Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Post No. 671"

This hasn't been the most enjoyable few days I've ever had in my life. It all started with Friday morning.

I went to the bank to get extra change for the weekend in the retail store, and when I got back out to my car, it wouldn't start. I called work and someone came down and tried to jump start that, and it still wouldn't start and I finally had to get a ride back to work with him and call a mechanic to come with a flatbed to take my car back to his shop. I finally got that back on Monday. Total costs: $170.00 counting tow bill, labor, and, the cause of the problem, a new starter.

Then this Sunday while I was off, my aunt and uncle came over to get her stuff out of my wife's van where they'd sat up together at a craft show the day before. My wife went towards our front door to enter the house and get something for my aunt, tripped over a brick, and went through the grass on the storm door, left hand first. This scared the holy crap out of all of us of course, and the first thing I did was rush over to her and immobilize her arm as I was afraid she'd jerk it back suddenly and cut herself even worse. We called an ambulance and took her to the E.R. Forunately all of the cuts were to her palm, which is already getting better and she was able to rerurn to work the following night.

Always something..., but I'm very thankful as Debbie's accident could have been much worse.

Finally got all of my mowing done (hopefully) for this year, as well as finishing up all of my mom's yard yard and Winterizing around her house. The leaves are starting to fall and I've already cleaned out one back gutter. need to check the others as if one's full, the rest probably are as well.

And in other things...
"I didn't know THAT..... Department".: Funny how with all of the (literally) hundreds of thousands of comics I've either looked at or through long boxes of in comic shops and on line and in "photo guides", and price guides, and had in several various larger collections over the years that I still occasionally see some title that I didn't know existed. I even make a point of looking up titles on The Grand Comic Book Data Base or on eBay if it's something that doesn't sound familiar. I mean, I know there's a LOT of modern titles (mostly in the past 10 years) that I've not seen. But, "older" books? And especially older super-hero comics? Naaawwwww. Well, that happened when I saw copies of the 1985 Charlton title, Charlton Action, Featuring Static (a later Ditko super-hero, the Charlton issues of which are shown above, and as usual can be enlargened by clicking onto the photo). I'd seen Static in Eclipse Monthly (published, of course, by Eclipse Comics) but never realized that he'd been the central character in two previously published comics, CA #'s 11 & 12. As usual, Charlton gave him his first issue with an odd numbering on it, and I'm sure it was a continuation of some other discontinued title so they could retain certain mailing rights. What that title could have possibly been, I don't know (maybe Charlton Classics, Featuring "Hercules"???) But you'll notice Ditko's cover designs are pretty similiar to that which he was using on such independnet books of his such as "Wha--?!" and "Avenging World" (as well as his even later work).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Post No. 670"

After reading through my copy of The Marvel Vault: A Museum In A Book, I noticed there was certain pieces of memorabilia that weren't reproduced (or I merely looked over them?), so, anyhoo, I thought it might be interesting to dig out some of my own knick-knacks I've saved over the years as some are almost as old as Marvel Comics itself (well, the Silver-Age Marvel, at least), and many younger collectors probably have never seen them.

(Just click on to any of the following pics and they "should" show a larger image.)

Now...if I've just downloaded these photos in the correct order...The first on at the top should be the instruction sheet for the mid-1960's "Incredible Hulk" plastic model, produced by Aurora. I thought this one from the three produced at that time was the most interesting as I definately know it's Neal Adams artwork. The other two models that were produced were "The Amazing Spider-man", and "Captain America". Cap's artwork could may not have been by Jack Kirby. It looks like Kirby, but I'm not sure. I'll reproduce it in some future blog post for you to see for yourself (as I plan on this not being the only such post where I'll show memorabilia from time-to-time).

The second photo down should be of the lable that adorned gum ball machines in the mid-60's advertising that the contents of said machine contained "Marvel Mini-Comics". These small, thick booklets with various colored covers and B&W pages, had stories of different Marvel characters: Spider-man, The Hulk, Captain America, Sgt. Fury, Thor & Millie the Model. I think one time I noticed that you'd either have to have 24 or 36 of them to have all of the color cover variations. One may have seen some of these "sometime", but the lable for the machine is pretty rare.

Next up (or, "down" I should say), are Marvel "No Prizes", which were the gag award they gave out for those who could pull their a$$ out of a pinch by explaining away some mistake they made in a sensible way. The joke being, it was "NO" prize, but just an empty envelope. Their fans treasured them just the same and considered it an honor to receive one. Here we have two variations; the one with The Hulk is the original from the 1960's, and the one with "Spider-man" a later version printed in the 1980's.

Next, the wrapper for the "Marvel Gum Cards" from the latter 60's. Each pack of these had five cards and a sticker and, of course, a piece of gum. I actually had one of the boxes they all came in complete one time; sure wish I did now as it's scarcer than even the wrapper.

And on to variations of Marvel Comics company envelopes. Here we see some different versions with the original "Hulk" logo, then one with "Spider-man" in his original costume, and finally one in the "black-Venon" version. The stationary had matching or similiar designs as well.

"Marvel Reply Post Cards" such as these were usually in blue and signed "Stan & Co.", "The Marvel Gang", or some such and usually (probably) done by the secretary, although you'll see that one later one here pictured was signed by Bill Mantlo(which pretty well dates it as 1980's). The others are mostly 1960's. Marvel also sent out a typed post card which told you what number and title of one of their comics your letter would appear in (if if was printed). The one I have of this is in "canary yellow".

Next is a "Marvel Subscription Copy Backing Board", which they would stick behind your comic in a clear envelope when it was mailed. There's another variation of this with, I believe, "Wolverine".

And finally, here's a couple of the 1988 "Marvel Mini Comics" which were in full color. The one of Spider-man reprints the stories from "Amazing Spider-man #1", and the X-Men one reprints #53 (first published Barry Smith art by Marvel). The back covers had a coupon for a dollar off a subscription to a Marvel comic of your choice.

Hope everyone enjoys seeing these. I have a lot more crap I've saved over the years in folders and the like and occasionally I'll start showing it off here at "Elmo's Junction".

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Post No. 669"

Watched the 2007 flick, Zoom: Academy for Superheroes starring Tim Allen, Rip Torn, Chevy Chase, Courteney Cox. Falls into catagory such as Sky High where young people with extraordinary powers are trained into superhero status. Typical rip-offs, of course, of such ideas as "The X-men" or "The New Mutants". Although I usually enjoy Tim Allen flicks (my favorite being Galaxy Quest), this is strickly child's fare with the typical gross moments designed and aimed towards the pre-teen set.

Plot involves an aging super hero called "Zoom" (played by Allen) who is called upon to train a new team of super-powered beings to fight his brother, once thought dead, but returning with a terrible vengence and power. Rip Torn plays his usual role (ala "Zed"-type from The Men In Black) as head of the training fascility called "Area 52".

The special effects are fine and, like I said, it's entertaining enough for younger people but a far cry from any memorable super hero movie. Perfect for its intentions I'm sure, but just a passing one time view ever for the serious mature comic book fan.

Well, we've lost yet another two fine people this past week; George Tuka, artist, and Joe Rosen, letterer. Both have worked for numberous comic book companies and are part of the old "Marvel Bullpen". The older we get, sadly the fewer of those names we grew up with and recognize are still around.

In other things...

I finally got around to defraging this pc, which I hadn't done since I acquired it now well over a year ago. Took a good 3-1/2 hours to accomplish this task. I really need to do such a thing about once a month, but...you know how that goes...

My wife has set up at a craft show about 40 miles from here in Glendale, KY., where they have a huge festival every year. Sometimes I'll go with her, but it's pretty cold today (in the 40's) with some drizzling rain, plus I don't have any extra cash to spend, plus I'd had to have gotten up at 3 AM (as they're an hour ahead of us) to get ready to go, plus my aunt's setting up with her and my wife's van only has front seats (which would mean sitting on the floor in the back), so....

Actually, I'm stuck here at home today as my car went ka-put on me yesterday. I went to the bank for change for the retail store and to deposit my paycheck around 11 AM and it wouldn't start again when I started to go back. Had to call work and have someone come down who attempted to jump-start my car, but it wouldn't do it and had to get a ride back with him to work, then call a local mechanic I know to come pick up my vehicle. Haven't heard anything from that mechanic yet here a good 24 hours later. Can't say I have any complaints much as it's been a good car, even if it is a Ford.

Got in copies of the 1970 Marvel Comics' Our Love Story #5 and the 1981 Charlton Comics' Ghost Manor #55 in yesterday's mail. The former has a 7 page story by Jim Steranko, and the latter is all "Tales of the Mysterious Traveler" reprints from the late 1950's. Looked up credit information from its original source (TOTMT #'s 12 & 13) and it stated that this has a Ditko cover reprinted from Tales of the Mysterious Traveler #13, and that the lead story has Matt Baker artwork. The Steranko artwork in OLS, I think, is perhaps the final strip he ever did before he wrote his two History of Comics books, or started his magazine, Media Scene.

Also in (before I forget) is The Marvel Vault. What a wonderous hardcover this is with tons of photos, artwork reprints, cover reprints, repros of memorabilia and stories! Well recommeneded for anyone who wants a good history of Marvel Comics from its beginning to the modern age.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Post No. 668"


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"Post No. 667"


Justice League America Annual (DC) #6 (1992) is one of those "Eclipso-The Darkness Within" x-overs. Over the years DC took a somewhat minor character and elevated him into major villian. And, I admit, I really liked the old Eclipso stories that ran in House of Secrets, especially when they had Alex Toth artwork. And in this JLA adventure the villian is raising his usual brand of havok possessing myriad heroes and heroines alike, while in the meantime, Superman and Wonder Woman contemplate whether or not they even want to be a part of that version of the League which contains other members such as The Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, etc. The whole story boils down to Blue Beetle in mortal combat with Eclipso, attempting to get the villian from the JLA headquarters and wrecking BB's flying "Bug". Overall, not a bad tale from 17 years ago (Geez; has it been THAT long??). A decent Jurgens script and always a delight to see the artwork of Dave Cockrum.

Gross Point (DC) #1 (08/97) deals with a normal family moving into a bizarre town that looks like the origin point of "The Addams Family". It was better than I figured, written by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, accompanied with some quirky artwork by S.M.Taggart & Roger Langridge. ("Gross Point" being that name of the town, of course.) For some reason I feel like this would have been a better alternative-type title or even a small press publication than something released by the big two.

Daredevil: Flashback (Marvel) Minus 1 (07/97), writen by Joe Kelly and artwork by the wonderful Gene Colan was a pure delight, giving us a tale of Matt Murdock's days pre-Daredevil as he began to attend college and over-coming any hardships of such. We get to see his first meeting with "Foggy" Nelson, and read of his father's concern fearing his son's handicap will hold him back from achieving his education. Honestly, it's always so nice to see Colan on this title after he did so many silver-age issues. Of the "Flashback's" Marvel produced in this series, this issue is definitely the best and I recommend you looking for a copy of it in the back issue bins at your comic shop if you don't already have one. Even the cover illustration is enough to send one's mind back to 1968.

Fantastic Four (Marvel) #507 by Waid (again), Porter and Rapmund, continues the multi-part "Authoritive Action" storyline where "Dr. Doom" has been sent to Hell, and the FF take over control of Latveria, much to the dismay of the U.S. government who sends in Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. to remove them. Reed does this "sacrafice myself" routine and extracts Doom to an alternate space where only he and Richards exist, and various scenes from their past conflicts constantly replay themselves (so we get to see some reprinted Kirby artwork adorn "the walls"). Fury's plans go array when the citizens of Latveria tell them they want the FF as their rulers since they're so much better than Doom, and the rest of the FF go off to hunt for Reed, finally entering this alternate space, and Richards tells them to quickly leave as Doom would escape. The scene chages to where they are out of that area, back in Latvaria with the soldiers of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Susan Storm uses her force shield to literally make a hole through several of the soldiers! That's right. Doom had exchanged his mind with Sue! Naturally this leaves us with a clifthanger ending. Not a bad storyline.

The Incredible Hulk V2 (Marvel) #62 (12/2003) written by Bruce Jones with Mike Deodato, Jr. artwork. Always nice to read a story by Bruce Jones. I've always considered him to be one of the more under-rated talents around in comics. And Deodato's artwork is always good. This issue has Part 3 (of 5) called "Split Decisions" which deals with these partial-bionic-part-vampire-for-The-Hulk's-blood critters attacking everyone (they remind me of the "Alien" right after it eats its way out of one's stomach). Since I hadn't read any of the story before, or much after, I can't really give a good opinion of this comic one way or the other, save that what I read, I liked.

Superman/Batman (DC) #35 (07/2007) has Supes trying to rid Metallo of some sort of virus which is, in fact, an "infection" of Braniac who's moved on to nano-technology these days, and in the meantime, Doc Magnus has recreated The Metal Men and they are involved in this as a subplot. My main complaint about this issue (by Verheiden, Huhhenheim, Lee & Young) is that it's way too over-ploted. It's always nice to get one's money-worth in any story, but a single theme per issue, dealing with such and letting that come to a conclussion is much more satisfying to me personally than cramming it full of a half-dozen subplots with which to keep up.

Batman (DC) #'s 655 thru 658 (09-12/2006) is by Grant Morrison with nice artwork by Andy Kubert. This tale is all about a kid that's supposingly Batman's son by the daughter (Talia) of Ra's Al Ghul . Her goal is to either get Bats to join her as a team, or become his mortal enemy forever, using "their kid" as a ploy in this, and along the way she gets hold of the Man-Bat formula to create a force of such half-human soldiers. The kid, by the way, is a trained ninja who just about kills Robin (something I find a little hard to swallow) because he wants to be the only one in Bats' life "as a son". At the end of this tale it appears that Talia has blown both her and the kid up, but....ya know how dat stuff goes. Not too bad a story by Morrison, and Kubert's artwork goes a long way in making it enjoyable, but it seems like this story's been told before one way or the other.

Now, in Detective Comics (DC) #842 (05/2008), Bats is dealing with a suit of armor that's from the middle-ages, perhaps cursed due to its original owner losing control and killing a bunch'a folks. Peter Milliagan's "okay" writing Batman, but not one of my favorite writers on Dark Knight tales.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"Post No. 666!"

"The Devil, You Say!" Yes, it's Post #666 here at "Elmo's Junction". An ominous number, indeed. Which means absolutely nothing to me. No, I put such superstitions in the catagory of black cats, walking under a ladder and breaking mirrors. None of these do I allow to happen purposely, but they don't bother me either if they do occure.

The number 666 is related to predictions from the book of Revelation in "The Holy Bible". It is a number which is supposed to signify "the beast", and in this prediction one is supposed to not be able to purchase anything without said mark either on one's forehead or hand.

It all depends on whether you believe Revelation to be a predicition, or instead, writings by "John" (no, not John the Baptist, or even John the Apostle; no one's sure "which" John wrote this) relating to one of the emperors of Rome at that time when Christians were being prosecuted and many put to death.

To many Christians of John's time, the Roman emperor was indeed the devil, as well as the enemy of the teachings of Jesus Christ. And the impending Armaggon wasn't relating to some far future event where the forces of Satan fought again Jesus and His Angels, but a real battle against The Roman Empire causing its destruction. Oddly enough, this eventually did happen as Christianity conquered over the worship of pagen gods, and Rome itself became the center for Catholicism.

But...enuff o' dat.

Today I worked more on listings for the "Beatles and Bizarros" blog site (link to the right column) when my good Italian (speak of the devil) friend, Fabio, sent me some additional listings to add to this. There's several that I need the publishers for, however, so if any of you out there can recognize any of the following companies which produced there titles, please let me know so I can correct/add to the listings. The titles I need publishing companies for are:

Big George and His Friends

Tetragrammatron Fragments
(this may be a fanzine)


Blackmail Material

Things From Nowhere

(NOT the Golden-Age title, but a modern publication)

Undrground Surrealistic magazine

I appreciate it!

Picked up some fairly recent comics and will be reviewing some of these as they are read, which include:

Batman (DC) 655, 657, 658/ Daredevil (Marvel) Flashback -1/Detective (DC) 842/Fantastic Four (Marvel) 507/Gross Point (DC)1/Hulk V2 (Marvel) 62/Justice League America Annual (DC/1992) 6/Superman-Batman (DC) 35

And, before I forget it, yesterday marked the anniversary of both the 47th. year since the release of the first Beatles' song, "Love Me Do", plus it was also the 40th. Anniversary of the first episode of "Monte Python's Flying Circus". (Good memories from both!)