Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Amazing Impact of Neal Adams' INHUMANS! Black Bolt Lives! Marvel Comics!

Any comics fan (worth his or her salt) knows the panel. It's from a 1971 issue of the "split" two-feature comic, AMAZING ADVENTURES. It features silent Black Bolt, leader of the hidden group, the Inhumans, flying dramatically toward the viewer, as his dearest subjects wave him on. I first encountered said comic book in a North Carolina 5th grade classroom in 1976, at age 11. The teacher in said room kept a small stack of 4-year-old Marvel comics in a cubby at the back of the room, and, for rare "free reading" periods, salivating students got to raid the treasured stash. Long story short, most of those comics somehow made their way into the collection I still own to this day! So impactful were those comics, I had to have them! Who knew Neal Adams (best known for his work at rival DC Comics on BATMAN and other titles) even drew for Marvel, let alone applied his pencils to such obscure strips like THE INHUMANS?! But, I was not alone in my awe over the incredible images seen in that issue. The sensational 7-11 folks decided to slap that same gripping graphic onto their then-ubiquitous "Slurpee" cups, during their 2nd amazing offering of Marvel cups, in 1977! Click below to enlarge images!

Above: The senses-shattering 1971 original art for that memorable
"splash page" of AMAZING ADVENTURES #5, by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer!

Above: The printed version!

Above: The 1977 7-11 store "Slurpee" cup, utilizing that same spectacular drawing!

Above: Gatzen Lauder, billed as the "Mexican Captain Superstar America," is
seen holding the above cup, as he makes a personal appearance during
the "Children's Celebration" in Guerrero, Mexico, in 2003!

Above: A closer look at the famed cup, as seen during the celebration!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Catching up with The HULK! In 1978 and 1990! Lou Ferrigno Speaks! HULK Blooper! Marvel!

Dig these rare tidbits and clippings from the late 70s heydey of that titan of TV, THE INCREDIBLE HULK! You'll see media sell-sheets, articles, pics, interviews (with stars Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, as well as producer Kenny Johnson), and more! Click images below to enlarge!

The above 1978 STARLOG clipping once again emphasizes the distaste
producer Ken Johnson had for the Green Goliath's comic book birthplace!

BONUS! Click below to see a rare 1990 clip from ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT! Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno discuss THE DEATH OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK, a TV movie that would be the last (due, sadly, to the death of Bixby in 1993) of the "reunion films" for the series.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Flash! Shocking 1976 Ernie Chan Original Cover Art! DC Comics!

You just don't see that many original covers by Ernie Chan surface, but here is one of his best! It's the 1976 cover to FLASH #242, and it spotlights the Scarlet Speedster in all his glory! Note how Ernie used a great deal of added White-Out over the black background, to add an even more dynamic spark effect around the main figure! Add a dramatic sense of depth and composition, and you have yet another eye-catching cover from the Bronze Age! Click below to enlarge!

Dig that ignored note (lower left) to add the dramatic title to the cover! Thanks to the site for this terrific cover image!

Monday, January 28, 2013

More UK Marvel Comics Covers! Fantastic Four! Ghost Rider! Ron Wilson Art!

This is a blog that loves to feature odd or little-seen comic art and oddities, and here are some more fabulous 70s covers, published only in the United Kingdom! Once again, Ron Wilson stepped up to the plate to deliver two powerful images for the horizontally-formated English comics, basing them on the original USA-created stories inside! Click below to enlarge the original art for these two captivatin' covers!

Ya gotta wonder how well the Ghost Rider was received in England, since he was largely a product of the Evel Knievel stunt-cyclist craze in the USA!

BONUS! Click below to see a pic of rampagin' Ron Wilson himself!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spectacular Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! Spidey Closes in on Crime! Marvel!

Last time, we saw a malicious mob of muggers make clear their threat, as they readied their weapons to wage war with the Wall-Crawler, police, and anyone else who blinked! Now, the wrinkled web draws ever tighter, involving not only Peter Parker/Spidey, but his long-time pal, reliable Robbie Robertson! Will Spidey (or Robbie) win out over these low-lying lowbrows? Can Robbie's nephew be saved? And--when does that tricked-out van come into play? Get set for more high-flying superhero action, in these rare 1978 strips from the pens of Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, then web-whip over to here for the next full-color installment, True Believers!

Always loved those little touches of "realism" in Stan Lee's scripts, such as Spidey being
hampered by a sudden downpour! You never saw that kinda thing happen to Superman!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Al Bigley Talks About The Monkees on THE SOUTHERN COLLECTOR!

In the late 90s, I was invited to be part of a local cable-access show in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. The show was called THE SOUTHERN COLLECTOR, and it cast a light on interesting collections and fans from the area! Here, at long last, are my three appearances on the show, taped consecutively in one sitting, in 1999! Watch me talk about the Monkees, their music, cool collectibles for fellow fans, and the then-current state of Monkees fandom, including the fever-pitch appreciation for the band's new JUSTUS CD! Click below to watch each short episode, see some rare Monkees collectibles, and hear some interesting tidbits! Just please overlook the semi-mullet.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Savage SUB-MARINER's Sea-Born 60s Story! The Salty Saga! Marvel Comics!

Again with those delightful and dapper darlings at DYNAMITE magazine! Here they are, in 1975, presenting the long-range look-back origin tale of the not-so-sanguine Sub-Mariner! Even tho the salty sea-goer harkens back to the late 30s, the insightful editors chose a fairly recent segment, from 1968's SUB-MARINER #1 (Subby's first solo comic since his book's original cancellation in the 50s), to spotlight the sea king's early days, even including how he made the decades-spanning jump into modern Marvel comics (with a little help from the Fantastic Four's Human Torch)! Stan Lee was very careful and selective in bringing back older superheroes from the "Golden Age," only reviving Subby, Captain America, and a few others from the 40s and 50s, to powerful effect in the 60s! Click below to enlarge and learn all about this water-logged warrior!

The above segment showcases some terrific art by John Buscema, one of Subby's main artists of the 60s!

Sub-Mariner (as well as the Hulk) was one of Marvel's famed "anti-heroes," 
characters that were relatively heroic, but still out for their own interests 
and security. A huge difference over other company's heroes,
with their very limited or unrealistically defined motivations.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Recalling the Bat-Backlash Over BATMAN RETURNS! 1992 DC Comics Movie!

Now that the deadly-dull Chris Nolan BATMAN film franchise has run its over-long course, let's look back at the early days of the 80s/90s live-action BATMAN films, when it was director Tim Burton's dark Dickens-esque series that made casual viewers (not fanboys) upset! Why? Adults still thought any BATMAN celluloid feature should be aimed squarely at kids, and once they got an eyeful of scenes depicting killings (many perpetrated by the titular hero himself), Penguin's spewing of black goo, and the Catwoman's overtly sexual status, the Bat guano sure hit the whirling Bat-blades! Sure, each film walked a fine line between pleasing kids (with colorful action), and satisfying older film-goers (with subtext, characterization, and meaty themes), but toys still had to be moved at McDonald's, so...Little wonder Burton soon dropped out...Click these 1992 articles from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY to recall the furor! 

Of course, producers would be very happy with the next two Bat-flicks, as they
held greater sway over the tone of BATMAN FOREVER and
BATMAN & ROBIN, making them almost nothing but 2-hour
product and toy promotions!

You have to wonder if any kids would be so frightened by this film today... 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1979 X-MEN Original Comic Art by John Byrne! Wolverine! Marvel Comics!

One of the first of the "comic book superstars" in the modern age was jocular John Byrne! And why not? His stellar 70s art on such books as MARVEL TEAM-UP and IRON FIST brought him to the attention of comic fans in no time at all, so some were surprised when he accepted the assignment to draw the low-selling X-MEN comic! However, once fans glimpsed JB's powerful pencilling on that book, along with Terry Austin's inks and Chris Claremont's superb scripts, X-MEN soon became the book to watch! Great stories and art soon launched the merry mutants into top place on the charts, and, altho the book would never see such creative heights again, the exciting Claremont/Byrne run lead to the team's still-enjoyed high profile today, in comics, movies, TV cartoons, and merchandise! Click below to enlarge this great 1979 convention sketch by Byrne, done at the height of his run on the comic that shone a spotlight on such captivatin' characters as Nightcrawler, Storm, Phoenix, and, of course, Wolverine! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spectacular Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strip! It's The Van, Man! Marvel!

Last time, we looked in as Spidey was foiled in his attempt to stop some blood-thirsty muggers that have targeted sweet old Aunt May! Now, the plot thickens as the belligerent baddies fortify their custom van (it is the 70s, remember?) into a rollickin' rolling fortress on wheels! Will the Web-Slinger's powers be enough to bring them to a halt? More rare full-color 1978 Sunday SPIDEY strips from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Monkees! 70s Updates! Dolenz on DINAH! Davy Does Disco!?

It's 1976. You've been a Monkees fan since CBS re-ran their sensational show as part of their Saturday morning fare in 1971. Now the band is back on TV, in syndicated after-school slots. You're curious about the group's current activities, but in those pre-internet, pre-media-saturated days, what do ya do? You search and find the very scant coverage given to the Monkees in the mid-70s, in rare "whatever-became-of" clippings from the pages of 16 MAGAZINE and other teen mags of the day! Click each to enlarge!

This is my own 16 MAGAZINE clipping, from mid-1976! I had no idea that Michael had
new LPs available, or even where to get them! I also had no inkling there had been
a DJB&H show or LP! Such was the level of fan communication in those days! 

Of course, a new show was not be forthcoming. Micky and Davy 
would play a few more concert gigs and appear in the play, THE POINT. 
Micky would soon after head to the UK, to begin a successful directing 
career, as Davy continued his live shows and appearances. Not until 
the 1986 MTV-fueled reunion would fans see the group 
reunited with new projects!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge this (very candid) 1977 Davy Jones interview, from the pulp-packed pages of BLITZ music magazine!

At this time, fans valued discographies, since collectors could never be sure exactly
what was available from a given artist, especially one who recorded for many labels!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Batman vs. Dracula?! The Custom Aurora Kit You Never Saw! DC Comics!

Fresh from the pages of SHADOWLAND magazine, here is one fan's very creative imagining of a meeting between those two cape-wearing creatures of the night--Batman and Dracula! This feverish fan (using the moniker "Davey Horror") used both classic 60s Aurora model kits to produce a dynamic diorama that joins these two terrors in blistering battle! He was also inspired by the famed 1976 issue of DETECTIVE COMICS #455, from 1976, an incredible issue that depicted Batman meeting a voracious vampire (whom artist Mike Grell modeled on horror actor Christopher Lee)! A great job all around! Click images below to enlarge!

BONUS! Click below to see another custom Batman Aurora kit, from the same mind-blowing magazine!

This talented customizer created his own "Golden Age" Batman kit, using the
early black-and-gray costume color scheme, the plain "moon-less" bat
chest logo, and overall subdued color scheme!

BONUS BONUS! Glance below to see yet another colossal custom kit, using the same basic Aurora Batman kit! 
Of course, this diorama re-creates the famed "Batman vs the shark" scene from the
1966 BATMAN theatrical movie, with Adam West as the Caped Crime-Buster!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spider-Man Says, "Happy New Year!" 1975 Marvel Original Comic Art! Romita!

Sure, I know we're almost three weeks into the new year, but it's never too late to present rarities from the pen of John Romita, Sr.! Dig this powerful piece from the 1975 Marvel Comics calendar, depicting Spidey and his amazing friends, ready to ring in the nifty new year! John was noted for his superhero action and pacing, but even more so for his faculty for rendering "real" people in realistic situations! Thus, he was doubly powerful on the character-heavy SPIDER-MAN strip, populated with a large cast of co-workers, school chums, and relatives! All of the Web-Slinger's friendly family are here!  Aunt May! Mary Jane! Even not-so-jolly Jonah Jameson?! How many can you name? Click below to enlarge!

Dig that snazzy coloring on the final printed image (above, right)! In those days
before computer coloring, a stat (a high-quality, glossy copy) was made
of the black-and-white art, then hand-colored with watercolors or dyes!
That colored image would be sent to the printers, and shot for the final printing!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Avengers! 1977 Albert Bigley Original Art! Marvel Comics?!

You asked for it! Here it is! That's right, more drawings and scrawlings from my productive past! Here is a pulsatin' pencil drawing I whomped up in 1977, at age 12! Based on two then-daring comics draw by Jim Starlin, here are most of the Avengers assembled to pound the evil Thanos (you glimpsed him at the end of the recent AVENGERS film, right?) into oblivion! Iron Man! Thor! Vision! Even a tiny Captain America! I was inspired by the work of the artist on the above-mentioned comic books: Jim Starlin, as he brought a different look to superheroes, bypassing the then-usual Kirby/Romita route, complete with copious amounts of powerful poses and slick techniques! Such a visual treat was a real eye-opener for a young artist then! Click to enlarge image!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge the actual 1977 page that inspired me to create the above masterpiece (?) of comic art!

BONUS BONUS! Click below to glom the two covers that housed these twin sensational stories, AVENGERS ANNUAL #7, and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spider-Man 70s Strips! The Cops Close In! Big 1,500th Post! Marvel Comics!

Last time, we sat slack-jawed as Spidey tried, and failed, to stop a vicious mugger from leaving the scene of an attempted murder! The harried hero now has another chance to swing into action, but will he succeed this time? Can he convince the cops that he's on their side? Will his luck ever change? Another rare bunch of 1978 SPIDER-MAN strips from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr. (tho it again looks like he had some outside help)! Click images below to enlarge!

BONUS! In honor of this being my fabulous 1,500th panic-producing post, click below to enlarge these special items related to the launch of the 70s SPIDEY strip!

Above: A special teaser blurb for papers, announcing (and introducing) the
 coming 1977 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip!

Above: A very special gift for readers of the SUNDAY NEWS NYC paper! A full-color
Spidey poster, drawn by his main man, John Romita, Sr.!

Friday, January 11, 2013

1966 Batmobile Close-Up! George Barris' Custom Muscle Car! DC Comics!

From the fact-drenched pages of POPULAR SCIENCE, here is a brain-bursting 1966 article on the most famous custom car (then and now), the Batmobile! This piece gave fans a nice close-up of the colossal custom coupe, including the sensational scoop on its origin and making, interior gadgets, secret details, on-screen use, and so much more! The wave of "Batmania" was so great during the run of the 1966-1968 ABC-TV series, magazines from MAD to FAMOUS MONSTERS to TIME all ran features on Batman and his world! Click below to enlarge!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge these Bat-tastic Batmobile-related oddities and pics!

Above: The original 1966 Aurora store poster for the release of the TV Batmobile in model kit form!

Above: An early test version of the car, with a camera-unfriendly dull matte coat of black
paint, not the super-high gloss (and flashy) finish that fevered fans would soon be used to seeing!

Above: A recent colorful embroidered sew-on patch of the famous 60s custom rod!

Above: The 1966 Batmobile made a huge recent comeback, thanks to a contractual
breakthrough with all copyright holders, so modern fans can collect
new die-cast versions, model kits, and even remote-controlled
versions of this captivating car!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy THORSday! 1975 DYNAMITE Magazine Origin Re-Cap! Marvel Comics!

Thanks to those dimpled do-gooders at DYNAMITE magazine, here's a loopy look at the original first appearance of the mighty Thor! The editors sliced and diced the Thunder God's 1962 origin tale, giving young readers just the most salient points and highlights! Click below to learn all there is about ol' Don Blake (remember him?) and his barrel-chested alter ego!

The above art excerpt comes from Thor's first appearance in 1962's JOURNEY INTO
MYSTERY #83, with script by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, and art by the great Jack Kirby!

BONUS! Click below to see the opening for the far-famed 1966 THOR cartoon, part of the "Marvel Superheroes" animated package! You'll recognize some art from the above comics, used creatively to produce a very memorable segment!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BATGIRL! 1969 Original Comic Art by Gil Kane! DC Comics!

That's right! Yet another incredible piece of Gil Kane comic art, one from my own collection! Here is Gil's layout for a pulse-pounding page from a Batgirl strip! The famed red-haired tigress had a back-up series that ran for many years, and Gil was one of her main artists! This awesome art comes from 1969's DETECTIVE COMICS #389, and once again shows off Gil's great sense of anatomy, staging, and storytelling! Gil (and other artists) would often rough out the basic page layout like this, then light-box the art onto blank bristol board, finishing up the pencils there, with little erasing needed, thus keeping the board nice and clean! Click below to enlarge and compare!

Gil Kane's rough layouts (above, left), next to the final printed page (right), with Murphy Anderson inks!

BONUS! Click below to see the staggering '69 cover (by Neal Adams) that housed the above sensational story page!

BONUS BONUS! Click below to see me, posing proudly with the above oversized original comic art!