Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MB2: Man or Bat?

Detective Comics #402 (August 1970)
cover: Neal Adams (unsigned)
title: "Man or Bat?"
writer: Frank Robbins
penciller: Neal Adams
inker: Dick Giordano
editor: Julius Schwartz 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

JL #41 "They Mystery of the Fiery Eyes!" Afterward

If you have not yet read this story, please DO NOT READ THIS AFTERWARD. Skip this article and go down one post to read the story. Then come back. Please!
If you have already read this story PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL THE STORY in any links or shares etc. I went to a lot of trouble to try to write a "real" mystery, and I would like as many people as possible to read it "cold," without already knowing the ending. Thank you!

So, now that my request is out of the way...what did you think? We can talk SPOILERS after the JUMP---!

JL #41 "The Mystery of the Fiery Eyes!"

PLEASE----once you read this, 
do not "spoil" the plot in any comments or links! Thank you! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

JL #41 "The Mystery of the Fiery Eyes!" Forward

I don't know when I hit upon the idea of teaming the Justice League with the Three Investigators. The plot of this story came to me as a mystery, and as soon as I thought of the JLAers breaking up into teams I must have realized three teams = Three Investigators.... and I went from there.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jonathan Harris!

Happy Birthday, Jonathan Harris! 

The great character actor was born on November 6, 1914. He would have been 101 years old today. On the occasion of his birth, I'd like to tell you a nice little story about him.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015

About two years ago I started planning a certain Justice League story for my comic-book universe. I wanted to do an adaptation of an old SUPER FRIENDS comic where the DC super-heroes meet some of the classic Universal Monsters (#10).

When I mentioned the story to my collaborator, Andy Kapellusch, he, too was enthusiastic about working on it. Eventually I decided which members of the JLA should be involved, and which "monsters" should be involved, and I wrote the story. Andy graciously volunteered to draw the story, and we were all set.

Or so we thought.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Jupiter 2 Launch Anniversary

Today is a red-letter day in the history of the classic TV series Lost in Space.

According to the first episode of the series, the ill-fated Jupiter 2 launched on its mission to Alpha Centauri on this date, October 16, 1997.

So 18 years ago, the Space Family Robinson went missing in this tragic Alpha Control accident. Also lost, believed liquidated in the lift-off exhaust, was Doctor of Space Psychology Zachary Smith.

Official Alpha Control portrait of the doomed Robinson family
(l-4) John, Maureen, Judy, Major Don West;
Penny, Will

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Banned Books Week 2015

The last week of September is celebrated as Banned Books Week across these United States. The American Library Association and the Office of Intellectual Freedom report on those books in the past year that have been challenged most often in public libraries or public schools. "Challenges" include everything from a parent calling or writing that they find a book objectionable to full-blown movements to get something pulled from the shelves. (The specific terms the ALA uses is requests for books to be "restricted" or "removed.") So it's kind of a cheat to say that these are "banned books," as nothing has actually ever successfully been banned in this country on more than a superficial (i.e. local) level.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Two Super Birthdays Today!

September 25 is the birthday of two iconic Seventies heroes: Luke Skywalker and Superman himself!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Man From UNCLE 51st Birthday

On September 22, 1964 an unknown spy organization made its unheralded debut on network television. The Man From UNCLE was green-lighted as a series after NBC executives saw the pilot film and thought that they could ride the coat-tails of the then-uber popular James Bond spy trend.

Little did they know that The Man From UNCLE would not only ride those coat-tails, they would expand on them. The series ended up lasting four years, spawning a spin-off series, and creating a merchandise bonanza with toys, books, and games that lasted for years.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

RIP Jim Croce

On September 20, 1973 Jim Croce died when his private airplane took off badly and crashed into trees outside Natchitoches, Louisiana. He had recently hit it big nationally, with a Number One hit in July called "Bad Bad Leroy Brown." He was only 30 years old.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Debut of WKRP!

On September 18, 1978 the situation comedy WKRP in Cincinnati made its debut on CBS-TV. The show was centered around the least-listened to AM radio station in Southern Ohio. It featured Gary Sandy and Gordon Jump, two non "leading men" type character actors, as Andy Travis, the new program director, and Arthur Carlson, the owner and general manager of the station.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lost in Space at 50

Fifty years ago today, on September 15, 1965, the TV series Lost in Space made its debut with their first episode, "The Reluctant Stowaway." Although as a series it was never as good as Star Trek, the first five episodes of this series taken together ranks as one of the greatest science-fiction dramas in TV history.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Beatles' HELP! at 50


Fifty years ago this month one of the all-time classic Beatles' songs, "Help!" hit Number One on the US Billboard chart. The song was from the movie of the same name, directed by Richard Lester, who has also directed the Beatles' first film, A Hard Days' Night  (1964).

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MB1: The Challenge of the Man-Bat!

Detective Comics #400 (June 1970)
cover: Neal Adams (unsigned)
title: "Challenge of the Man-Bat!"
writer: Frank Robbins
penciller: Neal Adams
inker: Dick Giordano
editor: Julius Schwartz 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 8 in TV History

 September 8th is one of those seminal dates in TV history. Like the date that I Love Lucy made its debut (October 16, 1951) , or the date when David Janssen found his wife's murderer on The Fugitive (Aug 29, 1967). In fact, today is an important date for two separate groups of nerds.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Happy Birthday, Walt Simonson!

Walt with his lovely wife, Louise
Today is the 69th birthday of artist and writer extraordinaire, Walt Simonson!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Read Comics in Public Day 8-28-2016

Tomorrow August 28 is Jack "The King" Kirby's birthday. It is therefore celebrated internationally as Read Comics In Public Day. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

JL #40 "....Dangerous Brain Storm!" Afterward

So, what did you think?

I will be the first to admit that some of the art was not very good. I guess when I take time off my artistic abilities kind of stagnate? Or maybe I just get lazy or rushed? Some of the art is good, but too many panels remind me myself of Vince Colletta with dull or blank backgrounds. And for that I apologize. I will try to do better in the future.

Of course, I have said it before and I will say it again: I consider myself more of a writer than an illustrator. And I DO like the story, and some of the dialogue. Let me tell you about how this particular story metamorphosed....

JL #40 ".....Dangerous Brain Storm!"

JL #40 ".....Dangerous Brain Storm!" Forward

This was a difficult story to get finished! Originally I intended it to be finished in July, before I went to Japan. However,  as you will see when you read it, it's *kind of* a continuing saga. So I had to do some coordination with the next issue before I could finish this one. Then I got terribly busy at my office, and had to go on a business trip or two. I didn't want to cart all of my pages and pens etc with me to Nebraska to work on it, so I brought the script to #41 with me instead. That was a mistake, because I then go into THAT story, and wanted/needed to finish the script for that one! And lastly, my collaborator on #42, the very rad Andy Kapellusch,  asked me to do various prep work on THAT issue before I went to Japan as well....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

JL #40 "....Dangerous Brain Storm!" The Cover

Take a gander at this fantastic piece of art by the fantastic Luke Daab! 
I asked for a piece featuring Batgirl in a dramatic pose, with the JLAers defeated around her, and this is what I got! LOVE the "retro" feel he was going with here, too. 
Nice work, again and always, Luke! 

When I asked him why Aquaman wasn't included, he told me he didn't want to show Aquaman defeated. So....extra points for that response!! 

You can commission Luke Daab yourself at his site Daab Creative

->Walt Kelly's 100est & Second Birthday!<-

Walt Kelly was the first artist whose name I actually knew.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"I Got You Babe" at 50

Fifty years ago this month the classic love-song and karaoke standard "I Got You Babe" by Sonny& Cher hit Number One on the Billboard chart. It stayed there for three weeks in August 1965.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Richard Sanders!

Today is the birthday of actor-writer Richard Sanders. Sanders was a classically trained Shakespearean actor from Pennsylvania when he got the quirky role of Les Nessman, news director on WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982). While enjoying that role, Sanders also wrote five episodes of the series, all of them centering on his character.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Story Thus Far....! "Like Moths To A Flame!"

As we head into our NEWEST Justice League adventure, 
let's take a moment to look at what has happened previously....!  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Hugh Wilson!

If you have never heard of Hugh Wilson, the talented writer, producer, and director, you have missed a lifetime of great comedy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RIP Don Newton

On August 19, 1984 comic-book artist Don Newton suddenly died of a massive heart attack. He was only 49 years old.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Gene Roddenberry!

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 18, 1921. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, then returned to California and worked as a police officer before he broke into screenwriting and then producing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Davy Crockett!

Can you name the US Representative from Tennessee who battled against President Andrew Jackson, then lost a re-election bid so moved to the Mexican state of Tejas to help fight for its freedom? Of course you can!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Birthday, Gary Larson!

Per a note I found on Creators Syndicate: 

A Note from Gary Larson

RE: Online Use of Far Side Cartoons


I'm walking a fine line here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

RIP Joe Kubert

Three years the comic-book industry lost another legend, when the irreplaceable Joe Kubert died. He was 85 years old.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Missouri!

Today marks the anniversary of the day the great state of Missouri joined these United States of America. Missouri was officially admitted as the 24th state on August 10, 1821. That means that The Show Me State is 194 years old today. (Funny, she doesn't look a day over 176). I wonder if there will be a huge party in 2021 to celebrate the bicentennial?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sam Elliott!

Today August 9 is actor Sam Elliott's birthday. He is 71 years old.

Sam appeared in a very small role in the classic film, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid in 1969. This movie stars Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katherine Ross. Nearly ten years after this, he actually met Katherine Ross, and they fell in love and got married in 1984.

Friday, August 7, 2015


If you don't know who The Three Investigators are, they are three teen-aged boys named Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews. Jupiter is the most intelligent one, so he is First Investigator. Pete is the most athletic one, and he is usually available to accompany Jupiter on various investigations, so he is Second Investigator. Bob was originally injured and couldn't do as much physical activity as his pals. He also had a part-time job at the local library. So he was named Records and Research.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hiroshima 70 Years Later

The world entered the Atomic Age seventy years ago today, when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese port city of Hiroshima.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Coming of the Man-Bat!

Man-Bat made his debut in Detective Comics #400 (June 1970). At the time of his debut there was something of a horror and Gothic "boom" going on in pop culture, as the Hammer Films were very popular and also movies such as "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist" were making money in Hollywood. Also, the Comic Code Authority had begun to loosen its rules, including those forbidding vampires, zombies, and "creatures of the night." (As a reference, Marvel Comics dived head-first into the horror genre at this time, as The Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, and The Ghost Rider all made their debuts within months of each other, in 1972).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Birthday, John & Loni!

Yesterday Aug 3 was the birthday of John C. McGinley.
Tomorrow Aug 5 is the birthday of Loni Anderson.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Tony Bennett!

Tony Bennett is 89 years old today.
He is a veteran of World War II, a dedicated pacifist, and the oldest living artist to get a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (his duet with Amy Winehouse, "Body & Soul," reached #87 when he was 85 years old).
Mr. Bennett has won 18 Grammy Awards, including Best Male Vocal Performance, Album of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
And he's a hell of a singer.

I didn't like Tony Bennett when I first heard him. His older recordings, which my parents had, were mostly lush orchestrations such as "Because of You" (1951). I basically thought of him as another Perry Como....and this is not a compliment.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Letter From The Editor

Hello, folks!
If you are one of my long-term readers, thank you! If you accidentally found this site for one reason or another, welcome! I hope you click on some icons there on the right and find things worth reading.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Academy Award Best Pictures The Lists

Now that I have watched all 87 Academy Award winning Best Pictures, it's time to wrap this series up with a few Best of The Best lists....!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Academy Award Best Pictures 1928-2014

So I have now watched every Academy Award winning Best Picture, 1928 thru 2014. My initial thought upon completion: eighty-seven films are a hell of a lot of movies.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Birdman (Best Picture 2014)

Birdman starts in the dressing room of actor Riggan Thomson, who is meditating before going out on stage. However, what makes this unique is that he is meditating while levitating himself three feet off the ground. He is also engaged in an internal dialogue with a deep, raspy voice. This turns out to be the voice of Birdman, the super-hero character Thomson played in two money-making Hollywood block-busters. This looks interesting.

Friday, June 26, 2015

12 Years A Slave (Best Picture 2013)

Twelve Years a Slave is the most difficult Best Picture to watch of all of them. It tells the story of a New York musician named Solomon Northup who was kidnapped from Washington, DC and sold into slavery in 1841. For twelve years he held out hope that he would somehow escape or get rescued. During that time he was beaten, shamed, threatened with death, whipped, and nearly lynched. So although I absolutely recommend that all Americans see this film, it is absolutely a difficult film to sit through.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Argo (Best Picture 2012)

Argo starts off with a bang, with the background story of the Shah of Iran told in photos and newsreel footage, but then morphing into storyboards as if we are making the story into a film. This tells us the story of Iran through the Fifties up to November 1979 in an interesting, fun way. You know right away that this is going to be an entertaining movie. You also get an inkling right off the bat that there is going to be a link between fact and fiction and Hollywood.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Artist (Best Picture 2011)

The Artist is probably the most willfully contrived, artificial film I have ever seen. Unlike other silent films that I have seen such as The Phantom of the Opera, The Unholy Three, and Wings (the very first Best Picture), The Artist was filmed at a time when sound was an option. So the producers chose not to use sound (or color, for that matter). That begs the question....why? I guess it's like making a movie into a musical or into a comedy or a period can make the story in any way you want to. But in this case it's like writing a poem using no capitalization or playing a pop song without the lyrics. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with it, but it's not really what I want to see.