Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Incredible (Gene) Colan! Rare Art Artifacts and Oddball Items! DAREDEVIL! BATMAN!

Let's once again zero in on the masterful artwork of Gene Colan! Gentleman Gene's career in comics started in the 40s, but he came to powerful prominence in the 60s, during Marvel Comics' sensational Silver Age! Gene drew DAREDEVIL, AVENGERS, IRON MAN, (and later) TOMB OF DRACULA, and so many more! Click below to enlarge some of these rare finds, all from the hand of Gene!

Above, left: Original Gene Colan art (with inking assist by Dick Giordano) for 
the cover to DETECTIVE COMICS #510, from 1982, and the printed version (right)!
After years at Marvel, Gene, upset with the then-current administration, went to
rival DC, who gleefully accepted such a master with open arms!

Above, left: Gene's original cover art to DAREDEVIL #370! In 1997, Gene returned
to his signature character, DAREDEVIL, for a sensational (and sadly) short-lived run!
Marvel was more interested in gimmicks and quick-to-fizzle "hot" artists then, so the
good times didn't last...

Above: Gene Colan returns to draw his best-known characters, in this limited edition print!

Above: A rare and undated (70s?) Colan-drawn bit of commercial
art, this time featuring superheroes shilling for "Ma Bell!"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here Comes The Flash! Rare 1967 Color Guide Art! Hear "The Flash" 1966 Song!

I give in! Due to tons of demand (after posting the "Aquaman Song" a few days back), here is the rare 1966 "Flash Song," from the hard-to-find Tifton JUSTICE LEAGUE record album! I've also thrown in a rare 1967 color guide (thought to be by Jack Adler) to the cover of FLASH #175, spotlighting one of the great Superman/Flash races of the Silver Age of DC Comic! More you could want? Click below to enlarge!

Above, left: Color guide made as direction for engravers, and the printed
finished cover (right) to FLASH #175! If Jack Adler did the color guide, why
is it signed by Carmine Infantino? Charmin' Carmin' was the cover artist!

BONUS! As promised, click below to hear the zingy and rare "Flash song," as heard only on the 1966 JUSTICE LEAGUE LP!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Smashing Sunday 70s SPIDER-MAN Strips! Jameson Joke-Pulling! Marvel Comics!

Last time, we were able to breathe a stalled sigh of relief, as Spidey safely wrapped up a hair-raising criminal case! Now, our once-worried Web-Walker gets to let his (70s style) hair down, for some laughs of his own, all at the expense of jocular J. Jonah Jameson! Can this life-affirming levity last long? What nefarious no-goodnik waits in the wings? More rare 1979 SPIDER-MAN Sunday strips by Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge!

Altho Stan Lee has trotted out the old "Jameson's webbed chair" gag
many times in the comic books, new readers of the comic strip
may have been enjoying this gag for the first time!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

AQUAMAN! Original 1968 Nick Cardy Cover Art! Hear the 1966 "Aquaman Song!"

Aquaman! He's been the butt of a million jokes for years, but in the 60s and 70s, he took his place among the top DC Comics superheroes, both as a soggy solo star, and as a founding member of the Justice League of America! The Sea King was also blessed to have some major artistic talent on his side then, such as Jim Aparo, and the fabulous Nick Cardy! Nick drew the cover art below, for AQUAMAN # 37, from 1968, and it drips (heh) with atmosphere, drama, and excitement! Click to enlarge and enjoy!

Above, left: Nick Cardy's impeccable (dig that delicate line work) original
art for the cover, and (right) the colored, published version!

AQUA-BONUS! Click below to swing along with this rare track from the 1966 JUSTICE LEAGUE LP, from Tifton Records! This song was not included on later 70s pressings of the LP, so start those feet a-tappin'!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1977 Gil Kane Daredevil Art! MARVEL MEMORY ALBUM! Bronze Age Beauty!

Let's take another peek inside the nifty 1977 MARVEL MEMORY ALBUM calendar! Here is the April entry, featuring gargantuan Gil Kane artwork! The theme of this captivatin' calendar was Marvel's (then only 16-year old) past, and Gil takes up that theme, depicting a dynamic Daredevil in both his original early-60s costume, and his better-known all-red outfit! Need I point out how great Gil was with anatomy, action, and composition? Click below to enlarge!

Above: Gil's perfect pencils are aided by the indelible inks of Joe Sinnott!

BONUS! Click below to enlarge the calendar entry that accompanied the above illo, complete with bombastic birthday shout-outs for such Bullpen luminaries as George Tuska and Gil himself!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Special Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! The End of the Impersonator! Marvel!

Last time, we sat and watched, gripped in awe-struck anitcipation, as Spider-Man faced an ungainly group of the Kingpin's gruesome goons! But, just when it seemmed that the wondrous Web-Crawler could bask in triumph, he faces a new threat! One of the cowardly crooks has taken a hysterical hottie as hostage! Can Spidey free her while keeping her safe? Will this clear his name with the police, letting them know he is a force for good? And, won't city gawkers link Spidey's pic-snapping to that of photog Peter Parker,  his well-kept secret ID? More rare 1979 daily strips, from the hands of Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge!

Altho it's well known that Stan and Johnny had help on the strip (Jim Shooter
provided much of the plots), the above looks as if Romita may have had large
amounts of time-saving artistic aid, possibly from Larry Lieber and Joe Giella!

Friday, January 17, 2014

1966 BATMAN Spotlight! Robin! Riddler! Burgess Meredith Speaks! From 1966 to 2014!

Celebrating yesterday's shattering announcement of the long-awaited release of the much-loved 1966 BATMAN TV show on DVD and Blu-ray, let's look back at some rare pics, articles, and interviews spotlighting the actors and creators of this famed TV series! Click each to enlarge!

Above: Burt Ward ("Robin") and Adam West ("Batman") prepare for filming on the Batcave set!

Above: Burgess Meredith ("the Penguin") in 1966, addressing a Batman poster
(that features art by Carmine Infantino) alongside Bob Kane, Batman's co-creator!

Above: Bob Kane and wife Elizabeth in 1966, during the height
of the TV series-induced wave of "Batmania!"

Above: Yup! It's the 1966 BATMAN poster, as seen
in the background of the above two pics!

Above: A 1966 clipping detailing the (ill-fated) marriage of Burt Ward and Bonnie Lindsey.

Above: Frank Gorshin ("the Riddler") acts up
on the set of the BATMAN pilot episode!

Above: Adam West, Cesar Romero ("the Joker") and an unidentified
third party (Roddy McDowall?), at a press event for the show!

Above: Batmania spread its wings everywhere in 1966! Dig this swingin'
magazine cover (above, left), and a pic from the photo shoot (right)!
See the interior Bat-content here!

Above: Tons of merchandise was produced during the height
of the series' popularity, and customized pens and pencil cases
were among the most visible!

Above: Burt Ward, in full red-hued regalia as "Robin," makes a personal
appearance at an event! Burt would make such lucrative appearances well
into the 80s! He stills attends shows and conventions, but with the Robin
outfit on display, not on his person!

Above: A rare piece of internal 1966 correspondence from ABC's Harve Bennett (later to
produce THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and other shows), to BATMAN producer
Bill Dozier, detailing some tweaks to the pilot episode! Too bad
item #9 would soon be overlooked by the writers and directors!

Above: Burt Ward again, this time making a sensational 70s
personal appearance to the delight of several BATMAN fans!

Above: Adam West in 2014, as the mascot for a college supply service!

BAT-BONUS! Click below to hear both Burgess Meredith ("the Penguin") and Adam West ("Batman") talk about the show and their roles, in this rare 1989 radio interview!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Drew Struzan! Painted 1977 Comics Rarities! Spider-Man! Batman! Marvel vs. DC!

Sure, long-time fans have known about Drew Struzan's involvement with this well-loved 1977 Batman poster image (click here), but didja know the famed painter/illustrator took a stunning stab at painting Marvel's Spider-Man? True! Click below to puff up Drew's powerful pencil picture that was produced in preparation for painting the finished printed poster! The poster firm, unfortunately, went with a lesser talent for the job, resulting in an odd air-brushed image of the woeful Web-Slinger, but, oh, what coulda been...

Above, left: Struzan's pencil study (based on a live posed model) for the
Spider-Man poster than coulda been! Above, right: The published poster, sadly
bereft of any Struzan artwork! At age 13 in '78, I had this one, and the other 

three Marvel posters (had just left DC comics behind for a 5-year sabbatical) in 
the group, and was saddened to see their quality was not up to the DC images.

BONUS! Click below to stare into Drew's riotous rough design for the never-beaten Batman poster art, too! 

Above, left: Drew's pencil rough, as seen in the early stage of the creation of
the finished painting (right)! That poster hangs in my home today, as I consider it
the realistic rendering of the Caped Crusader, one that has never been equalled!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CAPTAIN AMERICA! 1971 Cover Art Rough! John Romita Sr.! Marvel Amazement!

Here is a propitious peek at a wonderful 1971 cover rough design, by jazzy John Romita, Sr.! Done in preparation for the completed cover to CAPTAIN AMERCA #139, this colossal color-filled marker comp captures Cap in a dramatic moment of decision! It's also something of a rarity for that time, as mirthful Marie Severin was tossing cover ideas at Marvel then, as their pencil-pushing powerhouse in the Bullpen! Click below to enlarge!

Above, left: JRSR's fabulous rough design for the cover
of CAP #139 (right)! The finished cover art is also by 
Thanks to collector Carlos De Sousa for this one!

FUN FACT! The insides of the above comic were later used to decorate Mead's 1976 CAP school folder! Just cast your grateful eyes below!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Spectacular 70s SPIDER-MAN Sunday Strips! The "Three-Time Loser!" Marvel!

Last time, we sat slack-jawed, as a triumphant Spidey defeated the crafty Kingpin's goons! But, the weary Wall-Crawler is now confronted with one last minion, who threatens to harm a hapless hostage! Can Spidey save her from this desperate delinquent? And, even if he does, can he be sure the Kingpin is truly finished with this sinful scheme? More mile-high Marvel magic, from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

IRON MAN #65! Original 1973 Cover Art! John Romita Strikes! Marvel!

Here's an awesome 1973 example of how easily John Romita, Sr. (known primarily then as the main SPIDER-MAN artist) crossed over to depict another sensational superhero! Here is JRSR's cover to IRON MAN #65, spotlighting the armored Avenger in blazing action! Romita was often called upon to draw many covers for Marvel's multitudinous mags, since his handsome and exciting artwork was becoming the "house style" for Marvel then, one so recognizable his work was seen also on merry Marvel merchandise, stickers, clothing, posters, and more! It's very easy to see why! Click below to enlarge!

Above, left: The original comic art by John Romita, Sr. (with inks by mighty
Mike Esposito), and (right) the published cover! This IRON MAN comic happens
to have the distinction of being the very first issue of IM I ever bought, at age 

eight! Ok, my Mom bought it for me, but...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Big John Buscema Tribute! AVENGERS! Iron Man! Thor! MarvelMania!

Let's once again focus on the late (but always great) comics artist, John Buscema! Click below to glom rare original cover art, scintillatin' sketches, candid pics, and so much more, all in celebration of this awesome illustrator!

Above: The amazing original art (left) to the cover of Marvel's
AVENGERS #42, from 1967! Note John's mastery of composition, depth,
and action-oriented mayhem! John had a long and memorable run on the
AVENGERS title, so much so that some fans think of him as the artist
for the team! Inks are thought to be by George Roussos!
The printed cover appears on the right!

Above: Some dynamic figure sketches from the 60s or 70s! John would often "warm up"
by sketching on the backs of the actual comic pages he was tasked to draw! And
these masterpieces are only the warm up drawings?!?

Above: More Buscema "warm up" sketches, this time with some inks applied!
These probably date from the 90s, when John was still drawing many regular
titles, one-shots, and projects for Marvel!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Superb 70s SPIDER-MAN Sunday Strips! "Even Spider-Man Isn't Bulletproof!" Marvel Comics!

Last time, we were on the edge of our seats, watching Spidey wade thru a gang of ghastly gangsters (operating under the Kingpin's sinister sway), in order to rescue a frantic female hostage! Now, just when it looks as if the woebegone Web-Slinger has won the battle, is he about to realize he's lost the war? More rare 1979 daily strips, from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, Webbed Ones!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

More Magnificent Mego Madness! Custom Packaging! Flash! Green Arrow! Spidey! Batman!

I've shown a few of my own custom Mego-like action figures before, but here is a look at the custom packaging I've created for many figures (old and new) over the years! Click each to enlarge!

Above: Different packaging for the recent Mattel "Retro-Action" Batman figure, including
classic 60s graphics by famed DC Comics artist, Carmine Infantino! The recent
Mego-like action figure line featured some very nice figures, but very
dull packaging!

Above: The original 1973 Mego Joker figure is seen on a spiffy new card that
sports classic 60s art by (again) Carmine Infantino! The bottom tier shows
off the new Lex Luthor and Captain Cold Mattel figures, but on great
new cards with eye-catching artwork!

Above: A custom Riddler card is used to display the new (as of 2014) action
figure produced by the Figures Toy Co. firm (who are re-offering the original
Mego Bat-figures to today's collectors and fans)! I again used great mid-60s
Infantino graphics, in an attempt to evoke the flavor of the 70s
Riddler Mego packaging!

Above: The new Mattel Superman figure is seen on a new card, while a
custom-made Robin figure gets the "original" card treatment (left), and
is also seen with a 70s Neal Adams "Teen Wonder" image (right)!

Above: Two different Green Arrow cards, and two different figures! On the left
is seen the new Mattel figure (with packaging that sports Neal Adams art), and, on
the right, Mego's original 1975 GA action figure, on a nice new card with
Curt Swan artwork! 

Above: Neal Adams art is seen with the new Mattel Green Lantern figure, but an
original 1974 Batgirl gets the Carmine Infantino treatment! We also see a Speedy
custom figure on a great card that features Nick Cardy art!

Above: A custom Flash figure is seen next to colossal Curt Swan artwork, as his
partner, Kid Flash (an original 1977 figure) is displayed on his own custom card!
The new Mattel Wonder Woman figure is seen on her own custom card with
Neal Adams art, while an original 1972 Aquaman is carded next to a classic image!

Above: It's the classic Aquaman card again, but this time it's paired with the new
Mattel figure (left)! Captain Marvel (right) looks sharp on his own custom
card, also!

Above: A classic 1973 Spider-Man figure has his choice of two card styles! One
with 60s Steve Ditko (Spidey's co-creator) art, or a snazzy card with jazzy
John Romita Sr. artwork!

Above: Why should Spidey have all the fun? Here is his arch foe, the
grinning Green Goblin (original 1974 figure), on his own custom card, with
familiar art by John Romita, Sr.!

Above: Custom figures of Spider-Man foes Mysterio, Kingpin, and Electro are
seen with faux cards (with Dikto and Romita artwork), while Dr. Octopus
(a custom figure) is displayed with even more classic Silver Age Romita artwork!

Above: A custom Captain America is seen on two card types, both
spotlighting 60s comic art by Jack Kirby, Cap's 1940s co-creator!

Above: More madcap Marvel Megos! Spidey foes the Rhino and Vulture (both
customized figures) get custom cards, with more Romita art featured, while
Thor and Ant-Man (also a custom) get the Kirby treatment! Iron Man is an
original 1975 Mego figure, while Dr. Strange, a custom job, is seen on his
own occult-culled card with more riotous Romita art!

Above: My box art for my custom Rhino and Doc Ock
Mego figures! Made to look like the "real thing,"
if Mego had ever produced these figures!