Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tara: Queen of the Space Pirates Cover Gallery

Pirates are popular!
Seems obvious now, with the success of the Pirates of the Carribbean series, but from the 1970s until recently, pirates (like cowboys) seemed to have hit a cultural dead-end.
But, back in the 1940s-50s though, they were everywhere!
Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk (both played by Errol Flynn) and Jamie Waring  (Tyrone Power) in The Black Swan typlified the swashbuckling heroic image of pirates on film.
There were, of course, pirate pulp magazines and comic books, as well!
Sci-fi / fantasy in particular, adapted the pirate concept in numerous incarnations, including Star Pirate, Captain Harlock, and, most importantly to us, Tara: Queen of the Space Pirates!
Tara, her second in command / boyfriend Robin (an Errol Flynn lookalike in green), and their engineer Malo, operated out of a base in the swamps of Venus, fighting the tyrannical government of Earth.
(Exactly why they were doing this isn't known to me, as the complete run of Tara's Wonder Comics appearances [#15-20] in my possession are all slabbed!)

At any rate, it's typical fun pirate fare with electro-swords instead of cutlasses and spaceships in place of galleons, but with the added aspect of a strong woman in command!
And, yes, there's an "Avast, ye hearties" and "Keelhaul the space-dog" and other piratey-type phrases tossed in from time to time! (Some things never change!)

That's why we've incorporated Tara into our Heroines™ collection with her own section, featuring not one, not two, but three cool cover designs on an assortment of kool kollectibles!
Just the things to add to your own Fantastic Femme's wardrobe or accessories!
BTW, in case you're wondering, these covers were not inked line art with flat color separations like most comics covers, but airbrush over inked art!
The publisher wanted to stand out from the flood of titles on the newstands, and had his cover artist, Alex Schomburg (aka "Xela") try something different!
It gives them a nifty "storybook" look, eh?

1) From the amazing Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blog, Tara's second appearance from Wonder Comics #16!
One interesting aspect is that the cover for that particular issue (The one at the very top of this blog) has no relation to the story inside!
The cover for #17 (the middle one on this blog) goes with the story in #16! It's the villain and MacGuffin (the jewel she's holding) for that tale!
2) A Gallery of "Xela" airbrush art comic covers, which also has links to other Alex Schomburg-oriented sites!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Design of the Week--Contact Comics Celebrates the END of World War II

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days, then replaced with another!
This week, one of many 1940s comic book covers celebrating the end of World War II.
It's Contact Comics #8 by L B Cole, an absolutely magnificent poster-style design showing aviators of numerous nations that's well-suited for use on t-shirts, mugs, and other collectibles!
And since it's non-violent, it's perfect on our baby / toddler wear as well!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The White Streak aka Manowar

The White Streak did not wear white, nor did he have super-speed.
Appearing in the back of the first issue of Target Comics in 1940, he was an ancient robot buried in a South American mountain for centuries, then discovered by a team of American archeologists and geologists!
Identifying himself to them as "Manowar", the robot explained (in English) that he was created by the now-extinct civilization of Utopia and deliberately left buried until reactivated in a time of world-wide strife!
(World War II had already started, though America had not yet entered the conflict.)
Manowar was meant to be a peacekeeper, ending conflicts thru his amazing abilities including super-strength, invulnerability, and optical energy beams with the impact of cannon shells!
After ending a local conflict (and gaining the name "White Streak" from the scientists, he traveled with the Americans back to the USA,
He figured out how to disguse himself as human, and taking the name "Dan Sanders", Manowar joined the FBI (who apparently weren't big on background checks in those days.) and, using their information resources, battled spies and saboteurs who were trying to harm the still-pacifistic USA!

From the second issue until the introduction of Target & the Targeteers in #10, Manowar was the cover feature.
After that, he went back to being a backup feature until America entered the war after Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941. The idea of a pacifist at such a time didn't seem viable, so the strip was dropped in favor of more aggressively-oriented characters.

Trivia: White Streak was created by Carl Burgos, who seemed to specialize in creating robot / android heroes including Iron Skull, the Silver Age Captain Marvel (who said "Split" and sent various body parts off to operate independently), and, most famously, the Golden Age Human Torch!

We, of course, found a place for such an offbeat character in the Solo Heroes section of Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™!
So, welcome him back!
A good man (or robot) is hard to find! ;-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kevin Smith's Green Hornet--Who Will DIE?

According to reports, someone dies in Kevin Smith's Green Hornet #3!
Is it Green Hornet (Junior)?
Is it Kato (Junior)?
IS it Green Hornet (Senior)?
IS it Kato (Senior)?
Judging from the Alex Ross cover to #4 (above) both the Juniors survive!
SO, will Britt Reid or Kato join the Choir Eternal?
NOTE: In the NOW Comics version (which also had a female Kato), Britt Reid died...
For KSGH #3, I'm betting on Kato (Senior)
BONUS: Penciler Michael Netzer discloses details about the four covers on his blog!
(Now there's a name I haven't seen in a long time! Welcome back, Mike! You've still got the touch!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Cisco Kid & Pancho for Cinco de Mayo

The Cisco Kid was the first Hispanic multi-media superstar, featured in books, movies, radio, comic books, newspaper strips, and eventually, television, predating Zorro in each media (except Zorro never had a radio show)!

As created by legendary writer O Henry, in the short story "The Caballero's Way" in 1907. the Kid was neither Hispanic nor a hero!
A 1914 silent movie of "The Caballero's Way" altered the character to the version that's became famous...a wandering hero, called "The Robin Hood of the Old West", who, with his sidekick, righted wrongs without killing (but with lots and LOTS of shooting) just like the Lone Ranger!
Over two dozen more films followed, as well as a long-running radio series, a newspaper strip, several comic book series, and a 156-episode tv show famous for being the FIRST American tv series filmed in color!
Some of the films and tv series episodes are on dvd.
Note that not all dvds have color tv episodes, some have have b/w versions!
(All the movies were b/w!)
In the 1990s, Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin starred in a very well-done tv-movie pilot for a new series that, unfortunately, wasn't picked up (and isn't available on dvd).
But, there's talk of a new big-budget film version of the character sometime in the next couple of years!

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ are proud to reintroduce the classic Western character to a new audience in our Western Comic Adventures™ line.
Just go to The Cisco Kid & Pancho for a look at 6 different designs, including his 1st comic appearance on t-shirts, mugs, messenger bags and other goodies including a kool 2010 12-month calendar!
They'll have you going "Oh, Cisco!" "Oh, Pancho!" just like Duncan Renaldo & Leo Carrillo did in the classic tv series!

And, to make a really kool Cinco de Mayo gift set, why not add one of the NEW Cisco Kid graphic novels from Moonstone Books?

For our faithful fans...a FREE early Cinco de Mayo present...over 200 episodes of the radio show!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The FINAL adventure of the Golden Age Black Cat

Back in the 1940s, one of the hottest superheroines in comics was The Black Cat.
Actress / stuntwoman Linda Turner fought crime in a skimpy costume from 1940 to 1951, then in reprints from the late '50s to early '60s and from 1989-1995, when an updated version of the character was produced.
What was hoped to be the first issue of an ongoing series turned out to be a one-shot due to poor distribution.
It's a shame, the talent involved included writer Mark Evanier, legendary artist Murphy Anderson, the late Mike Wieringo, and the Brothers Hildebrandt (Tim & Greg), and the series was both a loving tribute to the Golden Age material, and a chance to continue in a PG /  PG-13 cheesecake style matching the classic comics without being "too adult-oriented"!
The publishers have graciously posted online both the story from the sole published issue and the art from the unpublished second issue here.
Enjoy! (I did!)

And not one plug for Atomic Kommie Comics™ merchandise! I must be slipping!
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