Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spectacular 70s Sunday SPIDER-MAN Strip! The Looming Lunatic Called LOOMIS! 1979 Marvel Greatness!

Last time, we watched in stunned awe, as Spidey encountered a new possible threat, a mysterious man called Loomis! This self-styled self-help swami (it was the 70s) seems to be nothing more than a harmless crank, but now that he holds cute Carole (Spidey's sexy siren) in his sombre sway, our harassed hero must get involved! Will Peter be swept away by the lyrical lure of Loomis? Can Carole be saved? Does this mean yet another strained sabbatical for Pete's love life? More mile-high Marvel madness form Stan Lee and John Romita. Sr.! Click below to enlarge!

Oddly, this 1979 SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip plot hews closely to the 1977
CBS SPIDER-MAN live-action pilot episode! In that telefilm, Peter Parker meets a
gal-pal who finds herself under the sway of a hypnotic speaker who uses mind-control
to have his followers rob and steal for his gain!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Batman! A Look at the 1974 DC Comics Tabloid! Joker! Penguin! Neal Adams!

It's 1974. Sure, cheeky Marvel Comics is pulling ahead with their lively, loopy and "realistic" superheroes, but there is one thing long-lived DC Comics did first. The venerable firm was first to produce an oversized "tabloid" edition of their comics, in an attempt to find new and alternative comic book formats. It took a few issues (featuring SHAZAM! and, of all things, RUDOLPH), but DC soon got around to spotlighting one of their biggest fan-favorite characters, Batman! This huge "limited collector's edition" not only contained reprints from Batman's storied past, but puzzle pages, pin-ups, special features, just look below to find out for yourself! Click each image to enlarge!

Above: The 1974 ad that started it all! Once I saw this, I made my poor Dad
hop right into his truck, and off we went looking for this book! We tracked it
down at a local tiny indoor newstand, one run by a blind senior citizen (like
a character out of an old detective movie!), happy to make a sale
that weeknight!

Above: Who could resist this power-packed cover? Drawn by Neal Adams, the artist
who was taking Batman back to his urban "roots!" This image (based on an earlier comics
panel) was so popular, it was used on many other products throughout the 70s! 

Above: The book begins with this reprint of a 1941 BATMAN tale, giving us
younger fans a look at the early Joker! Tho plentiful now (in a wide variety of
reprint editions), such peeks at older stories was very rare, in those days before
comic shop access and the internet!

Above: The tome also included this Golden Age story, giving rabid fans a
look at the work of artist Jerry Robinson, who toiled on the strip for a
relatively short time!

Above: Of course, the mid-60s Silver Age Bat-tales had to be addressed, and you couldn't
do much better than this classic, drawn by Batman's main artist of the day, Carmine Infantino!
Even tho this story was only seven years old when reprinted, to an eight-year-old me, it
was a distant classic then!

Above: This tale was only three years old then, but it was a valued reprint for us
young fans, since it was drawn by Neal Adams (with inks by Dick Giordano), and,
once those older comic went off-sale, they were gone! That final panel includes
another Batman pose that would be seen on many products in the coming years! 

Above: As if that wasn't enough, dig these included posters! Sure, this image of the
Joker (by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson) came from a 1966 set that was
whomped up during the height of the TV-spurred "Batmania," but I was grateful to
have it, since getting my young mitts on any seven-year-old Bat-merchandise
was next to impossible then!

Above: And they included this poster pull-out page of the pernicious Penguin!
Unlike today, with carefully-created style guides and corporate-think ruling the day,
DC and their licensees were not afraid to use these years-old images in their
current comics, and on products!

Above: But wait, there's more! Between the above two panic-packed posters
was this double-sized and double-sided image of a leaping, looming Batman!
This seems to be a custom drawing of the Caped Crusader, with some possible
touch-ups by a staff artist! My Mom allowed me to proudly display this pin-up
in our den! Our den!

Above: As an aspiring young artist (even then), one crazed over Batman,
you can imagine the most favored part of this bombastic book! The
above "how to draw Batman" feature, by Carmine Infantino, had appeared
years earlier in the regular comics, but, to me, it was a very rare peek
into "how it was done!" Of course, these are really only model sheets
for the 1968 Filmation BATMAN cartoon, but how I endlessly examined
these images, copying and studying for hours!

Above: Inside the back cover, this titanic tome ran pics of the 1966 BATMAN
cast! Tho the show had been cancelled for five years by the time of this 1974
publication, afternoon reruns of the camp classic had just started in my
area, further fanning the feverish flames of my own Batmania! Sure,
now it's easy to find such pictures online, or in reference books, but
back then, I was thrilled to have any images of the BATMAN TV cast!

Above: As if all of that wasn't enough for ya, the back cover featured a
custom-made "table top diorama," as drawn by Neal Adams! I recall having to
ask my parents what the heck a "diorama" was, and if I even wanted to cut
up my treasured tome! I also loved how this, and the front cover, reflected
Batman's then-current darker and more "realistic" look, as contrasted
with his TV and mainstream persona! Even this image was used on
other Bat-merch of the time! Print the above, and make your own
3-D prize! Just wanna see this little gem assembled? Click here!

Above: Lest you think this decades-old comic magazine is an ill-remembered
thing of the past, click below to see yours truly sporting a new tee that celebrates
this blockbusting book!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Superb 70s SPIDER-MAN Sunday Strip! "This is Un-Real!" Marvel Comics Mayhem!

Last time, we were shocked to see peerless Peter Parker forced into battling his school chum, Flash Thomspon, for the love of Pete's new female flame! How can Pete conclusively clobber Flash, without hurting the macho mook, or revealing his Spider-powers to nearby gawkers? Plus--what can we expect of this new threat, the enraged lunatic? And, why has he altered his facial features? Who will be become? How will it affect Spidey? And--Should Peter lose more fights, if this is his reward? More 1979 Marvel majesty, from writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita Sr.! Click below to enlarge, then whisk over here for the next full-color installment, Web-Walkers!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Teen Titans! Custom Mego Action Figures! Robin! Speedy! Kid Flash! Aqualad! DC Comics!

Here's another peek at my custom Mego figure work! This time, we center in on figures that reflect the super-rare TEEN TITANS line, the final superhero grouping Mego would offer in 1977, as they soon began leaning heavily on movie (THE BLACK HOLE) and TV (DUKES OF HAZZARD) properties. As you can see, I gave each figure a real twist, giving them their own custom packaging! In fact, most of these figures themselves are customizations! Robin uses a head cribbed from a Mego "astronaut" figure (from their PLANET OF THE APES line), but with his usual vest and shoes, with custom gloves, cape and bodysuit added, to give him his 70s "Teen Wonder" look! Aqualad and Speedy are 2005 fan re-issues, with Kid Flash being the only complete original 1977 figure! Click below to enlarge!

Above: The Titans line-up! To bring Speedy more "on-model" to his comics
appearance, his sleeves were trimmed, with long pants added! Mego originally
reversed that look! Aqualad's gloves and boots were also modified to match
his comics gear! 

BONUS! Look below to see the original unaltered 1977 TITANS figures!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ron Wilson! Original 1976 Marvel Cover Art! The Thing! Spidey! Bronze Age Bounty!

Check this perfect little slice of Bronze Age awesomeness! Here is the 1976 cover to MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #17, spotlighting the Thing (from the FANTASTIC FOUR comic) and the ever-amazing Spider-Man! MTIO was an underrated companion book to MARVEL TEAM-UP, but was blessed with some long runs of quality, terrific guest stars, and stellar and steady art by Ron Wilson! Ron also pencilled the captivating cover art you see below, with an apt assist from Joe Sinnott! Just click below to enlarge and enjoy, True Believers!

I bought this ish in the summer of '76, and it sorta defines the Bronze Age
to me! Well-done, simple, but fun comics that did their job by giving you a
half-hour of silly superhero fun. What more is really needed?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Monkees Yell "Charge!" 1977 Albert Bigley Original Comic Art!

Another Monkees masterpiece (?) from my youth! Dig this 1977 drawing of "Mikey," Mike, Peter and Davy, as they charge up a hill in complete "foreign legion" garb! Copied from one of the famed 60s Dell MONKEES comic books, you can tell that the 11-year-old me had a long way to go, specifically when it came to capturing celebrity likenesses! Click below to enlarge!

Above: My 1977 drawing (part of a planned "portfolio?"), cribbed from a 1967
Dell MONKEES comic, the only one I owned at the time (along with a small
smattering of Monkees LPs, 8-tracks, and other memorabilia)! I bought the

 comic from a used book and magazine shop, where I regularly gorged on back-issue
superhero comics, and was thrilled to make this find! Who even knew there
were Monkees comics? Note my wonky tracing of the logo, my oh-so-funny 
captions (swiped from daily afternoon reruns of the show), and the odd 
logo featuring silhouettes of the band!

Above: The page from that same MONKEES comic book that 
inspired my pencilled piece! Art is thought to be by Jose Delbo!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sensational Sunday SPIDER-MAN 70s Strips! "The Smitten Superhero!" 1979 Marvel Magic!

Last time, we looked in on a sunny Spidey, as he enjoyed a rare spot of good fortune, even as a possible new danger loomed, in the form of a freaked-out freed felon! Now, even while our harried hero lets his hair down, he must still deal with personal foes, such as the ever-unflappable Flash Thomspon! Is this mild case of jealousy the only worry Spidey will have to face? How will this escaped lunatic figure into his life? And, will capricious Carole choose Pete or Flash?! More mile-high Marvel mayhem from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, and then wall-crawl over to here for the next full-color Spidey installment!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Return of--the Monkeemobile! 2014 Pontiac Magazine Article and Pics! Monkees!

Now! Here's a great new article torn heedlessly from the pulpy pages of a 2014 HIGH PERFORMANCE PONTIAC magazine! Time to take an intimate look at that mid-60s sensation, the Monkeemobile! Dig all the (speed) specs, the (fast) facts, and the detailed (air) scoops on this super 60s show car! Click below to enlarge and learn more about dandy Dean Jeffries, the dashing designer of the Monkees' radical ride!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Spider-Man and Hulk Save Energy! 1980 One-Shot Special Comic Book! Marvel!

Long-time comics collectors have seen these little premium comics for sale online and at conventions, but how many have looked inside? This special 1980 newspaper insert (for the CHICAGO TRIBUNE) was meant to advertise the Marvel brand to many non-comics fans who may have never picked up a "funny book" in their lives! The interior story is pretty tame fare, but dig these special ads and bonuses sprinkled throughout..Click below to enlarge each!

Above: Off to a fabulous start, with an amazing cover by John Romita, Sr.!

Above: Altho Mego's biggest days were a bit behind them, they were still pushing
variations on their popular 8-inch superhero line! The above "Web-Spinning
Spider-Man" was one of their oddest (and now rarest) figures offered!

Above: Ads like this not only helped defray Marvel's costs (of printing and
paying for the newspaper insertion), but also pushed Marvel as a valuable
and profitable brand to which advertisers were flocking!

Above: No flies on that Marvel Comics Group! With a (hopefully) captive 
audience, why not hit them with a subscription offer? Spidey is seen 
holding HULK #247, CAPTAIN AMERICA # 245, THOR #294, and 

Above: Wisely assuming this may be somebody's first exposure to these colorful
 characters, origin re-caps were included! Spidey's story seems to be culled from
the pages of 1971's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #94, and Hulk's appears to be torn
from 1980's SAVAGE SHE-HULK #1!
Above: Another bonus page! This time, Spidey, Spider-Woman, Captain
America, and Hulk tell you how to conserve energy, in those inflation-addled
days! And, the direct approach is taken, as Marvel asks for letters detailing
how successful this special item was to fans and newcomers! It also served
as a sneaky way to get valuable addresses and demographical information!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Real-Life RED SONJA! 1977 Marvel Comics Mayhem! Early Cosplay!

Look what I found, floating down city streets this week, after a torrential downpour of rain and snow! These pulse-pounding (and precipitation-permeated) pages appear to have been torn crudely from a 1977 issue of SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN magazine, and give us a lecherous look at a manic mall-held convention that featured not one, but multiple versions of real-life Red Sonjas, proudly on display for a number of then-hot Marvel artists and luminaries! Sonja was then, of course, almost as popular as her Conan companion, due (in part) to the stellar work on her strip by artists like Frank Thorne and Rudy Nebres (seen below in pics)! Click below to re-live this slice of early convention (and cosplay) doings!

Wendy Pini would go on to become best-known as the co-creator
of the long-running ELFQUEST comics and graphic novels!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Swingin' 70s SPIDER-MAN Sunday Strip! "Dance, Spidey, Dance!" MarvelMania!

Last time, we watched as Spidey engaged in some limber light-hearted hijinks, after putting the conclusive kibosh on the Kingpin! Now, things really seem to be picking up, as the sensational superhero sees his love life improve, in the fabulous form of Carole Jennings! But, what of this possible new menace to Spider-Man, Harold Lombard? Could this threat be related to captivatin' Carole in some way? And, even tho it's 1979, isn't peter Parker spending a lot of time in the disco? More rare daily strips from Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.! Click below to enlarge, then web-sling over to here for the next fantastic full-color installment!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

SPIDER-MAN! 1967 John Romita Original Cover Art! Kraven! Vulture!

What can I (or anyone) say about this fabulous 1967 Spidey cover, by John Romita, Sr.? It's absolute perfection. Three well-rendered and well-balanced figures in combat! Drama! Motion! Action! Danger! It even has perfect coloring...Stan Lee was not just blowing smoke with his "this one's got it all!" blurb! Click below to enlarge!