Saturday, September 10, 2016

Reading Room: MYSTICAL TALES "On a Lonely Planet"

Can a sport unite alien cultures?
This never-reprinted story from Atlas' Mystical Tales #1 (1956) suggests an answer...
OK, it's an ethnocentric conceit that the aliens were playing something even remotely like baseball, but illustrator Bill Everett and the unknown writer still manage to "sell" it for four pages.
Can't ask for more than that on a lazy summer Saturday afternoon...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Want to See The Green Hornet Beat Up a Criminal Named Trump...Twice?

Click HERE to see it...

... in his premiere episode from exactly 50 years ago today!
Note, The Green Hornet trashes gangster Al Trump (Charles Francisco), not the mango-hued moron currently running for President...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fifty Years Ago...the Final Frontier!

The Fall 1966 TV season was a landmark for TV sci-fi/fantasy!
There were at least two series every night in Prime Time (sometimes opposite each other, which in those pre-DVR days drove us NUTS)!
(NO Internet! NO YouTube! NO Streaming Video! NO DVD/Blu Rays! Not even VHS Tapes!)
But, every night, after dinner (and presuming you finished your homework)...
Comedies with monsters/witches/genies/time-traveling astronauts, etc!
Straight sci-fi with The Invaders, and three Irwin Allen series (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and Time Tunnel!
And, of course, the greatest of all...
Original 1966 NBC promo poster. Art by James (Doc Savage) Bama!
It was an amazing time to be eight years old!
Even though my family had two huge 13" TVs, both of them were b/w, so I didn't see all this stuff in color until the '70 when my dad finally got a color set!
(Some, like Captain Nice, I didn't see in color until VHS and DVD copies were available!)
But even in monochrome, those shows enthralled me.
So, tonite, I'm settling down in front of the tube (a 50-inch flat-screen) with my own mini-marathon of 50-year old sci-fi!
Batman "Shoot a Crooked Arrow" (which, technically, aired on Sept. 7) & "Walk the Straight and Narrow"
Star Trek "The Man Trap"
(Bewitched and Jericho [A spy series set in World War II Europe] also ran on Thursdays, but didn't begin their season until Sept 15th!)
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Reading Room FANTASTIC COMICS "Space Smith Meets Skomah the Brain"

Writer/artist Fletcher Hanks created a number of surreal series during his too-brief (1939-41) comics career...
...but none was weirder than this series, which he started, but others (like Jack Kirby), continued for almost the entire run of Fantastic Comics!
Now, that was FANTASTIC, eh?
Some call Hanks the "Ed Wood of comics", but there's no mistaking the sheer imagination behind the primitive art.
When comic books featuring new material (they were initially comic strip reprints) first appeared in the late 1930s, it was an "anything goes" market as publishers would run whatever they could lay their hands on from both comic strip and pulp magazine professionals and talented (read "cheap") amateurs.
Some, like Siegel & Shuster, Simon & Kirby, and Finger & Kane created what would become American icons.
Others. like Fletcher Hanks, were like mayflies, briefly appearing...then disappearing, leaving little behind.
Even comics geeks had forgotten about Hanks' material, which sat un-reprinted for over half a century, until Fantagraphics produced a couple of books collecting his work from the various anthologies it appeared in!
Since then, his work has discovered a new audience, eager to enjoy his unrestrained lunacy, like this premiere tale from Fox's Fantastic Comics #1!
We'll be running the entire series over the next year, including both Hanks'  work and the later, more conventional tales by others.
Watch for them...
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Reading Room: MYSTICAL TALES "Nomad of Outer Space!"

It's mind-blowing how much Atlas (pre-Marvel) stuff hasn't been reprinted...
...such as this story from Atlas' Mystical Tales #1 (1956)!
While hunting thru files for un-reprinted Jack Kirby tales for last week's Kirby Reading Room mini-marathon, I came across a lot of never-reprinted material!
This Bob Powell-rendered story is just the tip of the iceberg!
It's also inadvertently-appropriate since this week is the 50th Anniversary of the debut of Star Trek, which inspired many would-be scientists in various disciplines to live their dreams (not to mention creatives like writers, illustrators, sfx experts, etc)!
Sadly, we don't know the writer of this tale...
BTW, despite the title, Mystical Tales was an almost-totally "hard sci-fi" anthology!
Only a handful of stories from the anthology's 8-issue run have been reprinted, all in the 1970s, which makes even the reprints 40 years old!
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Reading Room CAPTAIN JOHNER AND THE ALIENS "Crystals of Life"

...since creator/writer/artist Russ Manning has explained evertything, lets just jump into the action...
But we still don't know how the human colonists were taken over by the time-shifting alien "False Men"!
Gold Key's Magnus, Robot Fighter #17 (1967) gives us more questions than answers!
perhaps we'll learn next week!
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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Recapping the RetroBlog Summer Mini-Marathons...

While you were vactioning this summer, every RetroBlog had at least one mini-marathon...
Seduction of the Innocent!! took a look at the never-reprinted Devilina b/w magazine from 1975 with two tales about the title character and two horror mini-classics!
"Merchants of Evil", "Lost Tomb of Nefertiri", Devilina is Coming..., "Devilina: Satan's Domain", and "Devilina Fights Curse of the Ra Scarb"

At Secret Sanctum of Captain Video, we presented no less than three different, never-reprinted comic versions of this legendary Ray Harryhausen film, including one of them featuring art by the late, great, John Buscema!
Dell's 1950s adaptation Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Marvel's 1970s adaptation Part 1, Part 2
Legend Horror Classics' 1970s British adaptation 

In cross-overs between War: Past, Present, and Future and Hero Histories, we had never-reprinted tales of two World War I aviator-heroes from the 1960s!
After all, it's the 100th Anniversary of World War I and these tales were published during the 50th Anniversary!
G-8 and His Battle Aces Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Conclusion
Phantom Eagle Part 1, Conclusion

Hero Histories featured the final, never-reprinted tale of the campy Silver Age version of The Shadow. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

War: Past, Present and Future also presented another never-reprinted story published in the 1960s, Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos in...ready for it?...KOREA!
Part 1, Conclusion 

What's summer without a good "beach read"?
And there's nothing better than a never-reprinted Gothic Romance at True Love Comics Tales!
You can read every chapter...Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 

Justice didn't take a holiday during the summer, as the 1950s hard-boiled saga of private eye Johnny Dynamite received a re-telling at Crime & Punishment!
"I'll Find That Killer",  "Eye for an Eye!", and "Wire Trap"

Western Comics Adventures presented the never-reprinted 1950s adventures of Davy Crockett by Jack (King) Kirby!
Introduction, "Devil Rapids", "Missing Bullet Hole", "Running Fight", and "King Ram"

Heroines! took a slightly different approach with Phantom Lady's Twice-Told Tales, featuring stories that re-used either scripts or art from earlier tales!
Spitfire Sanders "The Whip" & Phantom Lady "Satan's Seal, "World's Meanest Crook" & "Meanest Men in the World", "Killer Clown" & "Success is No Accident!", "Television Spies" 1.0 & 2.0, and "Soda Mint Killer" & What Price Protection?"

Sadly, due to Google revamping and screwing up their Photos app, where we store all our pix for these blogs, we did not get to...
...the first, never-reprinted, story of the Silver Age Plastic Man by Gil Kane in Hero Histories!
But, it and the remaining, never published in America, stories of Estaban Maroto's Wolff will see re-presentation this autumn!
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