Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Regular blogging won't resume any earlier than Monday, March 17. I have several paying gigs on my desk that must come first.
My online Vast Accumulation of Stuff sales won't resume until Friday, March 28 earliest. I think you'll be pleased at the selections I'll be offering.
My garage sales may not commence until June. The lousy weather we've had in Ohio has made it impossible for me to work on getting the sales together. In addition, I'll be gone for two weekends come May. My daughter Kelly is graduating from The Ohio State University and a dear friend of the family is getting married in Louisiana. However, I'm seriously considering holding the garage sales every weekend from June through September...except when I'm out of town.
I am not presently booked for any conventions or other appearances this summer. I'm not unhappy about that, though I remain open to legitimate invitations. There are a lot of things I need/want to accomplish. That said, I'll almost certainly attend PulpFest in Columbus, albeit not as a guest. I attend that show just to hang out with friends.
If I owe you a Facebook or email response, thanks for your patience. I'm hoping to get caught up with all of them by early next week.
Lest anyone worry needlessly, I'm doing well and so are Barb and our kids. Those plans going awry are being caused by those silly things that pop up in everyone's lives. They are annoying and often frustrating, but they happen and we deal with them as best we can.
Thanks for your continued friendship and your support of my work.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Brosnan’s novel is an entertaining pulp thriller filled with people who make incredibly bad choices. Its lead protagonist is reporter David Pascal. He works for a small-town newspaper which regularly kowtows to the rich and the powerful, most notably Darren Penward, a lord with a private zoo. Penward pretty much owns Warchester, a rural village in England.
That private zoo is far more than it seems. Penward is making his own dinosaurs, part of a larger plan to release them back into the world so that they can establish their rightful dominance over said world. That whole meteor wiping out the dinosaurs was totes unfair in Penward’s twisted mind. The novel starts when some of Penward’s creatures escape and assert their rightful dominance over a number of locals by killing and eating them. Jolly good show.
Penward’s special forces capture the critters and, in a town where Penward is lord, easily cover up what really happen. The blame is put on Penward’s Siberian tiger, but a survivor leads Pascal to dig deeper into this private zoo thing. To get information and access to the zoo, Pascal enters into an affair with the nymphomaniac Lady Penward. It’s one of those bad choices I mentioned.
Brosnan’s novel is much better than the Corman movies. That should not be seen as damning with faint praise. Though the rural English setting is somewhat confining, the creatures roam farther than in the movies. The book also has many more prehistoric creatures than the movies, which stick to the usual rubber raptors and a solitary T-Rex. Wikipedia lists Altispinax, Brachiosaurus, Deinonychus, Dilophosaurus, Megalosaurus, Plesiosaurus, Scolosaurus, Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. Including all these dinosaurs would have used up Corman’s entire company budget for several years.
Brosnan’s book also has the advantage of having space to spend some time with the victims before they go on the menu. In the movies, many of the entrees are generic scientists, soldiers and terrorists. It’s the shame the actual novel has never been filmed by somebody with the budget to do it right.
Carnosaur is long out of print and only available via the secondary markets. Though most of the copies I saw at Amazon and eBay weren’t cheap, there are some reasonably-priced copies available. I think the novel is worth tracking down. I enjoyed it enough to seek out and buy Slimer, another Brosnan/Knight novel.
When I watch movies from the library, I’m aware that they might not be in the best condition. So, while I found Carnosaur  to be unnecessarily murky, it could be because the filmmakers were trying to mask lousy production values or it could be because the DVD that I watched was showing its age.
There’s only one real commonality between the novel and this movie. While the novel has its crazy English lord who wanted to give the dinosaurs a chance to reclaim the planet, the movie has a deranged scientist - played with scenery-chewing aplomb by Diane Ladd - who wants the dinosaurs to destroy mankind and restore the world to a more natural state.
The movie is set in the American Southwest. Though Brosnan wrote a first draft of the screenplay, pretty much nothing of what he wrote was in the finished film and he was credited only for the “original story.” The movie had a budget of $1 million, which allowed for a mere two rubber dinosaurs: Deinonychus and Tyrannosaurus.
Ladd works for an evil corporation. Besides growing dinosaurs in chickens, she spreads a virus which causes pregnant women to give birth to dinosaurs and die. Though the movie indicates the virus is spreading uncontrollably, it’s never mentioned in either of the two sequels.
The other lead characters are a moderately handsome night watchman with a drinking problem and a pretty activist environmentalist. The dinosaurs get to eat all the other activists, as well as some horny teenagers. The night watchmen battles the T-Rex with a skid loader, a match-up repeated in the sequel. But not by the night watchmen because...SPOILER WARNING...the government decides this situation is so sensitive that everyone who’s encountered the dinosaurs or the virus must be killed dead. I bet this is where President Obama got the idea for his Obamacare death panels.
I watched this movie so you would not have to waste 83 minutes of your life. Don’t let my sacrifice be in vain.
Government malfeasance is key to Carnosaur 2 . It takes place in a secret government facility which was formerly a uranium mine, research lab and refinery. It’s currently being used for dumping radioactive waste, for top-secret experiments and a secret storage facility for cloned dinosaurs. What could possibly go wrong with a set-up like that?
If you answered “everything,” you are correct. There’s a possible meltdown and leaking radioactive wastes. There’s unfrozen hungry dinosaurs...which explains all the blood and body parts scattered around the place. The helicopter which brought a repair crew to the site - and its pilot - get attacked by a velociraptor and explodes, stranding the team. They are what the dinosaurs call a happy meal.
The facility has to be blowed up real good to prevent the meltdown. The crew would be considered collateral damage even if they somehow manage to not get their arms ripped off and their delicious bowels disemboweled. A rescue chopper arrives just in time for one of its soldiers to get his head bit off...and for the rest of the crew to watch the battle between a forklift and a T-Rex mostly taken from the first movie. T-Rex falls down an elevator shaft. A couple of survivors are rescued. Fox News pundits decry how President Obama has allowed strategic dinosaur reserves to fall to dangerously low levels. No wonder Putin doesn’t take Obama seriously.
According to Wikipedia, which I’m sure is based in a state allowing legal recreational marijuana, Carnosaur 2 has become a cult classic because of its campy special effects and use of footage from the first film and dinosaur sounds from Jurassic Park.
According to me, I sacrificed another 83 minutes of my decreasing lifespan for you. There should be some sort of Purple Heart-like medel for movie reviewers like me.
Carnosaur 3: Primal Species  was a direct-to-video release. Near as I can tell, it used the same hand puppets and rubber dinosaur suits we saw in the first two films. I’m guessing it was filmed at whatever locations and sets were readily available.
Stupid Obama government puts a truckload of frozen dinosaurs on the road so they can be hijacked by terrorists seeking uranium. These terrorists kill the entire military detail accompanying the truck. They take the truck to an abandoned warehouse facility with enough unclaimed cargo to obscure the terrible dinosaur effects and then they get eaten. The hungry dinosaurs leave behind only those rubber body parts available from other movies. I swear I recognize some of these parts from earlier Carnosaur flicks.
The government sends a special forces team into the warehouse and does not tell them what they are really supposed to recover. Some of them get eaten. A female scientists explains how it’s really, really, pretty please really important not to kill these dinosaurs because we can learn so damned much from them. She doesn’t change her mind until she realizes she is on the menu, too. Fortunately,
the government sends reenforcements to make sure no dinosaur goes hungry. If you ask me, that’s socialism.
The dinosaurs are bunking down on a cargo ship. The scientist and soldiers board the ship and take it out to sea. When they discover the T-Rex has laid a great many eggs, they abandon ship and call in an air strike to sink the boat.
Just kidding. They decide to blow up the boat themselves, planting explosives in the lowest levels of the ship to make sure they have quality time with the hungry dinosaurs. Only the scientist and the commander of the squad get off the boat alive. They will probably make idiot babies together.
Where is Sharktopus when you need him?
If you’re keeping track, I just saved you another 85 minutes for a grand total of four hours and 11 minutes.
The only sort of good thing about Carnosaur 3 came during the end credits:
“The American Dinosaur Association monitored all dinosaur action. Scenes depicting violence to dinosaurs were simulated. No dinosaur was harmed or mistreated during the making of this film."
The worst thing about Carnosaur 3? According to Wikipedia, it was followed by two “unofficial sequels.”
Raptor  re-used footage from the Carnosaur movies. So did The Eden Formula , a low-budget film made for the SyFy Channel. The nightmare continues.
I’ll be back mid-week with a new Rawhide Kid Wednesday.
© 2014 Tony Isabella
Friday, March 7, 2014
“Theories” is, of course, too kind a word. These were knowing lies designed to inflame the fearful morons of the right...from the usual birth certificate nonsense to Hurricane Sandy being created by some secret government program. Geary’s witty drawings and wonderfully brief commentaries will delight those readers who have the goddamn sense they were born with.
As for those clowns on the right, they will embrace each and every one of these conspiracy “theories” as the absolute truth. They’ll probably crap their pants in fear. That’s why I believe this book would be a good gift for them as well. The one problem with giving this book to a right-winger would be the “Z” entry:
Z is for ZERO. The number of the foregoing claims that are actually true is ZERO.
Since I’ve long been an admirer of Geary’s books and since I want him to make a bundle of money from them, I think he should publish a right-wing variant edition of this book. Just swap out the “Z” page for one that reads:
Z is for ZERO. The number of Christian, straight white people who will be left alive if Obama isn’t stopped is ZERO.
Rick, please take my advice on this. Because if there is one sure way to make a fortune in this great nation of ours, it’s appealing to the fear and ignorance of the right.
Aya Kanno’s Otomen is a 18-volume romantic comedy about a young man who secretly loves “girly things.” Asuka Masamune is playing the part of a masculine jock. Ryo Miyakozuka, the girl he loves and who loves him, is skilled at athletics and other “manly” things and not so much at “girly things.” I’ve stuck with this series through 17 volumes because Kanno is a gifted storyteller with characters I have come to care about. But the story has gone on too long and the only reason I’m coming back for the last volume in the series is because I’m hoping Kiyomi Masamune, Asuka’s mom, falls down an elevator shaft.
Let me backtrack. Besides Kanno’s knack for story and characters, I continued to read Otomen because I thought its ultimate message would be to challenge and dismantle dumb gender-based assumptions. If that is the message, it has gotten lost in the additions to its cast of a veritable parade of otomen - including a character with feminine facial features who is referred to as “a delusional otomen who admires manliness” - distracting from Asuka and Ryo.
Adding to my disappointment, one book away from the end of the story, Asuka is determined to give up things he loves to please his mother, who faked a life-threatening illness to manipulate him into being the man she wants him to be. She also screws with the lives of Asuka’s friends to achieve her goal. Seriously, Kiyomi is one of the most hateful villains I’ve ever seen in a manga. That elevator shaft is too good for her.
Maybe Otomen Volume 17 [Viz Media; $9.99] is just setting the stage for a happy ending that allows Asuka and Ryo and all their otomen friends to be true to themselves. Their young lives should not be “either/or” situations. There’s no reason someone can’t embrace all the things he or she loves.
The final volume of Otomen is due to ship in May. That’s when I’ll find out what Kanno has in store for Asuka and Ryo.
From 2007, Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin [Marvel; $14.99] collects a five-issue series that ranks as one of the best Doctor Strange stories of them all. The recap of the title hero’s journey from arrogant surgeon to Sorcerer Supreme fits smoothly into a story which itself brings new information on his past. The tale is marvelously mystical while being surprisingly down-to-earth. Every character - Strange, Wong, the Night Nurse, the hitman Brigand and the unknown enemies seeking to destroy Dr. Strange - ring very true. Martin’s art and storytelling are top of the line. I don’t say this about many current comics artists, but he’s someone I’d love to work with. If and when I ever write the often-requested sequel to my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, this series will be in there. That’s one of the highest recommendations I can give any comic book.
For your change of pace comics reading, Jughead Double Digest #199 [Archie; $3.99] offers a nice mix of stories by some of the finest Archie comics writers and artists. My friend Craig Boldman, who is also my favorite Jughead writer, is represented by seven stories, most of them drawn by Rex Lindsey and Rich Koslowski, and every one of them is a gem. Other great creators include Frank Doyle, George Gladir, Stan Goldberg, Samm Schwartz and Fernando Ruiz.
The highlight of the issue is “Will The Real Colonel Pickens Please Stand Up?” (21 pages) from Jughead's Time Police #5 [March, 1991]. The short-lived title starred Jughead, recruited by the future Time Police to stop time paradoxes, and January McAndrews, a red-haired beauty descended from Archie Andrews. In this story, Jughead must solve the mystery of a pivotal Civil War colonel who may never have existed. Written by Rich Margopoulos, the tale was penciled by the great Gene Colan, who was just as good at drawing humor as he was at drawing...everything else.
Note. For you Colan collectors out there, Gene the Dean also drew Jughead’s Time Police #3, 4 and 6. Collect them all.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2014 Tony Isabella
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Superman - in any form - doesn’t require a lot of back story. The important parts of his origin can and have been told in a couple of comic-book pages. Yet, just as too many modern comic books stretch out a story way too long, so have TV series adopted that style of storytelling. I yawn in boredom.
Considering the above rant, what the heck was I doing reading and enjoying Smallville Season Eleven Volume Two: Detective [$14.99] by Bryan Q. Miller with art by Chris Cross, Jamal Igle, Jorge Jimenez and others? I guess it comes down to the comic book being closer to my own storytelling sensibilities than was the TV series, which, as I recently learned, Miller also worked on.
In his scripts, Miller gives us enough background on the characters without drowning the stories with that background. I find most of the dialogue in DC’s “New 52" comics to be unbearably cluncky and overblown, it reads far more smoothly here. The plots progress as a decent pace. The action doesn’t overwhelm the character scenes. The art and visual storytelling are first-rate and not buried under the computer coloring. It’s a readable and entertaining super-hero series. It’s not going to win any awards, but it doesn’t have to win awards for me to like it. I’m just delighted to have a Superman (and Batman) comic book I can read without shaking my head at its lack of quality or throwing it across the room in anger at how lousy or wrong-headed it is.
It shouldn’t be that hard to write good Superman and Batman comics. The present-day DC Entertainment just make it look hard. I sigh in soul-crushing disappointment.
The X-Files was another TV show that I liked better when it dealt with a “monster of the week” and not the tedious “alien incursion” mythology. However, I stuck with X-Files right through to the end and even through the movies. I even kept watching when Fox Mulder [David Duchovny] was abducted and missing from the show for a bunch of episodes. Of course, that was partially due to the crush I had on Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).
The unfortunately short-lived Topps Comics produced some excellent issues. I was slightly involved with those issues. I put together the X-Files (and Xena) letters pages for several months. I really liked working for Topps.
DC did some X-Files comics as well, but I don’t recall ever reading those. Are they worth seeking out?
This brings us to IDW’s The X-Files Season 10 [$3.99 per issue], an ongoing comic-book series picking up some time after the conclusion of the TV series. I’ve read the first eight issues of the series. I’m enjoying it, some issues more than others.
The first five issues are written by Joe Harris from a story by him and X-Files creator Chris Carter. It’s a mythology story and lost some points for me because of that. But Harris and artist Michael Walsh had the characters “sounding” and looking right, so the book earned points for that. I was also thrilled by how many supporting characters appeared in these issues, some of which came as a real surprise. All in all, good stuff.
Issues #6 and #7 featured a “monster of the week” story by Harris and artist Elena Casagrande with Silvia Califano. The two issues had the return of a monster from the TV series. The art nailed the likenesses and had more movement than Walsh’s issues. Issue #8 has the mythology and the return of Walsh.
As I said, I’m enjoying The X-Files. If I have any complaints on the series, it’s that I wish there was a more equal balance between the “monster of the week” stories and the mythology stories...and that I wish the art had more life to it. The series could use more dynamic storytelling. If you’re a X-Files fan, you’ll want to check out this series.
I already watch too much TV, so I was a little alarmed to realize how many new or in development shows caught my interest when I read about them in the March 10-23 TV Guide. DC Entertainment’s Arrow has been entertaining, so I’ll give Gotham (Batman origins tale), Constantine, iZombie and The Flash a few episodes each in the hope I’ll enjoy them as well.
When my friend Roger Price put on a couple of comics conventions in New Orleans, I was a guest and part of the crew. I loved the city and have wanted to visit it again. I have enjoyed the handful of cop shows based on the city, so, even though I don’t watch the two existing NCIS shows, I’ll watch NCIS: New Orleans for at least two or three episodes. Besides having its setting going for it, the new NCIS also stars Scott Bakula. It could work for me.
Other coming shows which I’ll sample would include what TV Guide is calling “a new cyberthemed CSI” and the CW’s Supernatural: Tribes. I’m leery of the latter. While my daughter and I are still watching and enjoying Supernatural, we both think it’s probably reached the end of its run. A spinoff strikes me as pushing it.
Jamie Lee Curtis, also known as “She Who Must Be Adored”, stars in Only Human, described as a “medical soap.” As much as I’ve enjoyed Curtis’ previous performances and as many impure thoughts as I’ve had about her, I don’t know if even Curtis can sell me on a medical drama. Yes, I watch her Activia commercials, but a weekly hour-long show...I’m not sure I’m ready for that level of commitment.
One more. This Sunday, ABC debuts Resurrection, a show about loved ones returning from the grave and not in a zombie kind of way. The promos have effectively tugged at my heartstrings while showcasing the wonderful Kurtwood Smith and Francis Fisher. I am sufficiently intrigued and will record/watch the opening episode.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2014 Tony Isabella
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Rawhide Kid who appeared in the first 16 issues of The Rawhide Kid [March 1955 to September 1957] was a different Rawhide Kid than the one I’m writing about. That Rawhide Kid wasn’t a young outlaw. He was a rancher who was as expert with his rawhide whip as he was his six-shooters. Someone must have liked the name because, with nary a whip in sight, The Rawhide Kid was relaunched [August 1960] with a new, younger Rawhide Kid created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. For no reason other than my gut instinct, I’m going to say it was publisher Martin Goodman who liked the name...and Stan and Jack who decided they could create a new hero with greater appeal for their young readers.
The Lee/Kirby combo did The Rawhide Kid from issue #17 through #32. Kirby was followed by Jack Davis, Dick Ayers and Larry Lieber. One of the best and most underrated writers of the 1960s, Lieber ended up both writing and penciling the title. There would be occasional issues by others - like when Larry was off drawing some Spider-Man annuals - but it was Larry who made the book his own.
This brings us to The Rawhide Kid #64 [June 1968]. After being away from the title for far too long, Lieber wrote and penciled “Duel of the Desperadoes!” The cover of the issue was penciled by Larry and inked by Marvel newcomer Herb Trimpe. The 13-page cover story was also inked by Trimpe. Lieber’s opening caption tells the readers everything they need to know about the star of the comic:
If you’re an outlaw on the run, you pick your towns carefully! You supply up and bed down at small remote places with no tin stars or jail cells! But then, if you’re the Rawhide Kid, you just might run into worse trouble than the law!
The splash page shows a cautious Rawhide Kid, his hat titled over his forehead to hide his features, making his way down a street in one of those small remote towns. For the next few pages, we don’t get a clear shot of the Kid’s face. It’s a subtle reminder that he doesn’t want to be recognized.
Three thugs see the Kid and figure the young man will be easy prey. With his fists and guns, Rawhide handles them quickly. The fight is witnessed by Mendoza, a Mexican farmer who has crossed the border seeking a gunfighter to protect his village from the bandit Zamora and his gang. The town has but little money but will give it all to the Kid if he can defeat Zamora. The Kid says he’ll do it, but not for the money. So it’s off to Mexico.
Sound familiar? It should. This is Lieber’s take on the 1960 film The Magnificent Seven. Of course, since Larry only had 13 pages for the story, it’s more like The Magnificent One.
Zamora is a right bastard. He threatens to destroy the town and its people if they do not pay him “tribute.” He leaves them just enough so that they can grow more food and raise more stock for his next visit. When they ask how long this “abomination” will continue, he rubs his banditry in their faces:
It ends when the hawk no longer pursues the sparrow, or the lion devours the deer! In short, when the sun burns out!
Zamora is a dick. He makes a lecherous pass at the beautiful Maria and, when she refuses him, he says:
Your people are sheep, born to be sheared! Among them, only you walk with a spine.
Soon thereafter, Mendoza arrives at the village with Rawhide. The Kid shows the townspeople his skill with a gun. Word spreads about the “Americano” who will put an end to Zamora’s tyranny. This gets the bandit’s attention.
Maria can’t figure how Rawhide can wait so calmly for the outlaws who are coming to kill him. He explains:
There’s not much else to do, senorita! I’m not a bushwhacker! I don’t ambush my enemies! I’ve got to wait until they make their play! But, once they start the fracas, I’ll give you a day to tell your children about! S’help me, gal!
Cue the desperados. The Rawhide Kid more than holds his own until Zamora grabs Maria. If Johnny doesn’t drop his guns, Zamora will kill Maria. The Kid has no choice but to agree.
Zamora takes Johnny prisoner. He plans to take the trussed-up Kid from village to village to show the townspeople the fate of those who oppose him. Maria feels responsible for the situation. As the outlaws ride out of town, she retrieves Rawhide’s guns.
Following Zamora to the hidden campsite of the desperadoes, Maria cuts the ropes binding Rawhide and returns his guns. The Kid gives the outlaws a chance to drop their own weapons and surrender, but they don’t. In two panels of bullets flying, Zamora and his thugs pay the ultimate price for their crimes.
The Kid refuses the money offered him by the villages. He explains why:
I did not risk my life for you! It was my hatred of Zamora! I’ve known many evil men like him! Such men made me an outlaw! Such men keep me an outlaw! Gracias, senor, but I cannot take your money! For what I did...I did for myself!
That’s more grim that usual for the Rawhide Kid as he rides out of town and into the next issue.
An ad for Marvel Super-Hero T-shirts and other Marvel merchandise appears midway through the story. A brand new cataclysmic Captain Marvel t-shirt is announced and, like all the other T-shirts, it’s only $1.60 plus a quarter for shipping and handling. We were all in better shape back then as the largest adult size being offered is a large. I would have worn a small or a medium then. What the heck happened to me?
This issue also features “an all-new, never-before-printed action bonus starring Kid Colt Outlaw.” Colt’s title had been suspended. When it returned, it would be a reprint series. The Grand Comics Database opines this story was intended for Kid Colt Outlaw #140. Issue #140 would finally hit the newsstands a year later with just one new 8-page Kid Colt story and reprints. Issue #141 would have Kid Colt reprints and one new Two-Gun Kid story, also 8 pages long. Only Rawhide Kid would continue with new material for the next few years of its run.
“The Deadly Double” (9 pages) is written by Gary Friedrich with art by Werner Roth (pencils) and Herb Trimpe (inks). Picking up from a story in Kid Colt #136, the story finds Colt being pursued by a marshal who believes the Kid killed his brother. When Colt sees a wanted poster for a bearded version of himself and in a part of the West he’d never been in before, he figures the imposter must be the one who killed the marshal’s brother.
Colt finds and confronts his imposter, but the imposter manages to shoot him. The marshal shows up and tries to arrest the real Kid, who escapes and goes after his double.
The bearded imposter wears a medallion that would prove it was him and not Colt who committed the murder. When he shaves his beard, we see his face is scarred with knife-tracks. Shaven, his resemblance to Kid Colt is minimal.
Colt finds his imposter again, but nothing goes right after that. During their fight, the medallion falls into a deep well. The Kid leaves the unconscious killer for the marshal, leaving a note that explains who the man is.
The marshal doesn’t buy it. He thinks Kid Colt is framing the man. He swears to track Colt if it takes a lifetime. The Kid hopes he can someday prove he’s not a killer. The final caption of the tale asks some grim questions:
And so, Kid Colt lives to see another sunset! But what of tomorrow? How long before his blazing guns are stilled forever by a bullet or a noose?
Whatever momentum this story might have had was lost by the lengthy gap between Kid Colt #136 and Rawhide Kid #64. Friedrich was likely trying to do a western take on The Fugitive, the popular TV series that ran from 1963 to 1967. Unlike The Fugitive, this story would never reach a satisfying or, for that matter, any conclusion.
The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters page has four letters from readers. Neal Lam of Douglas, Wyoming goes into considerable detail as to how Wild Bill Hickok, who appeared in Rawhide Kid #61, was not the noble fellow depicted in that story. Wild Bill Johnson of Rapid City, South Dakota takes issue with Hickok’s lack of facial hair in the story.
Mike Burns of Fort Worth, Texas praises the art of newcomers Herb Trimpe and Tom Sutton and says Marvel has the best western artists in the comics business. David Crawford of Jamaica, New York opines that the karate-chopping, judo-using Captain Cragg is the best new western character to come along in years. All in all, this is one of the better letters pages to appear in the title.
What would a Marvel comic book of the 1960s be without a senses-shattering Bullpen page? This time around, the lead item announces solo books for Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Doctor Strange. That’s followed by an item teasing new strips for Dr. Doom, Ka-Zar and the Silver Surfer and a third item announcing the final rank of Marveldom. The sixth category is FFF (Fearless Front Facer), which is “a purely honorary degree, approved and awarded by Smilin’ Stan and a carefully chosen committee for devotion to Marveldom above and beyond the call of duty!” Which begs the questions:
Did anyone ever receive the FFF award? If so, who received it and for what particular reason? How is it that all the Marvel history books have failed to include this information?
“The Mighty Marvel Checklist” plugs titles from Not Brand Echh #8 (with the return of Forbush-Man) to Marvel Tales #14 with reprints of Spider-Man, Giant-Man, Thor and Marvel Boy. Highlights of the month include the Black Panther appearing in The Avengers, Triton battling Sub-Mariner, and, in Marvel Super-Heroes #14, “an all-new, never-before-printed super-saga starring the one and only Spider-Man” with Golden Age reprints of Captain America, Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch.
Complete the page, “Stan’s Soapbox” finds the Smiling One plugging the upcoming Spectacular Spider-Man magazine. Alas, that magazine would only see two issues.
Come back next week for another “Rawhide Kid Wednesday.” Come back tomorrow for another exciting bloggy thing filled with whatever I feel like writing about, Adios, rannies!
© 2014 Tony Isabella
The Purple Dragon was written by Harold A. Davis and Lester Dent as “Kenneth Robeson.” It first saw print in the September 1940 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. From the back cover:
Graduates of Doc Savage’s Crime College revert to their earlier evil ways, leading the Man of Bronze into a deadly confrontation with an uncanny trickster and The Purple Dragon.
Written by Deck, Colors for Murder is from the June 1946 edition of Doc Savage Magazine. From the back cover:
A failed murder attempt and a gorgeous damsel set Doc, Monk and Ham on the trail of an evil mastermind.
Besides the usual informative historical essays by Will Murray and publisher Tollin, the volume also features “Journey into Oblivion,” a Doc Savage radio script written by Edward Gruskin. The show was originally broadcast March 3, 1943 over WMCA.
As with other Sanctum Books editions - The Avenger, The Shadow and others - these Doc Savage double novels are entertaining journeys into the heroic fiction of the pulp era. They’re wonderfully made books and I regularly despair I might never get around to reading all of them. But what I can and will do is let you know about the new releases as they appear. More Sanctum Books news is on the way.
© 2014 Tony Isabella