Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Frankenstein the Superhero "Resurrection"

We're doing something really scary for Halloween this year...
...notably presenting the campy "pop art" versions of the Monster of Frankenstein , Dracula, and The Wolfman, as seen in the Swinging '60s, when everyone in comics was either a spy, a superhero, or both!
Will the Monster use his powers for Good instead of Evil?
And how the heck did this whole thing come about, anyway?

In 1964, Dell Comics published a line of comic adaptations of Universal Monster movies to tie in with their successful revival on tv.
Two years later, Dell decided to take the monsters' base concepts and rework them into then-trendy superheroes and spies!
Frankenstein and Dracula became superheroes while WereWolf (the name Wolf Man was trademarked) was a secret agent (albeit one with a "stealth" suit to avoid detection).
Yeah, it was as dumb as it sounds, and none of them ran more than three issues.
This was part one of the Silver Age Frankenstein's three-part origin tale from Frankenstein #2, illustrated by Tony Tallarico, who did a lot of work for Dell and Charlton in the 1960s.
(Frankenstein #1 was the previously-mentioned movie adaptation.)
We'll be presenting the other two parts of the origin over the next two days.
You'll get a better look at how Dell shamelessly ripped-off both Superman and Batman by taking elements from both of them for this series.
Scary, eh?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Batman vs Green Hornet: Round 2!

The rematch that took almost 50 years to do is coming in May...
Art by Alex Ross
Batman
vs
Green Hornet
II!
DC and Dynamite are teaming up to present a sequel to the first inter-comics company crossover!
The Hornet and Kato had already cameoed on Batman, in the episode "The Spell of Tut", where they appeared in a window during a Bat-Climb.
Celebrities ranging from Sammy Davis Jr. to Edward G. Robinson popped up for brief appearances during these sequences. Even characters from other ABC series like Lurch (Ted Cassidy) from the Addams Family and Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer) from Hogan's Heroes showed up!

Curiously, the visiting duo are regarded as heroes, not villains, and Britt introduces Kato by name.
(Metafiction aficionados have been driven nuts by these interludes, trying to fit them into their respective universes...)
And, as we've pointed out before, both Batman and The Green Hornet featured their characters watching each others' show on tv!
All that was basically ignored when it was decided that, to boost Green Hornet's decent (but not Batman-level) ratings, GH and K would appear as "Visiting Heroes" on Batman.
For whatever reason, none of the established Batman villains were used. (And The Green Hornet had no costumed...or even ongoing...opponents.)
Instead, a new baddie, Colonel Gumm, played by Roger C. Carmel*, was introduced, along with a plotline involving counterfeit stamps which drew The Hornet and Kato to Gotham.
The motif of GH and K being perceived as villains was utilized, resulting in the Dynamic Duo being as eager to capture them as to jail the corny counterfeiter!
In addition, it's shown that the two heroes' millionaire alter-egos, Bruce Wayne and Britt Reid, have known each other since childhood, and constantly competed over almost everything, including women!
So, it was inevitable the two costumed frat-boys would square-off in the climax...
On-set photo of Van Williams and Adam West during the climactic fight scene
Unfortunately, the gambit didn't pay off.
The Green Hornet's ratings didn't improve, and the show was cancelled.
(Note: the show's ratings were good enough to make them eligible for renewal, but, since the producers didn't want to implement network-demanded budget cuts, the network axed the series anyway.
Batman, OTOH, continued, with a reduced budget and cut from being twice-weekly to weekly, for another year, before being cancelled.)
Here's a truncated version of the classic 1967 match-up...
Beginning in May, there will be a new comic mini-series featuring the 1960s tv versions of both characters in a direct sequel to the tv two-parter, written by Kevin Smith & Ralph Garman, and illustrated by Ty Templeton with covers by Alex Ross.
Watch for it.

*Roger C. Carmel played numerous flamboyant villains on everything from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Hawaii Five-0 to Transformers to Star Trek, where he portrayed Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd on both the classic and animated series! He's also the answer to the trivia question; "Who's the only actor to play a villain opposite Batman, Captain Kirk, and The Green Hornet?"


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reading Room DOC SAVAGE "Polar Treasure"

The Polar Vortex reminded me of an early Doc Savage novel...
...which was condensed into the shortest comics adaptation I've ever seen of a novel!
Two notes:
1) the flying man on the cover is Ajax the Sun Man, who had his own strip in the book.
(Ajax is not in the Doc Savage tale.)
2) the story may be NSFW due to racial stereotypes common to the 1940s.
The first few issues of the 1940s Doc Savage Comics condensed and adapted Doc pulp novels.
This issue (#3 from 1941) took the 1933 pulp tale "Polar Treasure" and fit it into only eight pages!
Both writer and artist of the adaptation and cover are unknown.
Lester Dent wrote the original novel under the "Kenneth Robeson" house pen-name.
Trivia: both the original and paperback editions of the novel are #4 in their respective series.
(After the first novel, "Man of Bronze", Bantam Books reprinted the stories out of order, going with what they felt were the most exciting tales first.)
Paperback art by Jim Aviati or Lou Feck. Pulp art by Walter M Baumhofer
Bookmark us (if you haven't already) since we have a lot of cool never-reprinted material coming up this year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Special Repost: THE GREEN HORNET vs BATMAN!

Since the videos on the original 2010 post were deleted from YouTube...
...we're re-presenting this incredibly-popular post with updated links!
It's Christmastime, so let's go with the most-demanded Green Hornet vids of all... 
When Titans Clash :
Batman vs The Green Hornet!
A decade before Superman vs Spider-Man, this was the first inter-company superhero crossover.
The Hornet and Kato had already cameoed on Batman, in the episode "The Spell of Tut", where they appeared in a window during a Bat-Climb.
Celebrities ranging from Sammy Davis Jr. to Edward G. Robinson popped up for brief appearances during these sequences. Even characters from other ABC series like Lurch (Ted Cassidy) from the Addams Family and Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer) from Hogan's Heroes showed up!

Curiously, the visiting duo are regarded as heroes, not villains, and Britt introduces Kato by name.
(Metafiction aficionados have been driven nuts by these interludes, trying to fit them into their respective universes...)
And, as we've pointed out before, both Batman and The Green Hornet featured their characters watching each others' show on tv!
All that was basically ignored when it was decided that, to boost Green Hornet's decent (but not Batman-level) ratings, GH and K would appear as "Visiting Heroes" on Batman.
For whatever reason, none of the established Batman villains were used. (And The Green Hornet had no costumed or even ongoing opponents.)
Instead, a new baddie, Colonel Gumm, played by Roger C. Carmel*, was introduced, along with a plotline involving counterfeit stamps which drew The Hornet and Kato to Gotham.
The motif of GH and K being perceived as villains was utilized, resulting in the Dynamic Duo being as eager to capture them as to jail the corny counterfeiter!
In addition, it's shown that the two heroes' millionaire alter-egos, Bruce Wayne and Britt Reid, have known each other since childhood, and constantly competed over almost everything, including women!
So, it was inevitable the two costumed frat-boys would square-off in the climax...
On-set photo of Van Williams and Adam West during the climactic fight scene
Unfortunately, the gambit didn't pay off.
The Green Hornet's ratings didn't improve, and the show was cancelled.
(Note: the show's ratings were good enough to make them eligible for renewal, but, since the producers didn't want to implement network-demanded budget cuts, the network axed the series anyway.
Batman, OTOH, continued, with a reduced budget and cut from being twice-weekly to weekly, for another year, before being cancelled.)
Without further adieu, here is the legendary two-parter; "A Piece of the Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction"...
*Roger C. Carmel played numerous flamboyant villains on everything from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Hawaii Five-0 to Transformers to Star Trek, where he portrayed Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd on both the classic and animated series!
He's also the answer to the trivia question; "Who's the only actor to play a villain opposite Batman, Captain Kirk, and The Green Hornet?"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fly the Yuletide Skies with--SKY WIZARD!

In the 1940s, superheroes were the primary genre in both comic books and pulp magazines.
The skies and streets of pop fiction were filled with people in capes, cowls, leotards, or some combination thereof.
And, of course, a superhero had to have a super-power or gimmick that would set him (or her) apart from the crowd.
Which leads us to our feature character today...
We at Atomic Kommie Comics™thought highly-enough of Sky Wizard that we added him to the Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ lineup without hesitation!
Why?
1) He's "the Master of Space"! Catchy, eh?
2) He's a scientific genius! (Funky weaponry and modes of transport a speciality!)
3) He can't make up his mind about what costume to wear!
He wore a different costume in each of his four cover appearances!
No fashion victim he! (And you thought Marvel's Janet Van Dyne-Pym and Henry Pym had bulging wardrobes!)
4) He appeared in Miracle Comics! ("...and if it's a good comic, it's a Miracle! Thank you! We'll be here thru Sunday! Try the veal...")
With a name like that, you know we had to find a spot for him, and his book, in our kitchy lineup!
So, if you're looking for a unique, Golden-Age superhero-oriented gift (shirt, mug, blank sketchbook) for your pop-culture craving sweetie, you can't go wrong with a Sky Wizard gift under the tree (or maybe above it)!

Radio's Green Hornet Collectibles

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