Saturday, July 19, 2014

Superman and Batman, World's Finest Comics

Superman and Batman, 2 of the Greatest Heroes of All Time

The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight

Stranger from space, Superman, began as an idea in the 1930's. Mort Weisinger, Forrest J. Ackerman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were all creators of the fan mag called "Science Fiction". From these humble beginnings Seigel and Shuster created, developed and evolved the massive popular character called Superman.
Once Seigel and Shuster had developed the idea into a full fledged super powered character they pitched the idea of Superman to many newspapers with no luck. In 1938 they pitched Superman to Detective Comics Publications, D.C. Comics for short. DC Comics is officially called National Periodical Publications. 
J.S. Liebowitz, the publisher of DC Comics bit on the idea and featured Superman in Action Comics.

Action Comics sales picked up immediately, the first appearance of Superman caught the public eye and Superman boosted the sales of Actiom Comics by leaps and bounds. So much so that the powers that DC decided to feature Superman in his own comic book. Now Superman made appearances in 2 different, widely popular comic books. The first appearance of Superman in Action Comics and in his own title are highly sought after in the comic collecting world, 2 of the most prized collector's items comics of all time, values on these 2 comic books increase every year.

Having conquered the monthly comic book realm, Superman's first wish was granted to him and his creators found him soaring to new adventures daily and weekly in newspapers all around the world thanks to the McClure Syndicate of newpaper publishers.

Next, Superman set out to capture and conquer the Silver Screen and the public radio waves, the first Hollywood Superman serial film superstar was Kirk Alyn. The first on-air voice of Superman was provided by Bud Collyer. 
Before an actor donned the big red S for Hollywood, Superman was animated in full-color by Paramount Pictures, these early 1940's cartoons are credited for being of the highest quality and way ahead of their time, they are still viewed today as very unique and groundbreaking.

In 1948, Columbia Pictures filmed Kirk Alyn as Superman in a 15 episode serious of films called serials. Serials were played before feature films, Superman appeared with other serial stars, such as the 3 Stooges, before the feature film in movie houses all across world. In 10 short years Superman evolved from an idea on paper to a widely popular, well known worldwide superstar...and he wasn't even a real person!

After the 1950 appearance of Alyn as Superman in "Atom Man vs. Superman" a change in casting had George Reeves taking over the title role in 1951. George Reeves went onto star in over 100 TV episodes in 1 of the most popular TV shows of all time.

Superman continues to be one of the most recognized science fiction characters of all time. Several feature films starring Christopher Reeve have been released since his first appearance in 1938. Superman continues to star on TV as Superboy and Superman in several massively popular weekly TV shows. In the DC comic books Superman was killed off in 1989 only to be ressurected back to life, the character seems to have a life of it's own and is seemingly immortal, as long as there is a kid with enough pocket change to buy a comic book there will always be a Superman.

Batman made his appearnace in 1939 in Detective Comics without Robin by his side. Batman was created by Bob Kane. Batman proved to be as popular as Superman, so much so that by 1942, Batman was appearing in his own comic, along with Detective Comics and World's Finest Comics in which he teamed with Superman to battle the evils of crime. Robin was brought in to lighten up the dark hero and also as a hero that kids could directly relate to.

Both Batman and Robin witnessed their parents murders by hienous criminals, in their young civilian lives as Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, the end result was the creation of a pair of Comic Books heroes that dedicated their lives to bettering themselves and stamping out and eliminating crime in all of it's forms.

Seeking to capitalize on Batman and Robin's massive popularity DC created a Batman family, which included Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Bat-Mite and Ace, the Bat-Hound.

In 1943 Columbia Pictures made the first Batman serials, the role of Batman was played by Lewis Wilson and Douglas Croft played Robin. Batman's first on screen villian Dr. Daka was played by J. Carrol Naish. 
Dr. Daka met a grisly death onscreen ending up in an alligator pit.

In 1949 Batman and Robin again graced the Silver Screen in The New Adventures Of Batman and Robin. Robert Lowery played Batman and Robin was played by Johnny Duncan.

Since then both Superman and Batman continue to remain in the public eye in print and onscreen, both characters remain widely popular and their onscreen and print legacies have continued long after their creators have long since passed.

100 pc. Toy Soldier Set, 132 Roman Soldiers, Lucky Products, Inc., Mego

Classic back cover comic book ad from 1974.
I had a nice set of "army guys" when I was a kid, complete with empty typewriter ribbon spools from my Mom that had sharp serrated edges...edges sharp enough to leave deep gouges in the little guys when run over by the spools.
Last I heard one of my cousins' kids' had my old set stored away somewhere.

I wonder if Lucky Products, Inc, is still in business?

Here's a 2014 toy show event specializing in Mego Action figures.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Captain America, Captain America and The Falcon, Captain America vs. The Red Skull, The Falcon

Captain America And The Falcon
This Way For Action!

On top is a late 70's issue I picked up from Wurlitzer Books for $1...Art and Cover by Jack Kirby.
2nd from top is a '83 solo Falcon series comic.

Captain America vs. The Red Skull graphic novel cover from 2011. This cover is taken directly from Tales Of Suspense #80 from 1966. Notice the swastika in the cosmic cube rays.

This spooky cover is from 1990, this issue features a story about The Red Skull who was the victim of a live burial at the hands of Magneto. The Red Skull is rescued by the villians Crossbones and Mother Night. Cap seeks out Skull House to safeguard all of the Skull's paraphernalia from a Skull imposter only to meet up with the recently rescued Red Skull himself. This issue also features Diamondback on the cover.

This is the back cover of the recently released Captain America vs. The Red Skull graphic novel.

This art originally appeared on the cover of Captain America #263 from 1981.

Guess Who?...This cover is from 1968 when Cap used to pal around with The Falcon, who happened to be the first black superhero to appear in mainstream comics.

None other than, The Red Skull!

It all started way back in 1941, Captain America "Sentinel Of Our Shores" has always been associated w/WWII. The Red Skull also first appeared in Cap #1 as an agent of death who worked as a sabotuer for Nazi Germany. The Red Skull's secret identity was George Maxon who dies at the end of this issue. Maxon was an agent for the real Red Skull, Johann Schmidt who in turn worked for Hitler.
This post is dedicated to my son Joey. I took Joey to see the Captain America movie the first day it came out.

Above is the front cover of a way cool Captain America poster book/comic from '04 that was unopened until Dan opened it for the first time and let me scan it for this comic book blog. I would scan some of the inside art but I would have to crease the pages damaging the mint condition of the comic. The cover is good enough for me. Thanks Dan!

Iron Man


Iron Man #220 generously donated to this blog by The Twisted Tiki.

Above, Iron Man #197/Iron Monger graphic novel front and back scans.

Above, The Ultimate Iron Man II graphic novel from 2008 contains the comics Ultimate Iron Man II #'s 1 through 5 from 2007.

Above, Iron Man #255 4/90 issue. DOUBLE TROUBLE! the CRIMSON DYNAMO vs. DEVASTATOR! IRON MAN vs. ?!?
  Iron Man #254 3/90 issue. HO - HO HOMICIDE! Taskmaster & Spymaster Appearance.


The Best of Godzilla 1954 - 1975 Original Film Soundtracks CD review

Original Godzilla Film Music Scores from 1954 - 1975

The first seven tracks are from the original and arguably the best, Godzilla film from 1954. Godzilla was pitched to Toho by Tomoyuki Tanaka in a last-minute effort to secure financing after a war picture fell through. His main selling point was to pitch a serious, symbolic film to demonstrate the nuclear effects and devastation of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Giant monster films were also raking in big bucks at box offices in America at the time. The most important composer of the Godzilla movie soundtracks was Akira Ifukube, who was already a internationally acclaimed classical music composer before working on the film series. The story behind Godzilla, King Of The Monsters is after the disappearance of some boats and a plague of radiation poisoning effects Japan, the cause of all the problems, a giant prehistoric monster emerges from the ocean to wreak havoc on Japan. Godzilla was mutated by and awakened from his eternal slumber by Japan's nuclear testing. The first track of the CD contains Godzilla's monstrous footsteps and gargantuan roars. The doom laden Godzilla's Rampage is included, this menacing sounding track went onto become Godzilla's theme song. The last song from the 1954 film has a sad, sorrowful, melancholy sound. This song was played while the aftermath of Godzilla's destruction was shown during the movie.
Tracks nine through twelve are from King Kong vs. Godzilla from 1963. The story behind the film is after King Kong is found on Faro Island he is imported to Japan to fight Godzilla. After gaining additional strength from electricity King Kong seemingly defeats Godzilla by wrestling him into the sea.

The thirteenth track is from the original Mothra film from 1961. Mothra's Song is sung by the Peanuts (not related to the cartoon) an actual singing duo from Japan. The lyrics are included because the song wasn't sung in either Japanese or English, it was sung in Malay to give it an authentic, tropical island like sound. The Peanuts also contributed on the sad, haunting, emotional song Sacred Springs which is from the film Mothra vs. Godzilla from 1964.

The main title song from the 1964 Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster is included. This track would go onto to become the official Monster Battle music for several of the films. This movie was titled The Greatest Giant Monster on Earth in Japan for good reason. The all-star cast of Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan team up to battle the powerful Ghidorah.

The haunting, powerful score from the 1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan film is another stand out on this cool CD. This is another team up film in which the good guys, Godzilla and Anguirus battle Ghidorah and Gigan to save the future of all mankind.

One of the best tracks on the CD Terror Of Mechagodzilla closes out the original film series on a high note. The final film was released in 1975, the series concluded due to a recession in the Japanese economy. Even though the budgets for the films shrunk the music never suffered due to the imaginative, haunting work of Akira Ifukube. Godzilla rested until 1984 when he once again returned in his original form, as a deadly menace to all of mankind in the film The Return Of Godzilla.

This CD closes out with a cover version of the Theme from Godzilla by Neil Norman and his Cosmic Orchestra, this rocked up version is kind of cool but personally I prefer the original movie music. I grew up watching Godzilla films on Saturday afternoons, they were always on during the holidays and my friends and I went to the movie theaters to see a couple of the films. My wife and I attended the 1998 remake (avoid at all costs!) and Godzilla 2000 despite of my wife's disinterest in all things Godzilla.

Godzilla and all the monsters mentioned are trademarks of Toho Co., Ltd. 
Thanks to GNP Crescendo Record Co., Inc. for compiling and releasing this CD.

I can't get enough of Godzilla and this catalogue cover proves it in spades.
This cover is from a Hobby Japan catalogue of Toho/Godzilla toys/statues/action figures. All the copy inside is in Japanese. The cover is also from the 2002 movie Giant Monsters All-Out Attack which features Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Baragon. Godzilla looks really evil in this movie with his whited out eyes and dark grey body color. Sorta like the classic '56 version but way meaner looking. The Baragon/Godzilla fight scene is one the Big G's best ever. It reminded me of a pro-wrestling match. Theres even a 12 page feature on the movie inside, highlighting the actors and directors of the movie, it's cool but I can't read it. I looked up the female lead online and I believe she was in 1 of the Grudge movies, playing a deadly ghost.
I can't wait for the next movie to come out, Godzilla Forever!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

KISS Comic Books, Howard The Duck, Archie Meets KISS, Psycho Circus

Archie meets KISS came out as a graphic novel in 2012.

IDW Publishing

Dark Horse Comics

Image Comics

This is the 1977 Super Special! KISS comic book collector's and KISS fans remember most.
This book was printed in Depew, NY.

The group also appeared in issue #13 of the series titled, “Rock, Roll Over and Writhe!”.
Kiss’ first comic book appearance was in issue #12 of Marvel’s Howard the Duck in May 1977, titled “Mind Mush!”.