Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learn to Play! The Monkees Way! 2013 GUITAR PLAYER Article and Instruction!

As a Monkees fan in the 70s and early 80s, I quickly realized just how little respect the group garnered then, as they were still labeled as a "crass and plastic bubble-gum band." It was obvious such critics only gave the band a cursory glance, never truly listening to the deep LP cuts, or the more innovative and progressive sounds made by the team. Things have changed in the last few decades, and here's yet another mark of the recent respect the Monkees have earned among musicians, other recording acts, and the general populace! Below is a recent GUITAR PLAYER article, hitting the highlights of the Monkees' recording career! This piece also includes close looks at many Monkees tunes, with charts for any budding (or experienced) musicians to play along with and learn from! Click below to enlarge!

Where's Peter? The above pic was taken in 1969, after Tork had left
the group, leaving them to burn thru the year as a trio!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Have a Happy Halloween with Dr. Strange! Rare 1980 Artwork! Marvel!

What better way to celebrate Halloween, than with a fabulous 1980 Dr. Strange illo? This is from the rare 1980 Doc calendar, and features the master mage fending off the enigmatic Eternity, in some truly mind-rending artwork by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer! Click below to enlarge, and here to see more from this colossal calendar!

BONUS! The same calendar included this little snapshot of the times, a photo-feature depicting much of the 1979/1980 Marvel bullpen! How many do you remember?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Batman! Violent and Out of Control! 1976 Albert Bigley Art! DC Comics?!

Let's take a look at not one, but two terrific (?) images drawn by me (age 11) in 1976! These twin powerhouses (attempt to) depict an angry version of the Batman, swinging into full violent action against some very unfortunate thugs and crooks! I was trying to emulate the work of artist Neal Adams, who had fairly recently brought the "Dark Knight" back to his more vicious "street-level" roots in the comics, which meant tons of grunting, straining, hollering, and hitting (from Batman, not me)! Click below to enlarge and wonder why!

What exactly is Batman doing to that poor thug in
the upper left? Did he also tear off the guy's shoulder?!

POK-A-CHOC! The Caped Crusader seems darned 
casual in that pose to the right, no? 

Above: The inspiration for my 1976 bat-drawings,
an example of Neal Adams' 70s Batman! Want
to see a truly angry and out-of-control Batman
by Adams? Be forewarned and click here

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Superb Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strip! A Light Extinguished! 1979 Marvel Comics Rarity!

Last time, we watched, jaws agape, as Spidey stopped some enthusiastic ex-cons on the lam! One newly-freed felon furiously fled, using some very Spidey-like abilities to do so! Is there another Spider-Man on the scene? Is he under the thrall of the crime-minded Kingpin? How will the still-imprisoned crime boss use him in his putrid plan to topple the Web-Slinger? And, how many Peter Parkers does it take to change a lightbulb? More 1979 mile-high madness from Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.! Click below to enlarge, Wall Crawlers!

Friday, October 25, 2013

SUPERMAN-THE MOVIE! Behind the Scenes! 1978 STARLOG Article and Rare Pics!

Here's another peek behind the production of the groundbreaking film, SUPERMAN-THE MOVIE! Read about the ups and downs of this tumultuous production, from casting (Robert Redford was almost Superman!), to costuming, filming, and more! This sensational '78 STARLOG piece comes from a time when making a superhero film was truly a lengthy uphill battle, unlike today, with a new comics-centric film invading theaters (seemingly) every other weekend! ! Click below to enlarge!

It's now hard to imagine a Superman not portrayed by Chris Reeve
in these iconic films, but many other candidates were considered...

BONUS! Glance below to see one of the actual comic books that guided and inspired the creation of the movie's Superman costumes!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rare Comic Art from The COMIC READER Fanzine! Iron Man! Green Lantern!

In the late 70s, before the internet had arrived, comic book junkies communicated and got the low-down on upcoming comics thru fan magazines, or "fanzines!" Such 'zines became so well-known and firmly established, that pro artists and writers were happy to give interviews and "sneak peeks" to such mags! Some artists, recalling when they were fans reading such publications, selflessly shared their artwork with THE COMIC READER, and you can stare at the evidence below! Some great little-seen images by Jim Aparo, Bob Layton, and many more! Click each to enlarge!

Above: Bob Layton provided TCR with both of these custom covers! That back
cover image was to be a sorta "alternate" image to the cover of IRON MAN #132!

Above: SHAZAM! A rare Jim Aparo look at Captain Marvel!

Above: Green Lantern and Sinestro by dandy Don Newton! Don would go
on to draw Batman (and many other books) for DC in the 80s...

Above: Inspired by the then-new SUPERMAN-THE MOVIE, Jerry Ordway provides
this impressive wrap-around piece! Jerry would go on to enjoy a long stint
at DC in the 80s, on their SUPERMAN line!

Does this cover look familiar? It should!
Just click here to refresh your memory!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The RAMPAGING HULK Magazine! The "Hidden" Art! 70s Marvel Mirth!

Longtime Hulk fans recall this odd (but very memorable) Marvel magazine of the late-70s, THE RAMPAGING HULK! Due to the success of their b/w line of more adult-aimed mags, Marvel decided to launch one of their swingin' superheroes into that drama-drenched arena (tho why they picked one known for his color to helm a black-and-white book is a real mystery)! The publication was adored by fans, as it featured not only top-notch art and stories, but also special features, such as powerful pin-ups by colossal comics artists (Ernie Chan, Terry Austin, and others)! The mag later converted to full-color, hence the amazing fully-hued art below! Click below to take a peek at some of these pulse-pounding pages, Hulkophile!

Above: A great illo by Mike Zeck, who'd soon be drawing
CAPTAIN AMERICA for Marvel! Note the position of the driver's side 
on the
 cab, indicating that this was possibly originally created for a UK comic!

Above: Art by Ernie Chan, who, at the time, also enjoyed
a long run drawing the Hulk's color comic adventures!

Above: Art by Gene Colan, with Rudy Nebres and Peter Ledger!

Above: Art by Walt Simonson!

Above: Art by Brent Anderson!

Above: Art by Terry Austin!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spectacular SPIDER-MAN 70s Sunday Strips! The Nefarious Nuisance of--Nino?! Marvel Comics!

Last time, we witnessed Spidey enjoying a brief respite, after wrestling with a dangerous dilemma! But now, more threads (webs?) from that seemingly ceased circumstance come back to the fore, as the incarcerated Kingpin makes his move! What will this mean to Spider-Man? How can the sweet and seemingly harmless (and nimble) Nino be a threat to the powerful Web-Slinger? And, do our tax dollars pay for the gaping holes in those prison walls?! More Marvel greatness from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, Web-Heads!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Batman vs. Iron Man! Flash vs. Wolverine! DC vs. Marvel! Who Wins in the Theaters?

Dig this fairly recent article from those mad mavens at FAST COMPANY magazine...It gives us the skin-tight skinny on the whole "Marvel vs. DC" big-screen movie battle! Every fact, detail, dollar earned, and bit of trivia is uncovered, as Marvel seems to continue to trounce DC in the soda-stained, sticky aisles of the local megaplex! Click below to enlarge and get enlightened!

You just knew they had to go the easy route and
attack 1997's BATMAN AND ROBIN film, right?

Friday, October 18, 2013

John Buscema draws The Marvel Universe! 1975 Original Poster Art! Spidey!

Sure, you've seen this famous image many times, but have you ever seen the pulse-pounding pencils for this power-packed poster? Just glance below to stare at the terrific rough design by big John Buscema for this graphic that appeared in so many Marvel comics ads in 1975! This piece features almost every Marvel mainstay (even Iron Man sporting his infamous "nose!") from that Bronze Age time period! Click to enlarge!

Above, left: John Buscema's pencil drawing for the final poster
image (above, right)! Inks on the finished poster by Joe Sinnott!

BONUS! Glare below to see an image of John Buscema at work!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

SPIDER-MAN #121! The Death of Gwen Stacy! 1972 Original Comic Art! Marvel!

Here's the incredible original art for the cover of one of comic's most memorable issues, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121! This issue changed the overall tenor of superhero comics, as a major supporting cast member, Spidey's lady love Gwen Stacy, is killed! Sure, death in comics was seen before, but it was always depicted as some sort of trick, dream, or misunderstanding, never the real thing! The writers wanted to shake things up in the Spidey book, and they certainly succeeded! Writer and uber-fan Mark Waid described this issue as having the impact of "the JFK assassination among comics fans!" I came in as a reader right after this issue, and the book (normally a jaunty and fun read) did have a certain palpable pall over it, one that would last for years. Click below to enlarge!

Another factor that gave this issue extra impact: in those pre-internet
days, the secret of which cast member was facing imminent doom 
could be kept a true surprise for readers and fans!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Take the JLA Quiz! How Well Do YOU Know the Past and Present Justice League? DC Comics!

Torn savagely from the pages of an over-stuffed 1975 JUSTICE LEAGUE "Super Spectacular" issue, here is a brain-blistering quiz, guaranteed to vex even the most ardent JLA fan! Test your own trivia knowledge! Plus: I've included an extra bonus page, spotlighting the JLA "Heroes of the past!" Click below to enlarge!

Ready for the awesome answers? Just click below!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The ELECTRIC COMPANY Presents--DC Comics?! 1979 Superhero Feature! Batman! Spidey!

As you know, in 1974 Marvel Comics entered into a partnership with the PBS show, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, in an effort that lent their Spider-Man character to the Children's Television Workshop folks to further promote learning (and to sell more Spidey comics, natch)! But, didja know what CTW's long-running ELECTRIC COMPANY magazine included articles that covered not only Spidey and his other Marvel brethren, but also the colorful characters from rival DC Comics? True! Just look below to glom a 1979 kid-aimed fact-file that spotlights all the biggies of the Bronze Age, and also includes a very special mural painted by excited and young super-fans! Click to enlarge!

"His wife was killed by a super-villain." They didn't sugar-coat things for kids back then, huh?
I'd hate to see how the editors would summarize today's ultra-violent and dark comics!

In 1979, Superman woulda been 65 if he aged in "real world time," and that advanced
age would have made him "Super-Grandpa?!" Today, 65 is the new 35!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge another awesome issue of this kid-centric mag, this time focusing on the INCREDIBLE HULK TV series!

Above: A fabulous painted cover by 70s cover maven, Bob Larkin!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rare 1978 Gil Kane DEFENDERS Treasury Cover Art! The Uncovered Hulk?!

Here we go with yet another gorgeous Gil Kane cover rough! This time, I spotlight his deft design for 1978's DEFENDERS Treasury Edition cover, a dynamic drawing that features Marvel's nonsensical non-team consisting of the Hulk, Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, Valkyrie, Silver Surfer, and Nighthawk! Once again, dig that unparalleled sense of depth, motion, action, and drama! But, why is the Hulk (*gasp* ) naked?! Click image below to enlarge! Click here to see more of Gil's masterworks!

Above, left: Gil's pencil layout for the finished cover (above, right) to
this oversized epic edition! Inks on the published version were provided by Bob Wiacek!

Why does that rough drawing of the Hulk remind me of the endless "naked"
Mego Hulk figures that are forever available in a constant flow on eBay?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sensational 70s SPIDER-MAN Sunday Strips! "They Call It--Love!" 1979 Marvel Madness!

Last time, we bit our collective nails as Spidey finally found a way to safely wrap up a deadly threat at the local disco! Once again, when he should be enjoying endless appreciative adulation from the masses, Spidey gets a kick in the proverbial pants (thanks to jolly J. Jonah Jameson)! Can Peter Parker now expect some peace and quiet for a change? What do you think? Click below to enlarge this fabulous 1979 Sunday strip, by sturdy Stan Lee and jovial John Romita, Sr.!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The 1966 Batmobile in the Spotlight! BATMAN TV Show! DC Comics!

Here's yet another lingering look at the most famous customized car in television history, the bombastic Batmobile! Click below to read vintage 60s articles, as well as recent interviews with custom car czar George Barris, and so much more! Start your engines and GO!

Above: A terrific 1966 ROD & CUSTOM article on
 the then-new car that was wowing America!

Above: Workers in the George Barris custom shop toil feverishly
to prepare the Batmobile (and its double) for its early '66 TV debut!

Above: The other dynamic duo? Fellow 60s supertstars, Sonny & 
Cher, grab a quick photo opportunity in the famed Bat-vehicle!

Above: Stars Adam West and Burt Ward pose with
the custom car in this early publicity shot!

Above: A behind-the-scenes shot of the Batmobile, zooming off the Batcave
set! Note the clean-up man left behind! Hey! That's not Alfred!

Above: Another sensational 60s spotlight centered  on the kooky car!

Above and below: A recent OUTRE magazine close-up on the countless
colossal custom car creations crafted by the captain of customizers, George Barris!