Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day- Lest We Forget

Today being Memorial Day, I'd like to take a few moments to honor the memory of those brave Marines who gave their lives in three successive landing operations on Mystery Island. Recently, the Federal Government has declassified the details of this operation and the true story of those events can now be told. So, lest we forget, here is the full account of our third failed attempt to take "The Island of Armored Giants!":

I do want to take a moment here to sincerely thank our fighting men and women past, present and future for the sacrifices they have made for the country they loved.

I salute you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well, If You're Going to "Ape" Sherlock Holmes...

What happens when you pair the Silver Age Green Lantern's writer with the Silver Age Flash's Artist? You get a back-up feature about a chimp who solves crime, that's what!

These days, it's not enough to have a chimp who's clever and observant, so the current incarnation of Detective Chimp is a superhumanly smart, talking chimp...but it was not always thus. Enjoy Bobo's humble beginnings as a back-up from The Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4- "Meet Detective Chimp"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spectergirl has a new blog!

Yes, neither one of us can stop creating new blogs. This one, though is a true Labor of Love

"Need yet another blog in your life? Well I do! Please stop by and check out my new tribute to Lois Lane.

Gay for Lois Lane

Here I'll be sharing some of my favorite stories featuring the First Lady of Comics." -Spectergirl

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Have Yet Another Comics Blog!

Today marks the debut of my newest comics blog, "Once Upon A Time In The West- In Comics".

If you like Westerns and/or Western comics, I think you'll enjoy it.

Happy Trails, Y'all!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Two Words for Jimmy Olsen: "DON'T TOUCH!"

It's time again for more adventure with that loveable doofus, Jimmy Olsen!

Only Jimmy could #@$% up a free vacation! Once Jimmy gets bored watching the crane load all that fascinating scrap iron into the ship (Is the Daily Planet so cheap it sent these guys on a cruise on a cargo ship?) he goes for a stroll along the beach. Which is something else only Jimmy could screw up-

Jimmy finds a mysterious ray gun inside which, of course, he needs to start shooting at living things:

Not satisfied with the ecological chaos sure to be caused by an enormous pseudopod, Jimmy experiments further-

Well, Jimmy, if it's so @#$%-ing obvious, why did you need to try it again?

Jimmy heads back to the ship, where he learns Clark has missed the boat (he was needed in space as Superman). Lois shows Jimmy the souvenirs she purchased, including a small turtle. Clearly, Lois plans to unleash some ecological havoc of her own, introducing alien species to Metropolis' fragile ecosystem. You know she's just going to flush that little turtle like 2 weeks after she gets back.

Anyway, Jimmy drops the raygun and it irradiates him and the turtle, with unlikely consequences. Jimmy is turned into a giant turtle man. Which apparently means you become covered with green, hexagonal scales (but no shell) your eyes look like they're made from ping-pong ball halves, you sprout pointy ears (even though turtles have no external ears.) and you also manifest a snazzy pair of large, black breifs.

Oh! and you go on a mindlessly destructive rampage.

Superman returns from space just in time to intervene and learns more about this mysterious growth ray from an old girlfriend:

Superman then uses his own mad science to fix the problem:

Wouldn't shrinking a giant turtle man just get you a smaller turtle man? I'm so confused.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

RIP Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta died on May 10, 2010 at the age of 82.

Everyone dies. It's just a fact of life we all have to deal with sooner or later. Friends, loved ones, heroes.

I never met Frank Frazetta. I have no genuine, emotional tie to the man. Still, his passing makes me sad.

When I was a young teenager, I discovered the wonderful world of Conan the Barbarian paperbacks. Now, of course, those were written by Robert E. Howard (and heavily revised and altered by L. Sprague DeCamp) but -by virtue of their cover paintings- they were inextricably linked to the art of Frank Frazetta. Nearly all the books had covers by Frazetta. The rest had covers by Boris Valejo. I quickly became a connossieur of the Frazetta paintings. They had it all, anatomy, action, composition, and a raw, visceral quality that screamed "this IS battle".

Look at that horse! This whole piece is pure battle-madness!

The influence Mr. Frazetta had on the world of fantasy art is impossible to calculate. Inspired by the film "The Vikings" starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine, Frazetta eschewed a more historical look for his characters' costumes and went in a more theatrical direction, showing as much raw muscle as possible, but without the over-developed, body-builder look of his later imitators.

Frazetta's popularity may have been its own curse in some ways. The very raw qualities that made Howard's work ideal for Conan also appealed to the heavy metal and Southern rock crowd. Today, one of Frazetta's most iconic paintings "The Death Dealer"

Note the town on fire in the background and the vultures circling overhead.

is most commonly associated with the album covers of Molly Hatchet and with the juvenile, fantasy gore-fest comic "Death Dealer" produced by Glen Danzig.

I'm no longer a 14-year-old boy, wasting away a summer afternoon with a paperback. But, in a very real way, those painting by Frank Frazetta will always be a part of me. and I am saddened by his absense in my future.

As to comics- the subject of this blog- Frank Frazetta did TONS of comic book work in the 1940's and 1950's,

Walt Kelly and Carl Barks are lucky Frank discovered fantasy.

Most famously, Frazetta did The Shining Knight for DC. Clearly, at this stage of his development he was heavily influenced (like EVERYONE else) by Hal Foster's Prince Valliant.

Still, hints of his later work are there.

What other romance comic EVER looked like this??

These two Tarzan paintings are among my current favorite Frazetta pieces:

Chimps ARE scary. It's just a matter of context. And those tree shadows! I would kill to paint like that!

You can feel the gravity. AND the distance. The composition in this one just blows me away.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, to my wife, Amy and to all the mommies out there in internet land!

Friday, May 7, 2010

You like me! You Really Like Me!

This morning, I discovered that Jacque of Sequential Crush had nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Well, to be honest, she's the third person to do so, but this is the first time I've understood how this is supposed to work. I was also previously nominated by Pajama Mom and by The Groovy Agent. I'm not bragging. Far from it. I feel sort of stupid that I didn't know what I was supposed to do :-P

So, first off, thank you Jacque! (And Cara and Lloyd).

Seven weird/fun things about me:

1. When I was in elementary school, I stayed home sick for a few days at my grandma's house. She encouraged me to do my homework and get get it out of the way. I didn't want to. She had cable. There was Scooby-Doo (on a week day!?!). She called me a procrastinator. I asked her what that meant. She told me to look it up. I told her I'd do it later. True story.

2. My wife, Amy, and I honeymooned at Walt Disney World. We've gone back 4 or 5 times, but only once since we had children.

3. I was born in Cincinnati, OH. When I was three, my parents moved us back to southwestern, WV. I lived in WV until I was 19, when I went away to college in Columbus, OH. I don't have a WV accent when I'm here, but when I'm with my family, or angry or tired, I start twanging like a banjo.

4. When I was 14 I was hit by a car while jaywalking across a 6-lane highway in Myrtle Beach, SC. I broke my pelvis and my leg. I still feel bad about how much I must have traumatized the lady who hit me.

5. I've had very few celebrity encounters. I met Bruce Campbell once. I stayed in a hotel with Darth Vader and Chewbacca. We ate lunch two tables over from Eric Clapton one afternoon in the cafeteria at the COSI science museum. I once took a phone call from Corben Bernsen when I worked at Highlights for Children. I no longer remember if he cancelled or renewed.

6. WhenI was in college, I took a comic book art class from Daryll Banks, who was the Green Lantern artist at the time. On the first day, in an effort to make conversation, I told him I hated that new Green Lantern costume. I didn't realize he was the one who created it! :0

7. I can pick up change off the floor by pinching it between my big and second toes.

Seven bloggers I nominate for a Kreativ Blogger Award:

Rob Kelly of The Aquaman Shrine. I love Aquaman. This man sifts through the sea king's trash, looking for keepsakes.

Jamie "Lysdexicus" Wilson of Hungry Comix. I get a little more artistically inspired every time I stop by.
. If you like Superman in all his selfish jerk glory, you'll love this.

Joakim Gunnarsson of Sekvenskonst(that's Swedish for "Sequential art"). Joakim has a great collection of cartoon art and he shares it with all of us via the internet. check it out.

Spectergirl. Well, okay, she's my wife, but I really think the time and effort she's put into ViewMaster 3-D Spectactular, Now in 2-D needs some recognition.

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for Charlton and Archie brand superheroes. It's like a parallel universe of comics out there. That's why I dig Charlton vs. Mighty MLJ.

And lastly, Indrajal Online. An amazing super-blog that is putting every issue of India's Indrajal Comics, in every available language, on the internet for your edification. Amazing!

So, there you go.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not-So-Secret Origins of the JLA - The Atom

Some more reader- requested material. I didn't have this story in my collection (although I have read it several times) but one of our readers, Neill, stepped up to plate and offered me these scans.

The Atom joined the JLA in Justice League of America #14, making him the second super-powered League-er to join.

There had been a Golden Age Atom, a small guy named Al Pratt who had no superpowers. He was just feisty. This new Atom, however, was a little more "super".

And here, from 1961's Showcase #34 "Birth of the Atom" by Gardner Fox, pencils by Gil Kane and inks by Murphy Anderson.