Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shattering Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! The Vicinity of Vera! Marvel Madness!

Last time, we sat with glassy-eyed amazement, as Spidey was put to the wall by a ferocious female who knew his secret identity! Now, the worried Wall-Climber goes nuts, as he searches the city for the one lone women who can cruelly crush his crime-busting career! Will he find her? Can he make her drop her black-hearted blackmailing scheme? And--why doesn't Peter's "Spider-Sense" tip him off to Vera's close vicinity in those first few strips? Yet another dynamite dose of daily strips from the 1978 run of this famous newspaper sensation, by Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.!  Click below to enlarge, then wall-crawl over to here for the next intense installment!

Note how artist John Romita uses lots of close-up panels,
in order to ratchet up the drama and tense emotion!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The FLASH! Behind the Scenes of the 1990 CBS TV Series! Rare Video!

Here is a terrific recent fact-filled feature from the fine folks at FILMFAX magazine, throwing a red-hot spotlight on the 1990 CBS series, THE FLASH! Read about the Scarlet Speedster's comics history, the making of this famed show, the series star's recent doings after the fleet-footed show was quickly cancelled, and more! Click here for more FLASH-facts! Click below to enlarge images, Flash-fans!

Think the above accounting of the comic book Flash's history is confusing?
You should see what DC Comics have done to him since!

BONUS! Click below to view this rare clip from ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT! It's all about the FLASH series, and the early-90s wave of comic book-themed movies and shows!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

1966 IRON MAN Cartoon Storyboards! MARVEL SUPERHEROES!

It wasn't that long ago that I covered the 1966 mighty MARVEL SUPERHEROES cartoon show, and here I am again, back with more rare artifacts from this well-remembered first foray into Marvel animation! Here are some very rare storyboards for an IRON MAN chapter from the show, called "Of Ice and Men!" As you can see, actual images from the printed (and sometimes upcoming) comic stories were cut-and-pasted into place, creating a very rough storyboard direction for the animators (who, in turn, largely used stats from the comic art, adding additional backgrounds and limited movement)! A fun and little-seen look behind the scenes of these terrific Silver Age screen stories! Click below to enlarge!

The above storyboard, and resulting cartoon itself, both used copious amounts
 of Don Heck-drawn art taken directly from TALES OF SUSPENSE #45!

BONUS! Click below to thrill to a short segment from the above IRON MAN cartoon! How many scenes can you spot from the storyboards?

BONUS BONUS! Click below to see the original 1963 comic cover from which this cartoon was adapted!

BONUS BONUS BONUS! Click below to see an actual Boston-area ad for the afternoon broadcasts of this sensational 60s show!

Special thanks to Steven Thompson for this clipping!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1977 SPIDEY SUPER STORIES Original Cover Art! John Romita! Marvel!

Sure, we all know that John Romita, Sr. created tons of captivating covers for the kid-aimed SPIDEY SUPER STORIES comic in the 70s, but what about the back covers of that famous title? Gawk below to take in a wonderful 1977 flip-side ad for SSS, one that spotlights custom original art by JRSR! To me (and many fans), Romita crafted the look for Spider-Man, his cast and rambunctious rogues gallery, and much of the mighty "Marvel Universe" in general! Click below to enlarge!

Exactly what you were supposed to do with the "Spidey stamps" is still a mystery!

BONUS! Cast your orbs below, to see the front cover for this awesome issue!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sky-High Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! The Victory of the Vicious Vera?! Marvel!

Last time, we howled in horror as poor ol' Peter Parker realized someone now holds the keys to his sensational Spider-Man secret identity! Keys?! How about his entire wallet! Who is this person? What does she want from Spidey in exchange for keeping quiet about his closely-held secret? Has Parker ever been up against the wall (heh) to such an extreme extent before? More mile-high Marvel mayhem from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, then web-wing over to here for the next full-color installment of this tense drama!

Artist Romita's years as a romance comic penciller came in handy here, with the
 addition of the vivacious Vera! Very few comics artists can
depict such beautiful women with such ease!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Green Lantern! The Strange Alien Corps! The Lamplighter! 1969 Gil Kane Cover Art! DC!

Here is a very special Green Lantern triple-shot! FIrst up: a look at a few of the many crusading alien Lanterns from around the galaxy! This was one of many special feature "fillers" that DC ran in their large-sized edition comics and such, and they were always very informative! Click to enlarge!

BONUS! Look below to glom great original cover art (by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson) from 1968, featuring ol' GL threatened by the lecherous Lamplighter, in fabulous eye-catching late-60 psychedelic fashion! Click below to enlarge!

BONUS BONUS! Below is yet another incredibly beautiful Gil Kane-forged GL cover, this one from 1969! Note Gil's use of composition, anatomy, and body language, all combined in creating a powerful image that needs no text (tho it's added to the final printed cover, of course)!

Note how the expert (but simple) coloring sets off different planes in the published art above!
The field of pink-colored hands is set against the emerald colors of the
Green Lantern figure, with few other colors added, creating a
sense of depth and drama!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Monkees Madness! Davy in TV GUIDE! Michael on Stage! Peter in San Francisco!

One more time with the Monkees! Click below to view more rare pics and video!

Above: Dick Van Dyke visits the set of THE MONKEES during their first season on NBC!
Unfortunately, Van Dyke would not appear in any actual episodes!

Above: The guys take a moment for musical composing, on
the set of the "Nice Place to Visit" episode...

Above: A controversial pic of the "bearded" Monkees (surrounding album
producer Chip Douglas) similar to one that appeared on the rear of the HEADQUARTERS LP in
1967! It was quickly yanked, to be replaced by a more "clean cut" pic of the band!

Above: A TV GUIDE ad for the Monkees' fourth LP release!

Above: Ad for the Monkees' seventh USA single release!
Features terrific art by Frank Morton!

Above: Michael on stage during the 1968 Far East tour!

Above and below: The bands romps and stomps (on the set of the "At 
The Circus" episode) during a 1967 visit from TV GUIDE!

Above: For their second 1967 TV GUIDE photo shoot, the guys
are seen in a more sedate (and staged) setting!

BONUS! Click below to view a rare 1995 clip of Peter Tork on THE MIKE & MATY SHOW! Peter shows us around his then-home, San Francisco!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gil Kane! 1975 POWER MAN Cover Rough! Marvel Comics Masterpiece!

In answer to endless requests for more rare Gil Kane-pencilled cover designs, take a gander below to see another mind-bending entry! Here is Gil's magnificent cover rough for the front of POWER MAN #25, from 1975! Do I need to mention Gil's mastery of anatomy, movement, depth, and composition? I didn't think so. Click to enlarge, armadillo (and, if you recognize that animalistic appellation, you really are a Bronze Age fan)!

Above: Luke Cage is struggling against the Ringmaster and his  "Circus of
Crime," a criminal cadre that dates back to early HULK issues from 1962!

BONUS! Glare below to see a rare 1973 Gil Kane pic and bio, from fantastic FOOM magazine!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Batman vs. The Joker! 1975 Albert Bigley Art! "Go Robin!" DC Comics?!

Enough with the e-mails and calls! I give in! Here is yet another fabulous (?) blast from my past to your present (huh?)! Dig this bombastic 1975 illo by a 10-year-old me, depicting mucho mile-high mayhem! It's Batman and Robin, launching into furious action against the Joker and his multiple minions! But--Is Batman crashing thru that tiny window in the background? What is the Joker perched upon? Why are so many people missing their legs? Why is the foreground thug shooting at the bad guys? Click to enlarge, Bat-fans!

BONUS! Look below to see my inspiration for Batman's above pose! This is the bulky box that housed the 1974 Mego "Batcave" playset, a gift I received the previous Christmas, so...

BONUS BONUS! Or, was this (below) my inspiration? Here is a panel from 1968's WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #180, drawn by Ross Andru! I had this as a back-issue then, so...Or was this '68 pose the inspiration for the '74 Mego artist, which I saw, and...Yeah. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dr. Strange! Custom Mego Action Figure! Marvel Comics!

Here is DOCTOR STRANGE, Master of the Mystic Arts! Made by me around 2005, this magical Marvel mainstay uses a Doc Mego-supplied FLASH GORDON head, as well as molded gloves (seen on Mego's "Fantastic Four" figures), plus custom hand-made cape, costume (simple sky-blue material for the tunic, tan for the belt, over a black body-suit) and display card! Lots of time, fabric markers, hot glue and patience helped, too!   Click images below to enlarge, and keep thy all-seeing amulet untarnished!  

Above: I created Doc's own custom
card, using art by John Romita, Sr.!

BONUS! Glance below to see Mego's original 1978 "Flash Gordon" figure, the source of Doc's custom-painted head, as seen above!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Senses-Shattering Sunday 70s SPIDER-MAN Strips! "My Clothes--They're Gone!" Marvel!

Last time, we gawked in numb disbelief as Spidey, fresh from a successful robbery bust-up, was stopped short by the realization that somebody may now know his true identity! Who could unearth such a well-guarded secret? Dr. Octopus? Electro? The Big Wheel? Nope! Just some slinky, sexy citizen, sashaying by Spidey's swiftly-stashed Peter Parker duds! It had to happen! So, what does our worried Web-Slinger do now? Will he be forced to make a deal with the red-haired reprobate? Will she demand to be made Spidey's partner in crime-busting? More mile-high Marvelmania from Stan Lee and John Romita., Sr.! Click below to enlarge, arachnid-phile!

BONUS! Cast your grateful orbs below, for a peep at a nifty 1973 bio of SPIDEY artist, John Romita, Sr.!

The above is excerpted from an
early issue of FOOM magazine!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Superman and Captain America Together as--Insurance Salesmen?! 1972 Ad!

Dig this colorful 1972 magazine ad! It smooshes the top comic book and strip characters of the day into one urgent advertisement! When was the last time you saw Superman, Lone Ranger, Captain America, Tarzan, and Dick Tracy together? Only in 70s ads, where things were far looser, and far more creative, than today! Looks as if one artist was assigned the unenviable job of taking select clipped art of each figure, then drawing one finished montage image...But, you can still see the style of each hero's original artist (Jack Kirby, Curt Swan, Burne Hogarth, etc...) shining right thru! Click to enlarge!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

SHAZAM! 1974 Bob Oksner Poster! Captain Marvel Lives Again! DC Comics!

Dig this rarely-seen 1974 SHAZAM poster! Drawn by the versatile Bob Oksner for an oversized tabloid, this great image not only spotlights a flying Captain Marvel, but also the seven "elders" who collectively gave ol' Cap his amazing powers! A real treat, one of many "special added attractions" that DC comics jammed into their gigantic kid-attracting tabloids, along with puzzle and "how-to-draw" features, profiles, and dioramas! Click to enlarge!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

BATMAN 1966 TV Series! 1988 Burt Ward Update! "I Don't Need Robin Anymore!" DC Comics!

Here comes boyish Burt Ward, bouncing back in the late 80s for a terrific PEOPLE magazine interview! This insightful article was done during the wave of "Batmania" created by the then-coming 1989 BATMAN movie, but the former "Robin" (from the sensational 1966 TV series) proves he was not slowing down in '88! Burt talks about his work with kids, movie projects, and his BATMAN past! Click below to enlarge!

Unfortunately, all of Burt's above projects fell apart, including his marriage to 
Mariana! However, the former Caped Crusader now rescues unwanted large 
dogs and finds new homes for them! See more about his mission here!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who SAYS Original Art Has to Be Good? NOT BRAND ECHH! 1967 Kirby Art!

Take a look at this brain-blasting original cover for 1967's debut issue of NOT BRAND ECHH! You wouldn't think that Jack "King" Kirby would be so darned good when poking fun at his merry Marvel Comics co-creations, but he was more than up to task for this short-lived humor mag! Jack used his composition and character posing skills to bring fans a Fantastic Four, Doc Doom, and Silver Surfer as they've never been seen before, preparing for the inconsequential coming of--Forbush Man (who seems to have undergone a ton of revisions here, making ya wonder if he had a different look at one time)! Thanks to the "What If Kirby" website for this one! Click below to enlarge!

NBE was one of the first titles I scrambled to collect in back-issue bins in the early 80s, once I 
got access to comic shops and conventions! A great and fun title, one that needs to be 
properly collected today!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Superlative Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! "You Were Expecting John Travolta?!" 1978 Marvelmania!

Last time, Spidey tended to his loved ones, after wrapping up a dangerous case that put said friends (and others) in deadly danger! But, his happy ending is short-lived as he rushes to play good samaritan, only to find himself back in hot water again! What does this mysterious maiden want with Spidey's secret ID? Is she friend or foe? And--who jogs wearing their full street clothes (with a Spider-Man costume beneath them) late at night in New York City?! More sensational '78 SPIDER-MAN strips, from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr. (with some deadline-easing help this time around)! Click below to enlarge, True Believer!

Stan Lee added yet another bit of "realism," with the simple idea
of an outsider finding the hero's hidden street clothes, and 

peeking into his wallet to snag his real identity! Why would 
every threat to a hero come only from scheming 
criminal masterminds?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

1974 Albert Bigley SPIDER-MAN Art! "Knock Your Head Off!" Marvel Comics?!

You win! Due to the thousands of e-mails and endless phone calls, I'm coming back with another artistic "masterpiece" from my paint-stained past! Here is a 1974 dramatic doodle of the ever-Amazing Spider-Man, slamming two of his greatest foes--the Green Goblin and (I think) Electro! Dig how I also threw in a bit of Spidey's whimsey and wise-cracking (as I interpreted it at age 9), in two threat-filled word balloons! Click below to enlarge!

Dig that depth (are the two foes under Spider-Man?)! The foreshortening (is
Spidey's left arm coming toward us, or away 
from us?)! The anatomy
(is the Goblin breaking at the waist?)! Or don't...

Friday, March 8, 2013

More Overseas Marvel Original Art Covers! Spider-Man! Hulk! 1977 Amazement!

Here we go again with more peeks at some awesome original art created for Marvel Comics' overseas UK reprint line! Here are some great original covers by rampagin' Ron Wilson, peerless Pablo Marcos, and fearless Frank Giacoia, all centering on those Marvel mainstays, Spidey and the Hulk! The odd horizontal format demanded new covers be drawn for British consumption, and it's very interesting to see how the artists tackled the challenge! Click each to enlarge!

The 1977 UK cover (above, left), designed by Ron Wilson and Frank Giacoia, and (right), the 1976 US version, by Ross Andru and Giacoia!

The 1977 British reprint cover (above, left) by Pablo Marcos, and (right) the 1976 US original cover by John Romita, Sr.!

Above: Another little-seen 1977 UK reprint cover by Ron Wilson!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rare Ant-Man?! Another Look at MARVEL PREMIERE #48! Bob Layton! 1979 Marvel!

Not long ago, I showed you my awesome art acquisition--the rough layout for the colossal cover of 1979's MARVEL PREMIERE #48, drawn by dynamic Dave Cockrum (click here)! Now, my always-active team of highly-paid uniformed researchers has unearthed the image below, an alternate cover for that same ish! Drawn by boundless Bob Layton (then riding high as the artist on IRON MAN), we see a similar scene to the original, but with a much tighter close-up of ol' Ant-Man! Which do you like best? Click below to enlarge!

Looks like this cover was pencilled, inked, and ready to go, before the
last-minute substitution occurred! Maybe it was deemed too crowded? Not enough
is seen of the bulky bad guy? Very good use of perspective, overlapping,
and depth to establish Ant-Man's tiny size..

BONUS! Click below to see the actual printed version of the cover (by Dave Cockrum and Bob McLeod) for this issue!

BONUS BONUS! Click below to enlarge these extra unseen versions of the MP cover, generously provided by Bob Layton himself! Each one greater than the last, and all cleverly accenting the stature of the small-scale 70s superhero!