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Spider-Man and the Hulk’s 1970s TV shows once both held great promise, but only one fulfilled it

March 2, 2015

Spider-Man and Hulk TV shows

With the word coming down that Marvel is getting a degree of control back when it comes to the Spider-Man movie rights, one is bound to reflect on the assorted live-action adaptations the wall-crawler has had over the years. Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week: Milestone: The Dakota Universe (1993, SkyBox)

February 28, 2015


It’s often been remarked how lily-white the world of comics has been throughout its lengthy history. In fairness, good old stapled newsprint wasn’t alone in this lack of minority representation, as its pop-fiction cousins, TV and movies, have had similar struggles. But comics seemed to be even more non-representative, a problem that has trickled down to the present day as other once under-representative mediums have integrated much more fully. Yes, there have been strides made in the past couple of decades, but it’s not easy to completely fix things when there are a number of venerable black characters with the color of their skin appended to their very names: Black Panther, Black Lightning, Black Racer, et al.

In the mid-nineties, a newly formed company called Milestone Media sought to redress this imbalance. Securing a publishing deal with DC Comics and developing their own shared world, the Dakota Universe, a group consisting primarily of African-American creators tried to tilt (or untilt) the scales. To close out Black History Month, our featured trading card set for this week is going to be the series of cards that commemorated that world. Read more…

Leonard Nimoy, RIP. Or LLAP.

February 27, 2015

Even when he was at his goofiest we loved him. Sad day.

The towering figure that was, and is, Frederick Douglass – Golden Legacy #7, #8

February 26, 2015

Frederick Douglass comic book

With all respect to the many towering African-American figures that have come after, none have stood as tall as the first intellectual champion of their rights: Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery, he dragged himself up from that hell, escaping into a life of the mind, and honed a voice that rings down to this very day. Those who carried his legacy forth — one that began before there was even such a thing as “civil rights,” much less a movement — people like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, were very much following in his trailblazing footsteps. Read more…

Howard the Duck is trapped in a sales pitch he never made! Waaugh!

February 18, 2015

Howard the Duck

How often back in the day did you see Playboy as one of the critical publications girding a comic book reputation — or at least mentioned as doing so in an ad? It’s enough to make the likes of Fredric Wertham roll over in his grave. Read more…

Thor vs. The Asgardian Goldfinger vs. Twinkies!

February 16, 2015

Thor Twinkies ad

Gudrun, the “Glutton for Gold,” might not be at the forefront of Asgard’s pantheon, but he apparently has an Odin-sized hankering for all things associated with that precious metal — which extends to goldish-hued snack cakes. Read more…

Sunday Stupid: Long before Walter White squared off with Gus Fring, he battled his own hemorrhoids!

February 15, 2015

Bryan Cranston, one of the more likable people in Hollywood, has now gratifyingly ascended to the apex of the acting world. After numerous supporting turns, most famously as the somewhat sleazy dentist Tim Whatley and the father on Malcolm in the Middle, his talents were finally given full rein as Walter White in Breaking Bad. But like everyone else he wasn’t always there at the top, or even on one of the lower rungs of that metaphorical ladder to thespian megastardom. Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week – Saturday Night Live (1992, Star Pics)

February 13, 2015

SNL cards

It’s startling that Saturday Night Live is reaching one of the big round anniversary numbers this year, but it is. That venerable sketch comedy show, with its en vogue host of the week, musical acts, fake news and a finger on the pulse of up-to-the-minute satire, has been around for 40 years now. Forty. Four-Oh. And its big bash is tomorrow night, with a cornucopia of stars scheduled to help blow out the candles — they’re even getting Eddie Murphy back this time. For those of us who can clearly remember the 25th anniversary revels for Lorne Michaels’ brainchild, if not the very first episode, this is one of those clear markers that, yes indeed, time flies. Especially when you’re having fun. Read more…

Very white bread for children with very white teeth! (And Close Encounters cards!)

February 11, 2015

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Wonder Bread cards

The Close Encounters of the Third Kind trading cards from Topps was one of the first sets we profiled here on the site, but we haven’t quite gotten to the Wonder Bread iteration — someday. And speaking of Wonder Bread, is it really that wonderful? Was jelly sogging through it such a selling point for the youth of America? (When I was that age it was always a sign of a ruined boxed lunch.) Has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever made kids smile as widely as the ones we see above, with rictus grins that look almost painful in their extremity? (They look like they’ve been poisoned by the Joker.)

Back to Close Encounters — as a man who has its movie poster framed and hanging in my home, I think it’s safe to say that, had I been alive back then, that CE3K Skywatchers membership coupon would have been clipped and mailed in. Keep watching the loaves!

Spider-Man swings back into the fold!

February 10, 2015


Long rumored and longer desired, Spider-Man is finally coming to the shared Marvel movie world. The news broke last night that the most vexing of the properties that Marvel farmed out back in the day and has always wanted to get back will no longer be sequestered: Sony and Marvel have agreed to a partnership that will allow Peter Parker and co. into the Avengers-verse. And many hallelujahs rang out amongst fans of the spectacular/amazing one. Read more…

Marvel Boy, 3-D Man, Venus, Gorilla-Man and the Human Robot — the Avengers!(?) – What If…? #9

February 9, 2015

What If? 1950s Avengers

Marvel’s What If…? series was often a font for the joyously preposterous. From the Venom symbiote taking over Thor — and Thor’s hair — to Conan vaulted forward to the present dayand getting stuck there again — there was never a shortage of tangents for creative teams to pursue. The possibilities might not not have been legitimately infinite, but it sure seemed that way a lot of the time. What If…? was imagination stacked on top of imagination, and it made for some really fun reading for daydreaming kids of all ages — even when under normal circumstances you couldn’t care less about the character(s) getting the hypothetical treatment that month.

Today we have before us one of the more whimsical entries in this long-running series. It posits the question: What if the Avengers had been formed during the Golden Age of comics? What the what now? Read more…

Han Solo’s green shirt! Obi-Wan Kenobi’s red robe! Darth Vader’s green lightsaber!

February 7, 2015

1970s Star Wars toy ad

The iconography of Star Wars characters has so tattooed itself onto the pop consciousness, it’s hard to remember when their every facet wasn’t internalized by all levels of the marketing machine. But yes, there was such a time. Read more…

Trading Card Set of the Week – Saga of the Dark Knight (1994, SkyBox)

February 6, 2015

Batman Saga of the Dark Knight cards

As we’ve already noted, the first two major 1990s DC trading card sets had a glaring absence: Batman, in fact the entire Batman sphere, was nowhere to be found. This was because Impel had the license the broader DC world, while the Batman rights were bound up with the licensing associated with the Tim Burton film franchise. So as Impel jerry-rigged a couple of sets — Cosmic Cards and Cosmic Teams — scrubbed of the terrestrial bat-element, Topps was putting out things like the Stadium Club Batman Returns cards. To put it in all too current terms, it was a bit like Sony having the Spider-Man rights while the MCU spins along without its web-slinger frontman. And, to pilfer some of the old TV show’s alliteration, it was a baleful bifurcation.

But DC’s card output couldn’t be Batman-less forever. Read more…

Daredevil, daredevilling soon to a streaming device near you!

February 4, 2015

The upcoming Netflix wing of the Marvel screen universe is intriguing to say the least. Read more…

Is Aurora’s spacewalking astronaut better than Matt Mason? You decide!

February 3, 2015


Whether or not Aurora’s “American Astronaut” model kit is superior to the Matt Mason toys is purely a matter of aesthetic preference. That and a measure of one’s tolerance for glue. But you have to grant this: one is certainly more dignified than the other.