Monday, May 31, 2010

Loot is what she lived for

Not much to this story from Wings Comics #74 (October 1946) other than the great cover and the page featuring the shot to the face. It is noteworthy that Madame Hell Hawk went to jail at the end and didn't betray her fellow bandits due to some good American loving from Captain Wings.

Risking my expletive deleted

Noticed while watching the awesome Breaking Bad last night that even the most innocuous word used as a swear was censored for the closed captioning but the audio remained raw and unedited.

Kind of funny since the opposite usually occurs when shows or movies that are heavily dubbed for content for a broadcast somehow usually fail to go to the expense of going back and editing the captioning. There have even been instances where a entertainment or news show will be showing a clip in the background and the clips' captioning while override that of the main show. It was really only disconcerting once when a news story about porn accidentally being broadcast during a prime time network slot showed a steady stream of closed captioning describing in detail the otherwise heavily-pixelated scene playing on the overlay adjacent to the newscaster.

Yes, some pornographic films are closed captioned. Yes, that's freaking stupid as decaf coffee.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A melody I'd never heard before

Sure, we all make fun of those old Silver Age romance comic books but every now and then they get one of those stories right. If this page didn't tug at the heart strings then you are dead inside.

The cover on the other hand is unintentionally (?) hilarious.

Girls' Romance #101 (June 1964).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's a thin line

I guess there are worse foundations for a relationship. At least hatred is more honest than marrying for money.

From Heart Throbs #90 (July 1964).

Don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been

Something was lost in translation, maybe? Found in a local San Diego store 5-26-10.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wouldn't make the back page in Metropolis

It must be difficult to make a living as a photographer in the DC Universe what with the sky opening up every other day, star ships crashing into parks, demons running around and people flying about. The competition for a news-worthy photo that would catch the interest of a public used to giant star ships hovering and 100 foot tall men striding through the city must be fierce. In the real world this photo would be a Pulitzer-winner. But in the DCU even the most spectacular photo, even one that caught a buzzard getting disintegrated by the impact flash of a meteor would barely rate publication unless it was in some dusty desert burg.

From DC Super-Stars #15 (July-August 1977) and of course Bob Kanigher wrote it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Susan Foreman

...Is more hardcore than you will ever be.

Doctor Who (Series 1, Episode 4, The Firemaker. Originally aired 14 December 1963).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cola Wars

Vendors are very territorial. Still, when fighting on multiple fronts don't ever take your eyes off the beer barons.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Earth to the Moon

I can't recall what episode of the early-1970s British television show UFO this scene is from but I really want that map detailing the flight path of objects between the earth and the moon. I don't know if the map is representative of actual space flights or was made specially as a background prop revealing SHADO operations but it would be cool either way.

Interior Design

Icon-filled pattern found on the interior of the covers of many Dell paperback books circa 1949 noting the various types of books the company published. In an era of largely misleading book covers the large identifying icon placed somewhere on the front of the book would let a reader (and vendor stocking the stands) know at a glance from what category of fiction they were browsing. Due to the extra expense of printing, interior cover patterns are nearly non-existent today.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From the Collection: Sinister Barrier

Sinister Barrier was originally published in 1939 for the pulp magazine Unknown and was re-issued for this 1985 volume with suitably horrifying cover art by the great Ralph McQuarrie.

There's being mischievous

...And then there is this little demon seed.
From the psychotic man-baby contemplating the gigantic mystery pie with horrible, unnamed ingredients to the shark-toothed demon-mother-wife-jailer and the rushing river euphemistically named the "County Orphanage" this Golden Age attempt at humor begs for a modern-day treatment by a good horror or shock writer. There's undoubtedly an entire unknown back story to this tale and I believe we are looking into a region of hell.
From Jack in the Box #11 (October 1946).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Because of Susan

Silver Age subtext, however unintentional, from Girls' Love Stories #117 (February 1966). Much like issue #152 of the same series, change a few word balloons and the story takes on an entirely different meaning.

From the Collection: Invasion from Mars

A Dell Backmap book. Invasion from Mars, Interplanetary Stories selected by Orson Wells (1949).

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's a trade off

I guess all that water that is saved using less soap washing clothes can be used to process the pulp to make all these paper tags hanging on bottles of laundry detergent.

BONUS: Don't forget the water saved in not nourishing all the trees that are cut down to supply the raw materials! It's a win/win!

- Found hanging on hundreds of bottles of laundry detergent in a local San Diego grocery store, May 2010.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shut up and worship her

Blondie performs Contact In Red Square & Kung Fu Girls (1977).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who, Iron Man and links

Movies: Went and watched the Iron Man 2 movie the other day and it was a fun time. The movie isn't as good in my opinion as the first but I still liked it. In fact, I liked it enough to take the time to ad the awesome Sam Rockwell to the poster. It's a crime he was left off it.

My main complaint, and one which applies to nearly every Marvel super-hero movie made in the last decade, is that the story once again was all about someone creating a mess and being hailed a hero for cleaning up after themselves. For some reason Hollywood seems almost incapable of making a comic book film that doesn't involve a threat from within and/or a relative of the antagonist.

The other problem I have is with armored fighters in particular who remove their protective head gear during battle. I'm sure this is done for the purpose of the story and sometimes due to contractual obligations for the actor to get so many minutes of screen time (Yes, I'm looking at you, Toby McGuire). But it still bugs me and has for some time. But then I guess if they didn't show the audience their faces from time to time then the film would be nothing but voice-over work with CGI and actors nodding their helmets as they pretended to speak like a super-ninja from Power Rangers.

I agree the Mandarin needs to make an appearance as the villain in the next film. I don't see that character as a racist sterotype as much as some do. It is probably a knee-jerk PC reaction to the name and the fact that the character has an origin during the Red-baiting days of Stan Lee being at the helm of the Marvel books. I think the company has redeemed the Mandarin as a viable character not only from the animated movie of a year or so ago but also in the classic Fin Fang Foom storyline from the comic book. No longer a Commie, just a megalomaniac who wants to use the trappings of the past to secure power in the present day.

I don't see the Ten Rings mentioned in the film being the magical or technological rings from the comic book series. That would be hard to accomplish and not look silly. More than likely the rings will turn out to be a family symbol of some kind or the crest of a branch of a guild. A film from years ago that featured a Thugee cult as the villains had the members being awarded a ring to place on the hilt of their murder-dagger every time they passed a stage in their training. Eventually the rings would complete the hilt and when held up to the light, the shadow cast by the rings on the handle would show a profile of the leader of the cult. Maybe the Ten Rings would turn out to be be something like that.

DVD: Re-watched Real Genius. Such a great and funny 80s movie. Liked Val Kilmer (how the mighty have fallen!) irked by the kid. Still inappropriately attracted to the weird girl.

Re-watched Night Shift. In my opinion Henry Winkler did his best job ever in front of the camera for this comedy though a pre-Cheers Shelly Long and then new-comer Michael Keaton stole the film. Fav quotes: "That Barney Rubble. What an actor!" and not to forget "Hello, this is Chuck to remind Bill to SHUT UP!"

Comic Books: Slight yet geeky Iron Man movie spoiler! The stunt of "crossing the streams"? Iron Man first did that way back in Avengers Annual #6 (1976).

Television: The up-coming television series Terra Nova is getting a lot of internet press lately. Many are comparing it to The Land of the Lost because of the time-travel element in which a family is thrown back to the dinosaur age. From what I'm reading it sounds more like Jurassic Park but without all the messy licensing and contractual issues. I'm looking forwards to watching it. Even if it is terrible some SF is better than no SF. I'm tired of the long periods in which the best science fiction on TV is contained in car commercials.

Doctor Who: Been watching episodes of the Jon Pertwee interpretation of the Doctor recently. His version is full of humor and honest horror. Not a lot of running but a heck of a lot of shouting and yelling.

The new Doctor played by Matt Smith is fresh, the fans are negative goofs and so far the show is keen to watch. Vampires of Venice was notable for one trait of the Doctor that a lot of people miss because they always accept him as some sort of super-hero. The Doc, as much as he meddles, would stand by and watch (albeit with sadness) if the entirety of humanity were killed and eaten by aliens if that were the natural order of things. He gets involved usually only when the characters are evil, monstrous and get a thrill when applying their rapacious ways.

Lost: Enjoying this show. Can't wait for the climax. Dread the inevitable very special Lost Christmas Reunion Special in 2020.

Fringe: This is the show I'm most excited about right now. Waiting a week for each new episode is painful. But if I had the power to cancel the show with extreme prejudice I would have done so after that storyteller/noir episode a few weeks back. That was nearly unwatchable. Happily the next episode redeemed it. I'm a sucker for alternate universe stories and the appearance of Walternate totally nailed.

Toys: 30 years ago I would have killed for an Iron Man toy. Fortunately nowadays I can avoid the moral implications of murder and jail time by a visit to the mall and about 6 bucks. Yesterday I picked up the classic comic series toy for my desk. It is cool. This Iron Man game I may get just because it is silly.

Immigrant 1/American Citizen 0: It bears repeating that they man who called in the failed Times Square car bomb planted by an American citizen of Muslim faith was an immigrant from Senegal who is also of the Muslim faith. The media however is continuing to demonize the naturalized citizen and has made little or no mention that the hero of this tale has the same basic religious philosophy as the bad guy. The more I read about Shahzad the more he comes off as an bitter loser and there are no shortage of people ready to take advantage and use someone like that. A second well-deserved tip of the hat to Samurai Frog.

Art: The news that Frank Frazetta died sure sheds some light on the fight going on between his son and the rest of the family. It will probably be some time before fans find out if the various members of his family was fighting to protect his legacy or being greedy poopy-heads. Conan vs. the Man-Ape is one of my favorite illustrations from one of my favorite Howard stories.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No idea what music has to do with Cricket

But the book is full of musically-themed gags.
From The Art of Coarse Cricket (1963). Art by Antony Wysard.

Friday, May 07, 2010

From the Collection: Armor

John Steakley has written a total of two books in his career thus far. Armor (1984) and Vampire$ (1991). Both books kick genre ass. Director John Carpenter even adapted Vampire$ into a movie that was enjoyable enough but doesn't really do the book justice.

Of the two novels Armor has the deepest plotting though readers are often split on the success of the two inter-mingling plots. I enjoyed both equally. While it is superficially reminiscent of Starship Troopers that goes only as far as the relationship between the the antagonists (the aptly named Ants) and the Armored Corps.

The novel tells two separate stories that crash headlong with a pretty good pay off at the end. One of my favorite novels for quite a while.

A sequel to Armor is in the works.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Blogger Who Ate Stress For Dinner

A year ago I couldn't type in "boy breakfast vintage" into a search engine without the advertisement I used to make the mock-up of the book cover for The Boy Who Ate Stress For Breakfast unfailingly showing up on the first page of the results. Now, I can not locate the original image online anywhere.

The original ad I had located and saved was lost in last years' drive crash. I thought it might be a Leyendecker but it doesn't show up in any of his collections, not that it isn't one of his works. I'm looking for the original ad because I may have to secure the rights for use sometime in the near future.

Can anyone identify the ad this image came from?

I'm willing to send a prize to whoever finds it.

Related: Questions That Need Answers.

From the Collection: Jack of Eagles

Originally published in Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1949, expanded to novel-length in 1952 and re-issued in 1982, Jack of Eagles is one of the lesser-known novels of award-winning author James Blish.

James Blish was most familiar to me in my youth as the author who adapted the Star Trek television shows to book form and wrote the original Trek novel Spock Must Die! One of the ways in which I was introduced to a greater universe of science fiction was through screenplay adaptions of James Blish.

That Jack of Eagles has not been reprinted is a shame as this story is a must read for anyone who is a fan of tales involving telepathy, telekinesis and other mind powers. I would go so far as to say anyone thinking of writing a novel or cinema using those fantastic elements and want to experience how to do the subject matter right should read not only Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human but Jack of Eagles as well.

Monday, May 03, 2010

From the Collection: Dagger of the Mind

Hard to find and out of print, Bob Shaw's Dagger of the Mind is a good blend of science fiction and Lovecraftian horror featuring alien mind-control and murder.

Thought missing, this book was recently rediscovered in a mislabeled box from my storage area. The book was used along with a few others to top off a box before it was sealed.