIENDS, only to be crushed by the weak stories, poor animation, and bland characterization (and 8-year olds are generally easy to please)! Meddling and self-appointed parental safety groups, such as ACT (Action for Children's Television), had stepped in by that time, demanding such shows cut out punching, violence, and anything considered even remotely exciting! Hence, the Justice League DC Comics superheroes simply hung out, talked, then rushed off to fight mostly environmental (it was 1973) menaces! Yawn. At least he gave big props to the famed STAR TREK series! What shows were your faves? Click to enlarge, time-travelers!

BONUS! From the same issue of MT, this clipping (below) takes another look at the STAR TREK animated series!

BONUS BONUS! Want to see the ultra rare 1973 ABC Saturday morning preview special, featuring a look at many of the above shows, and a live-action Superman and Batman? Just click below!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Superman vs. Spider-Man! The Cover Design! Carmine Infantino At His Best! DC/Marvel!

One of the biggest, most unique events of the swingin' 70s was the oversized tabloid comic one-shot, SUPERMAN VS THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! The DC and Marvel Comics universes were much more defined and different then (imagine a teaming of the Archie comics gang with the cast of the DIE HARD movies), and fans were eager to see how the two superhero firms (and their top characters) would gel! Turned out, when ya got such stellar artistic talents on both sides, you couldn't go wrong! The art on the giant comic was provided by Ross Andru (with some input from none other than Neal Adams) and a host of top inkers, including Dick Giordano! The cover was even designed by DC's top art director and publisher then, Carmine Infantino! Here are many of Carmine's ideas for the never-to-be-forgotten cover art of this cataclysmic clash of the titans! Click images to enlarge!

Funny to hear of all the jockeying for position between the two companies! They fought
over which character got more coverage on the cover, whose logo appeared first, etc.!

How did such an pandemonium-packed project come into being? In the early 70s, author and literary agent David Obst suggested to Marvel head Stan Lee, and DC editorial director Carmine Infantino, that there should be a movie crossover featuring Marvel's Spider-Man and DC's Superman characters! However, there was already a Superman movie in the works (the first Chris Reeve movie in the franchise), and a series of CBS Spider-Man TV movies, so instead, the two firms settled for an oversized comic that teamed the two titular titans! Thanks to BACK ISSUE! magazine for the above clipping of even more cover pencil roughs!

BONUS: Look below to learn the possible real reasons that the above titanic tabloid was conjured into existence!

The above clipping comes courtesy
of a 1976 SMASH magazine!

BONUS BONUS! I was so impressed, that at age 11, I even tried my hand at drawing this terrific scene! Click here to see the results!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Superman Across The World! "Nembo Kid?!" Silver Age DC Comics Surprise!

Wow! From a 1968 JIMMY OLSEN special, here is a panic-inducing piece about the many SUPERMAN overseas editions distributed then! We all knew that such a famous superhero was known all over the globe, but dig just how wide-spread his influence truly was! And how about those translations? Superman is the "Nembo Kid?" Supergirl is known as "Stalflickan?" Batman is called the "Leather Patch?" And, will USA readers ever get to see those custom-made Italian SUPERMAN tales?! Click to enlarge!

BONUS! Look below for a rare glimpse at a cache of DC overseas comics, in 
this blurb from the AMAZING WORLD OF SUPERMAN, a 1973 oversized DC tabloid edition comic!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Gruesome and Ghoulish Green Goblin! All the Dastardly DYNAMITE Dope! 1975 Marvel Comics Mirth!

Let's look again at another encapsulated info sheet on another famed sinister super-foe, courtesy of a 1975 DYNAMITE magazine clipping! This time, it's Spider-Man's deadliest foe, the grinning Green Goblin! The lovable lunks at the magazine have picked an amazingly beautiful excerpt for the spread, coming from the second 1968 SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN magazine, and what an excerpt! The Goblin was the only foe to know Spidey's real identity, making him especially dangerous! Marvel writers knew the value of such a great baddie, bringing him back endless times in Spidey's books, even in the guise of the original GG's son! Click below to enlarge this fact-piece, and keep they webs untangled!

Makes ya wonder why more super-villains don't do what Gobby did, and just
follow the hero back to his home, thus learning his (or her) secret identity!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Monkees! In Paris! In the 70s! In Trouble! More Rare Pics! Davy Jones!

Back again with more MonkeeMania! Click below to enlarge these pics of the Monkees romping around Paris in 1967, as they film a well-regarded episode for the 2nd season of their Emmy-award winning TV show for NBC! Many of these images come from the British MONKEES MONTHLY magazine, and candid shots like these prove that the guys had real off-screen chemistry, even when the cameras were not filming!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge these images from the 1970s, as each Monkees member went solo!

Davy Jones in a fan-made snapshot, backstage at one of his solo shows in 1975!

From a 1976 CREEM magazine, it's hard to decide if the trying-hard-to-be-clever
writer really dug DJB&H, or not!  This article is indicative of feelings toward the Monkees
 in the 70s! Thanks to Scott Catton for this!

The punk rockers embraced the Monkees, and clubs such as CBGB's not only
welcomed Tork, but Davy and Micky,for their 70s shows, too!

Of course, Tork, along with the other Monkees, would bounce back in a huge way, as lucrative
reunion tours, albums, and other projects would keep the group in the spotlight from the mid-80s to the present!

ABOVE: Images of Micky Dolenz, in the late 70s, as he embarked on a solo career, after
his Monkees and "Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart" years! MD looks odd trying to come off as a tennis-playing proto-yuppie!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sensational 70s Spider-Man Strips! Dr. Doom's Deadly Plan! 1978 MarvelMania!

Last time, our scene suddenly switched to the land of Latveria, where ever-evil Dr. Doom is laying down putrid plans for world domination! Why is the dastardly Doom kidnapping unsuspecting innocent citizens? How does our worried Web-Slinger figure into this? And, how close is Latveria to the USA, since cops can trail a (flying) car right up to the tiny country's border? More high-flying Marvel madness, from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.!  Click below to enlarge, then leap to here for the next full-color nail-biting installment, True Believer!

Note how writer Lee adds little realistic and thoughtful touches, like Peter
complaining about the small irritants that come with being a superhero!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

1966 Aurora ROBIN Model Kit! "Comics Scenes" Greatness! DC Comics!

It's the Robin model kit! Here is my built-up and finished version of this well-known hobby toy! Originally issued in 1966 by the awesome Aurora plastics folks, the same cavortin' company that gave us the other well-crafted DC and Marvel figure kits, such as Batman, Hulk, and Captain America! The same kit was later re-issued as part of the mid-70s "Comic Scenes" line-up, but with an updated head sculpt, one that better reflected the "teen wonder" look of the junior hero of the 70s! Click below to enlarge each image!

I always dug how Robin's mask in the 70s was green (not black), so I used that color scheme here!

I also had fun painting the computer control board a solid reflective silver (with custom panel stickers), with a black-tiled lab floor!

I added gloss overcoat touches to Robin's hair, belt, and gloves, keeping all else a dull matte!

Despite years of nicely-made superhero statues, busts, and maquettes, nobody has topped
the 60s Aurora sculptors when it comes to action, anatomy, and drama in their kits!

Friday, September 21, 2012

An Un-Marvelous Evening With Stan Lee?! 1972 Marvel Comics Live Event Review! Spidey!

Most comics fans of a--ahem--certain age recall ads for the live "Marvel-ous Evening With Stan Lee" event, a spectacular happening hyped in all early-70s Marvel comic books! It was an intoxicating night of Stan Lee chatting up a live audience (which would hip him to the idea of delivering a steady stream of similar lecture-tours on myriad college campuses in the years to come), along with appearances from many Marvel staffers such as Herb Trimpe and John Romita, Sr., who spent part of the evening drawing up a storm via overhead projectors for their panicked and panting public! It was a once-in-a-lifetime Carnegie Hall event for any fan, but at least one Marvelite was not amused! Click below to read a ruinous review from the pages of the famed fanzine, MONSTER TIMES! Dry your disbelieving eyes, and click to enlarge!

It seems Marvel's only mis-step was to launch this epic event a bit too late for this long-in-the-tooth former-Marvel-fan reviewer!

Below: Click to enlarge this image of the original poster for the "Marvel-ous Evening with Stan Lee!"

Below: The original Marvel "Bullpen Bulletins" shout-out, hyping the event!

Below: The captivated crowd admires the poster for this awesome event!

Above: One of the many drawings created live
during the event! Here we see a cavortin' Cap
America, direct from the hand of John Romita, Sr.!

Below: A rare 1972 article about Marvel, the event, and producer Stephen Lemberg (who would go on to helm the Spider-Man ROCKOMIC record album), from NEW YORK SUNDAY NEWS! Thanks to BookSteve's Library for this one!

Below: Say it ain't so! Yet another poor review of this comics-saturated concert!

Big thanks to Steven Thompson for the above article!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spectacular SPIDER-MAN 70s Strip! Special Guest--George Burns?! 1978 Marvel Mayhem!

Last time, we dried our tear-stained eyes as a disappointed Spidey saw his dreams of fame and adulation dashed, as a seething super-villain systematically wrecked the Hollywood movie the Web-Slinger was starring in! Now, upon his return home to neighborly New York, he deals with Aunt May and her unquenchable mania for George Burns (still a huge star then, with OH GOD! not long out of theaters), jolly J.J. Jameson (why doesn't Pete go to the competition and be done with that blustery blowhard?), and his ever-lackluster love-life. But, what new menace looms? Will Spidey's unifom be besmirched by the droppings of the plentiful pigeons? Will they clog the already crowded NY skyline? Or, do they portend something much more sinister? Click below to enlarge this installment, then web-sling over here to get the next full-color Sunday strip chapter!

Friday, September 14, 2012

MORE Off-Model Madness! Batman Melts! DC Comics Embarrassment!

Back again with another look at the pulse-impeding phenomenon called "off-model madness!" This was an eye-irritating (but fairly common) occurrence in the days before today's committee-approved style guides and artwork used in merchandising. How did such artistic atrocities even occur at all then? Usually a poorly-paid and put-upon staff artist at the toy or book firm would take ink brush in hand and badly copy an existing image of the character, then fit said drawing on the product, resulting in some less-than-terrific products stinking up store shelves! Click below to enlarge these mind-melting examples, from the (only in the) 1970s!

Above: Poor Batman. As drawn (on the right) by jocular Jim Aparo on this 1975 DETECTIVE COMICS cover, he's strong, commanding, and lithe. But, on the pitiful box art for the "Batmobile," he's melty, weak, and wearing the wrong colors. Fail!

Above: The two image below the toy show Neal Adams' masterful early-70s rendition of the 
Masked Manhunter, and its many extra uses on covers, and elsewhere! However, the above "Socker Boppers" knock-off toy uses a shaky tracing done by some poor slob who probably never held a pencil in his life! Fail!

Above: Lest you feel such aesthetic-bruising horrors only occurred in the "anything goes" 70s, cast your orbs upon this 60s wreck, produced during the mania of the mid-60s BATMAN TV craze! And--Batman using a gun?! Just plain fail!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Rare Marvel UK Covers! The HULK and the Defenders! 1975 Ron Wilson Art!

Another little-seen piece of cover art, this time from rampagin' Ron Wilson (penciller) and mighty Mike Esposito (inker)! These alternate covers where done for the many overseas reprints of domestic Marvel material, and were an added treat for comic fans in those countries! The changes were done not only for aesthetic or sales purposes, but also to meet the needs of different foreign formats and sizes! Here is the cover for the 1975 issue of the long-running UK imprint, MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL, which spotlighted a dynamic DEFENDERS tale! Click to enlarge!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge this fabulous 1976 UK cover (along with it's American counterpart), believed to have been produced by Ron Wilson and Frank Giacoia!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Aquaman Attacks! 1975 Albert Bigley Original Art! DC Comics?!

Another fabulous masterpiece (?) from my youth! Here is my take of the aquatic avenger himself, Aquaman! This action-oriented piece was drawn by me in 1975, at age 10, after being greatly impressed by the beginning of a wonderful (and still largely overlooked) Aquaman run in ADVENTURE COMICS, one which actually led to the Sea King receiving his own book again! I was not only inspired by amazing artist Jim Aparo and the wonderful use of action, foreshortening, and drama in his art, but even his signature! I desperately tried to ape his famed "JA" personalization, coming up with my own "AB" trademark, as you see in this illo on the lower left! Not too bad for a youngster trying to depict the unappreciated undersea emperor! Click to enlarge!

Good thing those sea-faring thugs are such terrible shots! And, what the heck kind of guns are they using?!

BONUS! Click below to see the cover that inspired this sea-soaked 
sensational scribble! The start of the awesome 70s Aqua-epic, ADVENTURE COMICS #442!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SPIDER-MAN # 143! Original 1975 Gil Kane Cover Art! The Cyclone Cometh! Marvel!

Yet another biggie from that prolific and productive penciller, Gil Kane! Here, we see the 1975 b/w original art for one of his most famous covers, that of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #143! A deadly new villain, the Cyclone, comes a-gunnin' for the weary Web-Slinger, and Gil is up to top form, serving up action, drama, movement, and menace, all in one incredible illustration! This comes during a fondly-remembered period in Spidey history, when the Wall-Climber faced a cache of new foes, such as the Grizzly, the Jackal, Mindworm, Tarantula, and others! Click here to see even more of Gil's sensation scribbles, and click below to enlarge this image!

Monday, September 10, 2012

STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE! 1979 Article and Extras! Kirk! Spock!

Celebrating the 1966 September premiere of STAR TREK on NBC-TV, we once again dial up those dandy darlings at DYNAMITE magazine, with this 1979 article on the long-awaited pic, STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE! Get all the inside scoops on this stellar screen sensation that re-united the crew of the Enterprise for the first time after a decade! Remember how Leonard Nimoy ("Spock") almost didn't participate? Recall the controversy over adding more crew members like Decker and Ilia? Today's fans are used to a deluge of TREK shows, movies, websites and products, but in those days, with only reruns of the original show to tide trembling Trekkers over, this film was indeed an exciting event! Click below to enlarge images!

BONUS: Click below to enlarge this exciting 1976 TREK convention report, 
from the pages of the famed comics fanzine, ROCKET'S BLAST!

Does the convention description sound pretty dull to you? Keep in mind that this was not only the era before the internet, but also before home VCRs and such, so the showing of TV reruns on a large screen, and viewing slide shows of TREK art, were both activities you could only do at such shows and events!

BONUS BONUS! Recognize the art behind that con dealer in the 2nd-to-last 
pic above? It appeared on a 1967 TV GUIDE cover! Click below!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Splendid 70s SPIDER-MAN Strips! Mysterio--the Winner?! 1978 Marvelmania!

Last time, we gazed in astonished awe as Spidey, during the shooting of a movie about the wondrous Web-Slinger, was almost done in by a Mysterio who was playing for real! This time, we watch the disappointed do-gooder deliver his best acting as he sends a misguided son back into his father's arms! Will Spidey ever find happiness in life or love? Will the world ever recognize him for the hero  he truly is? Will Stan Lee stop using terms (like "sit on it") that were already dated by the time this 1978 newspaper strip appeared? Click below to enlarge this senses-staggering sample of graphic greatness, from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr., then catch your breath and blast on over here to take in the next colossal color installment!

Stan Lee tries to capture the times, with a mention of a "sandworm" from the then-new STAR WARS film!

BONUS: Click below for a sensational 70s pic of smilin' Stan Lee himself, as well as a few costumed convention carousers!