Monday, December 31, 2012

Fruity 1966 Batman "Pop Tart" Comics! The Mad Hatter Strikes! DC Comics!

What's that? You thought the idea of ramming attractive and colorful promotional freebies into food products (thus promoting added interest in said items) was a new innovation? Perish the thought! Here is a look at one of the rare 1966 Kellogg's Pop Tarts BATMAN comics, made available only inside packs of those delicious fruit-flavored fat-packed pockets! Of course, such added attractions came in the wake of the still-recalled 1966 wave of Batmania, due to the incredible success of the ABC-TV show! Tho a few of these mini-masterpieces have been reprinted officially, most have not! Below is the famed MAD HATTER'S HAT CRIMES give-away, with art by SUPERMAN mainstay, Wayne Boring! Click to enlarge pages!

As you can see, these comics were not big on intricate plot or characterization, simply
mimicking the basic plotlines of the 1966 BATMAN TV show, but adding little else!
It is great to see Batman and crew depicted by artist Wayne Boring!

BONUS! Look below to glare at the actual 1966 Pop Tarts box that housed these little consolidated comics!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shattering Sunday 70s SPIDER-MAN Strips! Aunt May--Dead? Marvel Comics!

Last time, we saw a desperate Peter Parker feign his own faint, in an awkward attempt to outwit some malign muggers! But, has his Aunt-saving act only served to harm dear old May? Peter has been so careful to keep his secret identity safe from the frail old octogenarian, but now he has to rely on his Spidey ID to rescue her! Can he make it? Will all his powers be for naught, at the time he most needs them? Will that frantic phantom photographer put Pete's secret ID in jeopardy? And--why do these strips look like artist John Romita, Sr. had some outside help this time around? Click below to enlarge, then wall-crawl over to here for the next full-color installment!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Fleeting FLASH Facts! 1975 DYNAMITE Magazine Fast Feature! DC Comics!

Back again with a special piece from those diverting dudes at DYNAMITE magazine! This time, we peer in on their dizzying dossier on DC Comics' fleet-footed Flash! Learn how Barry Allen became the second swingin' superhero to bear that name! Read the rapid run-down on his awesome origin, and see actual excerpts from his 1956 (it's this comic book than fans point to as the very start of the "Silver Age" of comics) DC debut! Click images below to enlarge!

The art in the above sample was pencilled by Carmine Infantino, who'd
later become known as the main artist on the 60s FLASH comics!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge the very cover that housed the Flash's 1956 debut!

In addition to a dynamic new costume design, note how artist Infantino gave this new Flash
a lithe, thin runner's body, as opposed to the usual over-muscular
physique the majority of super-doers get saddled with!

Friday, December 28, 2012

DAREDEVIL #77! DD Meets Spidey, Subby, and Sal! Original 1971 Buscema Cover Art!

Take a goggle-eyed gander at the incredible cover for 1971's DAREDEVIL #77! This powerful piece of original art was created by Sal Buscema, and depicts not only DD, but two gallivantin' guest stars: the savage Sub-Mariner and Spider-Man! Sal was the younger brother of John Buscema, of course, and during this time he was making waves as cover and interior artist on some AVENGERS and SUB-MARINER issues, but was soon to be known as the regular pencil-pusher on MARVEL TEAM-UP and THE INCREDIBLE HULK titles! Click below to enlarge!

Thanks to Comic Arts Gallery for this one!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Superman Meets Batgirl! 1974 Original Nick Cardy Cover Art! DC Comics!

Another biggie! Who doesn't recall this amazing 1974 cover to SUPERMAN #279? Whomped up by that peerless artist, Nick Cardy, here was a rare teaming of Superman with Batman's long-time crime-crushing companion, Batgirl! Need I say that, in addition to Nick being a master at depicting action, depth, and speed, he was also quite swell at delineating the female form? This b/w art page comes from a 70s children's coloring set, which included two other reproduced mammoth covers for keyed-up kids to maul! Click image below to enlarge!

Note the removal of the large black shaded areas on Batgirl's thighs!
Did the toy makers think kids needed more "open" areas to color?
 They did a pretty sloppy job of re-drawing her legs!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Monkees! 1966 Debut Coverage! Take TIME to LOOK!

Talk about rare finds! Here are three awesome articles, all reporting on the panic-inducing September, 1966 debut of THE MONKEES! FIrst up is a piece from LOOK magazine, with some very rare on-set pics of the embryonic band! Next, a terrific TIME report on the debut of the NBC juggernaut! Lastly, the nervous nebbishes at NEWSWEEK take a turn, wondering if such an oddball TV venture will even last, or be remembered! Can ya believe it?! Click each to enlarge!

Note how even then, there was already great (and unnecessary) critical hand-wringing
over the Monkees "manufactured" origins, as well as the influence the
Beatles had on this and, honestly, any
other then-current pop venture!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy HULK-idays! 1975 Marvel Calendar! Original Sal Buscema Comic Art!

What? Didn't I just generously produce a holiday-hued HULK image for ya? Well, gird your loins for yet another Bronze Age blast, as I look even further back in time, to bring you this magnificent Marvel morsel! Here is ol' Greenskin, drawn by his main 70s artist, Sal Buscema! Not only do we see both the original art for this entry (below, left), and the published printed version (right), but we also get a rare glimpse at Sal inking his own pencil art in the 70s! Sure, SB would later do such in the 90s and on, but back then, his pencils were almost always inked by such dandy delineators as Jack Abel, Mike Esposito, and sometimes even Klaus Janson! What are ya waitin' for--Santa?! Click below to enlarge!

Note how Sal was able to bring a jolly "kid-friendly" look to Santa and his
reindeer team in this piece! Such versatility is a mark of a true artist!

Monday, December 24, 2012

At Last! See the SUPERMAN Bake-a-Craft! 1975 DC Comics Toy!

One of my very first posts here was all about the rare 1975 Bake-A-Craft Batman and Robin stained glass toys! But, as soon as that pair of ponderous posts hit the internet like a bomb-burst, frantic fans started whispering about the existence of a sensational Superman version included in this simple, but colorful, beaded Bronze Age craft line! Wait no more! Feast you eyes below to see the Superman sun-catcher, as well as the now-rare packaging for this terrific set! Thanks to collector Jim Alexander for this! Click image to enlarge!

I forgot about the now-charming mis-coloring of the character's costumes
on the packaging! Something you'd never see today, with style guide-happy
committees now in charge of merchandising!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Special Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! Joe Robertson's Secret! 1978 Marvel Comics!

Last time, a crime-stopping Spidey was spotted by passing concerned coppers, and immediately mis-identified as a rooftop crook! Now on the lam again, the sad-sack superhero learns that one of the thwarted thugs is related to jolly Joe "Robbie" Robertson, one of Pete's long-time pals! Watch the wiggly web tighten, as Pete seems to have been given a rare opportunity to quickly wrap things up, all nice and clean! But wait--Aunt May is now back in danger and--Oh, just click below to read for yourself, then web-sling over here for the next full-color installment of this wild webbed-wreathed wonderment!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Remembering BATMAN AND ROBIN! George Clooney! 1997 DC Comics Movie Madness!

I know. Hardcore fanboys don't want to even think about 1997's BATMAN AND ROBIN movie. To be fair, who can blame them? By this 4th BATMAN flick, things had gotten so overblown and flamboyant, the poor Caped Crusader himself got buried under the excesses of rubber action suits, endless Bat-gadgets, a ridiculous over-abundance of added superheroes and super-villains, and over-done production values! But, given the recent (2005-2012) deadly dull (and inexplicably popular) BATMAN films, it is darned refreshing to look back at a time when nobody was afraid to produce a fun Batman adventure! Click below to read this ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY article about the making of the 1997 film, it's great (but poorly-used) guest-stars, and even how angry (and eternally entertaining) fanboys and DC editors were starting to fret and sweat over the direction the franchise had taken! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Spider-Man Unmasked?! 1976 Albert Bigley Comic Art?! Marvel?!

Look at what my vast team of researchers has just unearthed! Here's another one of my meticulous comic cover re-creations, drawn by me at age 11, in 1976! My love for the fabulous artwork of John Romita, Sr. was, even then, firmly entrenched in my heart and mind, and you can sure see that in this drawing! Using the cover to this Spider-Man reprint as my guide, I just had to imitate the way JRSR drew Spidey, Peter Parker, his pals, and even their snazzy (tho very dated by '76) clothing! Romita excelled not only with high-flying superhero action, but in drawing "real people," folds, locales, and backgrounds! Everything drawn by him seemed wonderfully perfect! Click to below to enlarge!

Note how often I erased and re-drew Spidey's "sad" eyes, and the clothing
on the characters! I also couldn't resist changing (gasp) Stan Lee's snazzy
cover dialog! I also recall hating drawing on graph paper!
But, when that was all ya had...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

LOIS LANE #87! The Jack Adler Color Guide! 1968 DC Comics Rarity!

I've already shown you the awesome alternate cover (by Neal Adams) to the ground-breaking LOIS LANE #87, but now get set for the colossal color guide for that issue's published cover! Prepared by jocular Jack Adler, here is the color instruction sheet (used by the engravers at the printing facility) indicating not only basic color schemes, but shading and text coloring, too! Jack was DC's talented production man for many decades, not only providing these kind of guides, but helping to usher in new printing techniques and eye-catching innovations (including photo covers), introducing new formats, and hiring other forward-thinking artists and creative folks into the production staff! Click below to enlarge!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #5! The Original Cover Art! Gil Kane Does It Again!

What? Another great piece of Marvel cover art by "gregarious" Gil Kane? All true! Cast your disbelieving orbs below, and take in the awesome image that fronted the oddly-named GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #5, a 1975 comic book that teamed the Webbed One with the equally unfortunately named Man-Thing (who headed his own book at the time, called, yes, GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING)! Once again, Gil swings to the fore with dynamic art that's overflowing with movement, action, and drama! Click here to see another fabulous Giant-Size Gil cover, then click to enlarge the image below, True Believers! And, if this power-packed post doesn't win the award for the most generous use of hyphens, I don't know what will!

Thanks to the folks at COOLLINES ARTWORK for this scan!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Making of TV's SUPER FRIENDS! 1975 JUSTICE LEAGUE Article! Alex Toth! DC!

Dig this great 3-page synopsis of how the well-remembered SUPER FRIENDS cartoon was assembled! This fabulous piece comes direct from a 1975 DC issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE, and features a great (but very simplified) detailing of how much work went into the making of each colorful animated episode! We're also treated to some very rarely-seen masterful model sheets and storyboards by revered comics master Alex Toth (whose amazing designs and art, sadly, did not carry over to the finished televised production)! Click to enlarge!

"Holy Guano?" Heh. Altho it was a fun novelty to see the Justice League in an 
animated show, the episodes featured weak and watered-down plots, 
animation, and art, due to the twin terrors of cost-cutting and 
watchful parental group worries! See a fairly accurate critique here!

BONUS! Click below to watch an excerpt of "The Baffles Puzzle" episode, the same one being discussed in the article above!

Monday, December 17, 2012

More Overseas Marvel Covers! THOR! IRON MAN! Silver Age Madness!

Let's stare at some more great and rare foreign Marvel covers from the 60s and 70s! As you can see, these talented Spanish artists were tops at re-interpreting the already existing published images that appeared a few years prior on the fronts of the American issues! Dig this great, painted work spotlighting Thor, Cap, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and more! Click here to see many more of these pulse-pounding paintings! Click each image below to enlarge!

BONUS: Click below to enlarge some of the familiar USA versions of these time-tested cover images!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Superlative Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! Aunt May--in Trouble! Marvel Comics!

Last time, Spidey triumphed (sorta) over deadly Dr. Doom, and was enjoying a rare celebratory spirit! But, little does he suspect that dear ol' Aunt May is now in nerve-janglin' jeopardy, not from a raving super-villain, but a roving gang of hoods! Will Spidey catch on and send these losers to jail, before sweet May can be harmed? Will his reward be only to see himself misunderstood by the NYC police-again? And--how slow are those rubberneckers on the street, anyway?! More rare 1978 newspaper strips from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, then web-whip here for the next full-color Sunday strip installment!

"You sure those dudes weren't hasslin' you?" Ah, it was the 70s...