Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catfights at Christmas!

For those pop culture fans on your Christmas gift list with a slightly sleazier bent, the usual Atomic Kommie Comics™ goodies may be a bit too...tame!
They want something a bit more..risque...a tad more tawdry!
Luckily for them (and you), within our Crime & Punishment™ section lurks the Crimes by Women line of collectibles!

Based on a notorious 1950s comic series that pushed the envelope by featuring ruthless women equal to the worst of their male counterparts, this series' covers were among the "naughtiest" of the pre-Comics Code titles (at worst, PG-13)!
Even so, they were decadent enough to warrant constant mention by Dr. Fredric Wertham in his crusade against comic books detailed in the book Seduction of the Innocent.

If you're looking for a fun, funky, "bad grrrl" Xmas present, scoot on over to Crimes by Women for 10 different, dynamic, deadly designs on an assortment of goodies that'll make kool stocking stuffers or gifts under the tree!

On a sad sidebar, we note the passing of Bettie Page, legendary 1950s pin-up model, and inspiration for many comics fans and professionals, especially the late Dave Stevens, who helped revive both fanboy and mass-media interest in Ms. Page with his beautifully-rendered artwork of her as herself and as The Rocketeer's girlfriend "Betty".
Here's a link to the official Bettie Page website.
Have a look at a woman who was as much a part of "naughty" pop culture as anything at Atomic Kommie Comics™.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Samson brings down the walls (but won't knock over your Christmas tree)!

Long before Thor started swinging Mjolnir in the pages of Marvel Comics, another mythological demi-god strode the four color pages of the Golden Age, dispensing justice.
Samson smashed his way thru the cover of Fantastic Comics #1 in 1939, keeping the cover slot for the book's entire run!
Most of the covers were illustrated by classically-trained Lou Fine, one of comics' best draftsmen, perfectly-suited to drawing a mythological hero!
At first, Samson was just a super-strong guy who wore shorts and sandals and beat up baddies. But, when he received his own comic book a year later, readers were clued into his origin.
In Samson #1, we learned that he was a direct descendant of the Biblical hero, possessed of his ancestor's powers (Super strength, speed and invulnerability)...and his weakness!
Yes, if his hair was cut, he'd lose his strength! (You'd be surprised how many criminals carried around a convenient pair of scissors!) Fortunately, his hair grew at an accelerated rate, so that his periods of incapacitation tended to be days, if not hours! (Hey, it was the 1940s. Outlandish explanations for these things were the norm.)
When he gained his own book, he also picked up a sidekick; David, an orphan he rescued from a crashed plane. David had no superpowers and served as a sounding board for the hero and occasional hostage for Samson to rescue.
Samson kept going for several years until the publisher cancelled Fantastic Comics and tossed Samson out of his own comic, retitling it Captain Aero, and featuring a patriotic aviator!

But, you can't keep a good hero down!
Not one, but TWO publishers have recently revived him!
First, Alex Ross made him a lead character in Project SuperPowers, a new series that features Golden Age characters transplanted to the present day.
Then Erik Larsen brought him back in The Next Issue Project, which revives long-dead comics series and continues their numbering (and their storylines) from their last published issue in the 1940s! (In the case of Fantastic Comics, which ended with #23 in 1942, Larson published Fantastic Comics #24, starring Samson, in 2008, 66 years later!)
To add to that, we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ proudly return comics' first demi-god to his rightful place in the pantheon of the Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ with five different covers including his first and final appearances, on t-shirts, mousepads, mugs, and many other goodies!
So, why not do a Christmas "gift package" of, say the new hardcover Project SuperPowers collected edition and a Samson shirt or mug?
Show your loved one that you respect their hobby, and want to give them something unique to enable them to enjoy it!
Isn't that what Christmas is about? ;-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dinosaurs + Cowboys = Christmas FUN!

They just don't make comics like this anymore!
Masked cowboy hero vs gunslinger riding a pterodactyl...and a bright magenta pterodactyl at that!
It's the sort of concept a nine-year old would come up with while playing with his (or her) brand new action figures under the Christmas tree, mixing the dinosaurs with superheroes and cowboys!
Why not?
That's what makes it so KOOL!
It's so darn silly you just have to look at it and think "what the--?"

That's exactly the sense of wonder we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ still feel!
We want to live in a world where anything can, and does, happen!
In pop culture, we call this "cross-genre", where a story draws elements from disparate categories of fiction.

Sometimes there's a certain logic to it.
One of my favorite books involves fiction's greatest detective dealing with the first alien invasion!
Since he lived in London at the time the invasion took place, it seems only (dare I say it) elementary, that Sherlock Holmes would witness and analyze the Martian invasion of 1898!
That's the basis of Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds by Manly Wade Wellman & Wade Wellman!
That, to us, defines KOOL!
(The fact the story also includes another of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters; Professor Challenger from The Lost World and other sci-fi novels, is a cross-genre bonus!)
Track down a copy. If you're a Holmes, Challenger, and/or War of the Worlds fan (I'm all three), it's well worth the effort!

Sometimes there's no real logic to it except--"why not?"
That's the category where Santa Claus Conquers the Martians goes!
And that's where the cover shown above goes.
This particular design was so cross-genre we put it in three different sections--Dinosaurs!, Masked Western Heroes, and Tykes, Toddlers & Tiny Tots (and Their Mommies)!™ because, hey, it fits in each of those categories, so--"why not?"

Keep the Sense of Wonder alive!
Give a gift that keeps inspiring the imaginations of both the young and the young-at-heart!
Stick a present from Atomic Kommie Comics™ into a stocking or under the tree!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Atomic Kommie Comics' Kiddie Collectibles (Say THAT five times fast!)


Traditional values!
That's what we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ espouse!
And with our G-Rated Tykes, Toddlers & Tiny Tots (and Their Mommies)!™ section, we restore the classic animated cartoon/comic book style that Disney, Warner Brothers, the Fleischer Brothers, and others in the 30s, 40s, and 50s did so wonderfully, to kiddie clothes and accessories!
Funny animals (including SuperDuper Mouse, Cosmo Cat & SuperDuper Cat), Clowns, Cowboys, Spacemen, and more in the retro style your parents and grandparents wore when they were little!
Available on
Bibs
Onesies / Creepers / Infant BodySuits
Infant / Toddler T-shirts
Kids' T-Shirts
Diaper Bags / SchoolBags
Shopping / Tote Bags
Nursery / Kids' BedRoom Clocks
Mugs
MousePads
Nursery / Kids' BedRoom Calendars
Refrigerator / BedRoom Magnets
Stick 'em in a stocking!
Toss 'em under the tree!
Add something that SCREAMS "cute" to your child's Christmas presents!

And, if you do pick up one of our items, take a picture of your tyke wearing or playing with it, and we'll post it here on the blog!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spend Christmas Protecting America in the Far Future with...SPACE CADET!

You've come to Atomic Kommie Comics™ because you want something different (and reasonably-priced) for your kitch-loving Special Someone this Christmas!
What would we suggest?
Within our The Future WAS Fantastic!™ section are some of the niftiest sci-fi collectibles for the pop-culture fan, including Space Cadet!

In the 1950s, the Space Cadet series was to kids what Power Rangers are now; an incredibly-popular saga of teenagers banded together, using advanced technology to protect humanity from evil!
The 24th Century-set series followed heroic stalwart Tom Corbett, logical Venusian exchange student Astro, and cranky Roger Manning, during their tenure at the Space Academy, before graduating to join the Solar Guard. (Is it just me or does that sound a helluva lot like Kirk, Spock & McCoy, especially with the new Star Trek prequel film detailing their StarFleet Academy days?)
Despite the fact they were students, the trio (and assorted hangers-on) constantly found themselves in the thick of danger, usually due to the classic "we're the only ship in the area" plot device. (Geez this DOES sound like Star Trek!)
The show was done live as 15-minute episodes, three days a week. Storylines ran from a week (3-episodes) to a month (18-21 episodes).

Kids flocked home after school to watch Space Cadet, wore Space Cadet pajamas and costumes, and played with Space Cadet toys! (Now that sounds like Power Rangers, doesn't it?)

Trivia:
Some of the concepts are similar to the 1948 Space Cadet novel by Robert Heinlein, but the Joseph Lawrence-created series concept predates the book by several years, with an unsold radio show pilot and newspaper strip entitled "Tom Ranger and the Space Cadets" circulated for sale to licensors in the mid-1940s. Though Heinlein never officially contributed to the tv series, a number of concepts from his novel found their way to the final aired version in 1950. (Think of the way Star Wars-like elements [like cute robots and space fightercraft] were added to Buck Rogers when it was revived for tv in 1979!)
The show ran on all four tv networks during it's original run! In order: CBS (1950), ABC (51-52), NBC (52-53), DuMont (the home of Captain Video, 53-54) and back to NBC (54-55)!
The show's science advisor was Willy Ley, noted rocket scientist and author of the non-fiction book Conquest of Space (basis of a classic George Pal movie)
Space Cadet produced a dramatic radio spin-off, using the tv show actors, and adapting existing tv show scripts. (Usually, it was the other way around, with a radio show producing a tv show spin-off.)
There were also novels, comic books, a newspaper comic strip, and a couple of lp record albums featuring the show's cast in new stories! And, they were one of the first live-action tv shows to have their own View-Master 3-D reel sets!

We've brought back the teen hero and his buddies in our own Space Cadet line of mugs, messenger bags, shirts and other goodies, all of which would make kool stocking stuffers or presents under the tree!
Plus: we've also done some toddler-level Space Cadet stuff like bibs, onesies/creepers, infant t-shirts, and diaper bags in our G-Rated Tykes, Toddlers & Tiny Tots (and Their Mommies)!™ section!
Why should adults have all the fun?

This Christmas, let your loved ones enjoy a gift of the best of the future, produced in the past, and available now! (Wha???)

Monday, December 8, 2008

What's better than a SuperHero under the tree? A WHOLE GROUP OF SUPERHEROES!

"If ONE hero on a cover sells books, stick a BUNCH of 'em on the cover, and we'll sell even more copies!"
That was the philosophy behind anthology comics like America's Best Comics, Big 3 Comics, and 4 Favorites.

Originally, comic anthology covers would feature one hero in action, with other characters' heads in little inserts along the side or bottom of the cover. Each hero would rotate as the main cover character every few issues.
At some point, an editor, trying to keep track of which character went on which issue, probably said "Hell, this month put them ALL on it!" and the first multi-hero cover burst onto the newsstands of America! Sales skyrocketed, and covers featuring hordes of heroes became the standard!

Even though these multi-hero covers featured the characters interacting, inside the comic, the heroes only worked together in text stories, if at all!
In fact, sometimes the covers were just symbolic designs (like the patriotic one above) to showcase which characters' strips were inside!
The comic stories inside the book were individual strips of those cover-featured heroes.
( It wasn't until All-Star Comics #3, featuring a framing sequence about a meeting of heroes linking the various characters' strips together, that the first true super-hero group, The Justice Society of America, was born.)

We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ have always been suckers for covers showing heroes (and heroines) working together to defeat a common foe, rescuing innocents, or just hanging out!
So, we've assembled some of the best multi-hero covers in our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ section!
America's Best Comics, Big 3 Comics, and 4 Favorites featured the top characters of their respective lines, much as World's Finest featured Superman, Batman & Robin, and All-Winners displayed Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and The Human Torch for DC and Marvel, respectively. (And most of America's Best Comics, Big 3 Comics, and 4 Favorites have NEVER been reprinted! Talk about your buried treasures!)
We've digitally-restored and remastered them directly from the original books onto a plethora of potential pop culture presents including mousepads, blank sketchbooks, t-shirts, and other collectibles.

Think what your graphic-novel-reading loved one will say when he (or she) finds these kool retro-style tchochkies under the Christmas Tree or in their stocking!

Plus: think of the value! A half-dozen heroes for the price of one!
It was a bargain 70 years ago; and still is, today!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Woman Who Loved Scrooge!

When you think of Ebenezer Scrooge, "lovable" is probably the last word you'd associate with him.
Yet, one woman gave her heart to him...was engaged to him...and had her heart broken by him!
Her name was Belle!

She appears twice in A Christmas Carol, during Scrooge's journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
First, we see how the young Scrooge choose between his love of money and love of her.
Second, we see how, after the breakup, she married a good man and together they raised a loving family, giving Scrooge a look at what "might have been" had he chosen to remain with her!

Almost every dramatic adaptation shows the first incident, but omits the second scene (usually due to time constraints), thus many people have never known how Belle's life turned out after Scrooge left her!
(You'd be surprised how many people have never actually read the story, only seen the tv or film versions!)

Most of the illustrators of the many editions that have been printed over the decades have also bypassed the conclusion of Belle's plotline.
But not Arthur Rackham!
The legendary illustrator did not one, but two color illustrations just for the short conclusion to Belle's story in Stave Two!
And we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ just had to include both of them in our A Christmas Carol collection!
One, "Belle & Children" shows Scrooge's once-love playing with her kids.
The other, "Belle's Family" portrays the children crowding around their father as he comes home, laden with presents!

They're absolutely beautiful pieces, some of the best work Rackham ever produced!
In fact, I'm using one of them as my personal Christmas card this year.
You might want to do the same...
Just a thought, from your faithful servant--B
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