Saturday, June 10, 2017

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Super Green Beret on Flag Day!

Never failing to capitalize on a pop culture trend, several 1960s comics publishers, noticing the popularity of the hit single Ballad of the Green Berets (by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler & Robin Moore) quickly launched comics series featuring the elite Army unit.
Most were standard war comics, just set in VietNam instead of WWII Europe or Asia, but one stood out from the rest for sheer weirdness...

What do you get when you combine...
1) Green Berets and the VietNam War with...
2) Teenagers...
and 3) SuperHeroes?
Why, SUPER GREEN BERET, of course!

Green Beret Roger Wilson saves a Vietnamese monk from a wild boar, and in return the grateful priest attaches a pin to his beret which makes it glow.
Home on leave, Roger gives the glowing beret to his teenage nephew Tod Holton, who discovers that, when he dons the headgear and salutes, he's transformed into a super-powered adult dressed in a soldier's uniform!
(There's a long tradition in comics of teens turning into adult superheroes, going all the way back to the original Captain Marvel and The Fly.)
Using his new-found powers of teleportation, telepathy, telekinesis, transmutation, time travel, invulnerability, and super-strength, Tod decides to fight Enemies of Our Country, mostly Communists in then-present-day Asia, but also the British in the American Revolution and Nazis in World War II!
Yes, it's as hokey as it sounds!
And, to think it only ran two issues! (But they were 64 pages each, so it was like getting two regular-sized issues of mind-bending military madness at a time!)

We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ felt that we couldn't let such an outrageous character and concept be forgotten, so, as part of our War: Past, Present, & Future™ line, we incorporated Super Green Beret as a light-hearted example of 1960s funkiness to contrast with the seriousness of the World War II and Korean Police Action material (plus we wanted an excuse to make some kool SGB collectibles for ourselves)!

So, why not give a Super Green Beret collectible to the VietNam vet or gonzo comic collector in your life?
It'd make a great Flag Day or 4th of July gift!

FREE BONUS: A link to an online re-presentation of the origin of Super Green Beret!
You gotta see it to believe it!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Fun is HERE This Summer!

Whenever possible, I try to run at least one ongoing weekly feature.
Art by Larry Hama, Paul Kirchner, Stu Schwartzberg, Wally Wood
This summer it'll be Friday Fun featuring Big Apple Comix!
It was an underground comic anthology produced in 1975 featuring an incredible range of NYC-based comics talent (including many DC and Marvel contributors, all paying tribute to the city "so nice, they named it twice!"
The book was sold in head shops, porn shops, and other off-the-beaten track venues in NYC, SF, and other cities where there was a major counter-cultural presence. 
(The first comic book shops were just starting up, and some didn't want to carry "adult" material.)
As Denny O'Neil explains...
Art by Denny O'Neil

...Flo, BTW, was Stan Lee's right-hand woman at Marvel during the Silver Age of Comics, and she had both the publishing experience and the contacts to put together this one-of-a-kind project!
The best part is...none of the material in this 40+ year old book has ever been reprinted, so, for a lot of you, it'll be a look at work by some of your favorites that you've never seen before!
For the record, we ran one of the stories several years ago. You can see it HERE.
Be here next Friday for...FUN!
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reading Room ALIEN WORLDS "The Reading!"

Oddly, one of the major innovators of the 1970s-80s is all but forgotten today...
...but this never-reprinted tale from Eclipse's Alien Worlds #9 (1985) should remind you of his amazing talent!
Kool, eh?
Brunner's work in comics spanned a little over a decade, but it was a memorable decade, indeed!
Like other underpaid and underappreciated creatives such as Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, and Mike Sekowsky, Brunner left comics and went to Hollywood, where his vision and talents were much better recompensed working on both live-action and animated projects.
Today he's retired, doing the occasional commission piece and hitting the convention circuit.
You can visit his personal website HERE.
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reading Room JUNGLE JIM "Winged Fury"

In the 1960s, the usually-staid Jungle Jim series jumped into high adventure/fantasy...
...with lost civilizations, mutants, aliens, even mystical menaces, threatening the Don Moore/Alex Raymond-created hero!
Scripted by Bhob Stewart, penciled by Steve Ditko and inked by Wally Wood, this never-reprinted (in color) tale from Charlton's Jungle Jim #27 (1969) was a classic example of how to update a series properly, unlike say, DC's attempt to make the 1940s aviators, the Blackhawks, into super-heroes from that same era!
Trivia: Though the cover looks like just a modification of Ditko/Wood's art on Page 5, panel 1, its actually a redraw by editor Sal Gentile, a pretty good artist in his own right!
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Gil Kane's The Flame Horse

One of the visionary projects legendary writer/artist Gil Kane was unable to get off the ground...
...was this graphic novel.
According to one source, shortly after Bantam Books released Kane's Blackmark in 1971, Ariel/MorningStar Press contracted Gil to create and package this project...with logos and graphic design by Jim Steranko!
Since MorningStar Press was an art book publisher, they would've done a hardcover closer to traditional comic book or magazine size, rather than the standard paperback size that doomed Blackmark, which confused retailers who didn't know whether to put it with sci-fi/fantasy novels or comic strip reprints!
Besides this presentation piece, there were pages like this one... various stages of completion.
I wonder if anyone could re-assemble what does exist into a book and title it: Gil Kane's Flame Horse: the Unfinished Opus or somesuch, with profits going to his estate...
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Monday, June 5, 2017

Reading Room SPACE SQUADRON "Armada of Death"

Let's go back to the year 2000...
...when Americans controlled the Solar System, protecting it from aliens...I mean extraterrestrials, not people from other countries on Earth!
This never-reprinted tale from Atlas' Space Squadron #2 (1951) is typical of the early 1950s, when sci-fi was dominiated by various military and police organizations patrolling and controlling the universe, much as America was patrolling and controlling the non-Commie-controlled parts of Earth.
Neither the writer nor artist are known.
See the other Captain Jet Dixon of the Space Squadron tales we've presented HERE!
And keep watching, as we finish our re-presentation of the time-lost series this summer!
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by Isaac Asimov
Omnibus of ALL Six Space Opera Sagas!
David Starr: Space Ranger, Pirates of the Asteroids, Oceans of Venus, Big Sun of Mercury, Moons of Jupiter, Rings of Saturn