You don’t see these around much. “Mighty Midget Comics” are relics of the Golden Age, that era’s forerunner of the Bronze Age’s fondly remembered digest format. Even more likely to be thrown out — or recycled in wartime paper drives — than their larger cousins, they have a certain rarity amongst collectors today. And, frankly, most don’t even know what the hell they are. I didn’t. Without the aid of Google, I never would have been able to track their listing down in the Overstreet Guide.
Sold two for a nickel (a nickel), they reprinted stories found in the regular-sized titles of their stars – and made no attempt to have a cohesive numbering system. This 1942 book, theoretically “#11,” isn’t the only book to be graced with those digits. Maybe this was because they were too small for anyone to give a damn. They’re slightly smaller than digests in all three dimensions, and they’re stapled once on the spine. Seventy years after their publication, they’re the very definition of fragile — like butterfly wings – but I did take a couple of scans from the inside, though. Don’t say I never do anything for anyone. (I was holding it on the scanner with all the delicacy of a TV character disarming a nuclear bomb.) Let’s get to those scans. Read more…
The copy in this ad certainly paints a grim picture, with Japanese kamikaze pilots condemned to die a fiery death for the doomed glory of their Empire. But hey, at least American kids got to build models of their Zeros, right? There’s that! It wasn’t all in vain!
Point this at your Doolittle Raider model and have yourself a gluey miniature air war.
I rewatched 2009′s Star Trek a few nights ago, to both go into Star Trek Into Darkness with a running start and see if my feelings about it still hold four years after its release. They do. It was and is a fun, energetic resuscitation of a flailing franchise, one that injected sex, color and, most importantly, youth into a body that was coding out on the table. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto stepped into iconography with aplomb, reigniting a bromance that could always transcend whiz-bang special effects. What man can watch Kirk and Spock’s glass-partitioned Wrath of Khan farewell and not tear up? That J.J. Abrams brought that back to the pop entertainment fore is a good deed that can’t be lightly cast aside.
Star Trek was a nitpickers smorgasbord, though, with problems big (Kirk, a cadet, is made Enterprise captain at movie’s end? Didn’t he once get demoted after Earth-saving derring-do?) and small (How did Nero know that Kirk’s father was on the Kelvin, so that he could taunt him with that fact while strangling him later? Should we really have to read a comic prequel to fully understand our villain’s motivation? Why has Orion slave girl makeup technology regressed in the last forty years? THE BRIDGE IS SO BRIGHT IT BURNS RETINAS.). Yes, it was fun, and deserved the boffo box office returns it got. But the good ship Enterprise had these assorted anchors, which kept her (new) maiden voyage from going where no Trek film had gone before. (It also left this viewer with this lingering sadness: A film like A Voyage Home, a Star Trek light comedy about saving whales of all things, will never get a greenlight in this movie climate. If the script doesn’t devolve into guns firing and people punching each other, than it need not apply.)
Perhaps the reboot’s greatest service was getting all our old familiar players in their familiar spots by the time the credits rolled, which meant that the next time — and of course there would be a next time — we would get the full-bore Kirk-Spock-McCoy-etc. adventure we really want, with everyone in the right color uniforms from beginning to end. Which is what Star Trek Into Darkness (a stupid title in desperate need of a colon) purports to be. A Star Trek in Full. Does it outrun the failings of its predecessor? Is it better? Worse? Read more…
There are times when our beloved comic books can cross-pollinate with other things, and in glorious synergy become more than the sum of their coupled parts. This Hercules comic is one of those times. Not so much because of anything to do with the Hercules character, who has had good and not so good comic iterations, or, indeed, anything intrinsic within the book itself. What makes it so special is that the Steve Reeves Hercules movie that it adapts was once featured on that classic trove of celluloid mocker, Mystery Science Theater 3000. And, for fans of that show who enjoy the world of sequential art, that makes it a minor treasure trove of delight. Read more…
While a “Beaverbear” seems like an odd choice to associate with caramels, we have to keep in mind that in India, smelly, filth-flinging monkeys are thought of as perfectly acceptable lollipop spokesmen, and their ads include lots of off-putting references to licking. Advantage Kraft.
The Cheerios Kid, with his outer space outfits and Cheerios-engorged biceps, is no stranger to this blog. The ersatz Death Star, however, is (it’s all about the equatorial belt). It’s like someone took the Ultimate Power in the Universe and filtered it through grape soda, LSD and disco.
I looked for pictures of the Explorer XIX satellite and found this giant one, which makes it look as if the Death Star had been in The Day the Earth Stood Still. I bet it would have been great fun on the beach, or in the bleachers at a ballgame on a sunny summer day. Wouldn’t want to be the one to inflate it, though.
Did Lucas like Cheerios? Was he reading comics in the mid-1960s? One wonders. (Well, not really.)
I saw a little blurb the other day about how there’s going to be a DC vs. Masters of the Universe mash-up crossover later this summer. I have no thoughts about that, other than the eventual product will probably be loud, stupid, and probably a teensy-weensy bit fun for those plopping down their cash to read it. Can’t say that I’ll be queued up on its release day to get my hand on a copy, but we can all wish those behind it the best. That little notice did trigger one thing in my head, though: it brought back fond memories of a another little crossover — though it wasn’t actually a crossover at the time, any more than Superman racing the Flash would have been a crossover.
DC Comics Presents #47 was the first He-Man comic book appearance (if you’re not counting the little, largely forgotten comics that came with the toys), a precursor to the insert story that was bound into the DC comics line later that year. It’s a little bit odd, in that the aesthetic and populace of Eternia, which would soon become familiar to a generation of boys thanks to the cartoon series, was still being fleshed out. As such, there’s a double-edged sword at play: You might not get an assemblage of the colorful characters that you love so much, but you also don’t get crap like the Meteorbs. Or Orko. Take the good with the bad, I guess. And, being an interesting relic, there’s more good than bad. Read more…
No offense to the fine people at Clearasil, but I found decades ago, during my relatively acne-free adolescence, that their products weren’t all that revolutionary. Certainly not potent enough to force my face into a strained Joker rictus grin. Maybe their greatest value is as some sort of placebo, providing a feeling that you’re at least doing something to prevent the zit craterization of your face. Like the epidermis equivalent of Tom Hanks firing his pistol at the tank at the end of Saving Private Ryan.
Apparently there were some unadvertised teeth-whitening side effects with your Clearasil DoubleClear pads. Knowledge for life.
I have no experience with Bayou Billy or his video game adventures, which seem to have a distinct urban-meets-outlands Crocodile Dundee vibe, with a healthy dose of Pole Position mixed in. Apparently it was a devilishly difficult game to conquer — again, no personal knowledge on that front. But his fightin’, drivin’, zappin’, and shootin’ monkeyshines, set in and around New Orleans, would seem tailor made for a modern reality show. Duck Dynasty crossed with Soldier of Fortune. Or something.
And you know what? There was a Bayou Billy comic book series. A whole SERIES. How about that, huh? Yet I still have no Twin Peaks or Magnum, P.I. comics to sate my old-timey thirst. Where’s the justice, you know?
Star Trek fandom takes a lot of abuse, most of it unwarranted, much of it understandable. The reason why William Shatner’s infamous “GET A LIFE!” SNL sketch stabbed at the heart of Trek nation was because its “colossal waste of time” indictment strayed a bit too close to the mark. This isn’t to say that it was right — that fans have turned something that Shatner “did as a lark for a few years, into a colossal waste of time.” Fandom knows no rationality, no one begrudges hobbies, and collecting memorabilia from a 1960s TV show that gained an unceasing foothold in the world’s pop consciousness seems just as valid a diversion as any. It ain’t worse than Beanie Babies, put it that way.
But man oh man, there’s a lot of Star Trek crap out there — emphasis on the “crap.” Chintzy, useless crap, reminiscent of those lame collector plates you’d always see advertised in TV Guide back in the day. In fact, now that I think of it, I think I saw some Star Trek plate ads back then, too. (Who displays those things in their home? Does Miss Havisham live there? With Leatherface?)
You can probably lump this set of trading cards in with the chintzy mountain of crap. Read more…
Hayley Mills, a Siamese, Frank Gorshin and that gravelly-voiced guy from Laredo. BE THERE. – Walt Disney’s That Darn Cat
Every generation has its teen idols, personified fads that make sense to adolescents at the time but mystify adults — and the adolescents when they themselves reach adulthood. Now we seem to be entering into the final stage of Justin Bieber’s apotheosis, as the screaming girls and trademark scents at the Macy’s perfume counter morph into gas masks, random hospitalizations and monkeys held at customs. Have teen idols become weirder as the media landscape has fractured and metastasized? The Biebs would argue yes.
All this is fodder for another day and another place. But today we have before us a comic adaptation of a film starring a 1960s child actor, a precursor of the modern teen idol archetype. Behold, Hayley “Parent Trap” Mills, and her celluloid masterpiece known as That Darn Cat!. Read more…
This little scamp of an advertisement takes the classic squirrel-monkeys-by-mail ad and extends it to the entire animal kingdom — make that the entire wild animal kingdom. The sharp teeth of your domesticated dog not threatening enough? Try a wolf! Your parakeet in its cage not fitting the avian bill? Try a hawk that would just as soon stab your eyes out as look at you! Ever thought “Gee, I wish the garbage can would get tipped over more often”? Then get a raccoon, nature’s trash-rifling felon!
Or just get a skunk, the trump card of the whole lot. Whether or not the stink glands are removed before shipping would make buying one a bit like Russian roulette, no?
There are two great character contributions that Walt Simonson made during his long tenure as the God of Thunder’s writer and artist. The first was Beta Ray Bill, the equine alien cyborg who stumbled into possession of Mjolnir and became one of the staunchest allies that Asgard ever had. The second was Thor as a frog. Repeat: THOR AS A FROG. Thanks to another dickish spell from Loki, the worst adopted brother in the history of this or any other world, Thor slummed for a couple of Simonson issues as a short, strong-legged amphibian in New York City’s Central Park. He even found a little love along the way, with a frog princess (this was the cherry on top of this deliciously silly sundae).
Though this story was of course made up, you can’t make this up, if you catch my drift.
After a couple of issues, Thor returned to his tall, blond, Nordic, human self, much to the chagrin of the frog princess he left behind and the fans who — quite understandably, frankly – thought this was the greatest damn story that they had ever seen. But guess what — this wasn’t the last time that Frog-Thor appeared in a Marvel comic. Indeed, the Frog of Thunder was that special hind of oddity which has legs — no pun intended. You can even find busts and Heroclix figures of the guy, if you’re so inclined. And there’s old this issue of What If…?, which features an all-too brief appearance of Thor-as-frog. Read more…
You can finally have the He-Man voice of your dreams, all thanks to the improbably named Eugene Feuchtinger
Who wouldn’t want a He-Man voice, even before there was a He-Man that would necessitate capitalizing the name? Who wouldn’t trust a man with a name like “Eugene Feuchtinger” to give it to them? Hey, is that him in the photo? Look, he’s talking on the phone and everything! Such confidence! Such rampant manliness!
One quibble, though: Is it the “Prefect” Voice Institute or the “Perfect” Voice Institute? Mr. Feuchtinger wouldn’t have such a glaring typo in his own itty-bitty ad, would he? WOULD HE?
In fairness, the ad didn’t promise He-Man Spelling.
(Note: The course is still around, and “Perfect” appears to be the proper spelling. Also that’s not Feuchtinger in the ad. Apparently this is. He has a buzz cut. Of course he does. Also, this isn’t the first blog to remark upon this ad. That is all. Have a nice day.)
Consider this a counterweight to the other CBS Super Heroes post from several days ago, this time with 100% more Aquaman. A few observations: One, Superman apparently can’t be bothered to pose for more than one photo. He’s a busy fellow, after all. Two, I never knew there was an actual Shazzan cartoon, and only knew about the decades-later SNL Robert Smigel parody, the one with an added “g.” (Favorite line: “You’ll miss the picnic!”) I am now fully enlightened. Three, I don’t know if rejiggering Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into an insipid cartoon deserves commendation or condemnation. Both? Four, is Race Bannon spanking Bandit? Isn’t that the sort of thing Race usually saves for his private bedroom time with Benton?
Anyway, enjoy your cartoons, children of the 1960s.
Is it really possible that this is the fourth film in which that Robert Downey, Jr. has brought Tony Stark to vivid life? It doesn’t, does it? Was there ever a time when we looked at the moustached playboy of the Marvel U. as anyone other than the quick-witted, arrogant yet virtuous man whom Downey has come to embody? And now that I think of it, this is the fifth time that Downey has played Stark, since you have to count the Incredible Hulk cameo. Five times. It’s been five years since the first Iron Man film. Five movies in five years reeks of overkill, of a studio strip-mining a fanbase to squeeze every last drop of box office cash out of them, overplayed consequences be damned. And guess what? Audiences are nowhere close to being tired of Downey in this role. I know I’m not. Even in the at times underwhelming Iron Man 2, Downey never faltered.
It’s really amazing when you think about it. Read more…