Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Man Who Never Dies by Dave Goode


 
When you talk about mythic comic book/strip heroes the discussion has to begin with Lee Falk's iconic the Phantom. Each new comic strip serial began with a recap of the hero's origin. "For those of you who may have come in late..."















I knew the Phantom from the comic strip. And from the Gold Key comic books
with the wonderful painted covers by the likes of George Wilson.



 In 1966 at the height of Batmania Warren put out a one-shot magazine titled On The Scene Presents Super-Heroes. The mag reprinted articles from Screen Thrills Illustrated on the Batman serials, Flash Gordon, the Superman serials, the Captain America and Captain Marvel serials ,the new Batman movie and the 1943 Phantom serial. From the photos that accompanied the Phantom article I knew I needed to see this serial. And I would years later when it was released on VHS.







Reportedly Lee Falk ,the Phantom's creator ,wasn't crazy about the serial. For the life of me I can't understand why. The chapter-play featured all the requisite thrills you'd expect from a jungle cliffhanger. The hero gets caught in quicksand. There's an avalanche/rock slide. There's a collapsing bridge. And best of all (to me at least) the hero fights a gorilla. There are chapters that seem to be lifted from the comic strip itself. And just might have been. The bits with the Tartar chief and the Fire Goddess for instance.

 
Tom Tyler is picture perfect as the mysterious
masked avenger. Though he's not the wisecracking hero that the character is in the comic strip. And Kenneth MacDonald is outstanding as the villainous Dr. Bremmer. It isn't perfect by any means. The "jungle natives" look like Native-Americans. In fact one of them was played by Jay Silverheels. And the Phantom's pet wolf is portrayed by German shepherd Ace,the Wonder Dog.
  My biggest beef though is that the Ghost Who Walks is seldom referred to as the Ghost Who Walks. Instead he's referred to as the "Man Who Never Dies". Maybe that's the problem Falk had with the serial.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Casting A Saturday Morning Favorite! by Dave Goode

 
Saturday mornings back in '66 and '67 were very cool if you were a comic book loving kid*. Aside from cartoon shows featuring comic book stand-bys like Superman and the Fantastic Four you also had new characters created just for TV. Birdman,the Galaxy Trio,Mighty Mightor even a Super President. At the top of my list was Space Ghost. A sort of Batman in outer space. But running a close second was The Herculoids. The show was created and designed by Alex Toth for Hanna-Barbera Productions and featured the adventures of Zandor, the Tarzan-like ruler of the jungle planet Amzot (later renamed Quasar) and his allies the Herculoids.

The Herculoids were 5 alien creatures. There was Tundro a rhino/triceratops hybrid that shot "energy rocks" from his horn. Zok was a space dragon who could not only breathe fire but could shoot laser beams from both his eyes and tail. Gloop and Gleep were two protoplasmic shape-changers who were able to absorb and deflect energy rays. And then there was my favorite Igoo,a great stone ape who I couldn't help but imagine being brought to life in a live-action Herculoids movie by Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen could have taken care of bringing the Herculoids to life.But who to cast as Zandar and his wife and son Tara and Dorno???

Truth be told Zandor and his family always reminded me quite a bit of Tarzan,Jane and Boy from the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies from MGM and RKO. In fact Zandor was originally going to be called Zantor (Which is Tarzan spelled sideways...sort of). So if I'm casting an alien Tarzan in the 1960s my first choice for the role is Ron Ely who portrayed Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle hero on television.
When I first thought of casting a Herculoids movie the first actress I thought of to portray Zandor's wife was Marissa Mell who became a cult figure appearing in Italian B-Movies in the 60s including DANGER:DIABOLIK.
 

As for Dorno that becomes a bit more difficult. Jay North would have been 16 in 1967. A wee bit too old to play Dorno. So maybe Tommy Norden who played the younger brother on FLIPPER.


 
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RETRO COMIC BOOK! SET IN THE BRONZE AND SILVER AGE OF COMICS, JUDO COMICS TRIES AND SUCCEEDS IN BRINGING THE READER A FUN COMIC BOOK! GRAB YOURS TODAY! JUDO COMICS

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editor's note* If you were a kid growing up in the early 1980s, you might recall the Herculoids on Saturday mornings. They were featured, along with Space Ghost, in new adventures on NBC's Space Stars. For many of us "monster kids", this was the gateway into the world of HB superheroes.
 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Why Not A Pro Wrestler As Tarzan? by Dave Goode


 
I was watching THE LOVES OF HERCULES again the other day. That's the sinew & sandal flick in which Mr.Universe 1955 Mickey Hargitay portrays Hercules. And his wife blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield in dual roles portrays two of his loves. Tina Gloriani plays another. It got me to thinking. Mickey and Jayne might have made for an interesting Tarzan and Jayne. Or at least a Tarzan-like hero and his mate. In fact in the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway play WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?,Mickey plays the Tarzan-like star of a television series. Wife Jayne recreates the role she made famous on Broadway as the Marilyn Monroe-like Rita Marlowe. It's not hard to imagine the duo starring in a musical-comedy parody of Tarzan. Or a remake of BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON with Mickey as Jackra the Magnificent.
 
 

Jackra the Magnificent always sounded
to me like the name of a pro wrestler.
And in BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON Richard Denning with his wavy blond hair and leopard loincloth sure looked like a refugee from the squared circle.Hmmm. That might have been a great storyline for the Mickey and Jayne "jungle man" movie. A wrestling promoter vacationing in Africa discovers a Tarzan-type 'rassling gators and gorillas and brings him and his mate back to civilization to make a fortune in the grunt & groan racket. That makes me wonder why no Hollywood producer ever thought to cast a professional wrestler as Tarzan. Swimmers, track & field stars , football players. And in the case of Frank Merrill a national gymnastics champion. But no pro wrestlers. Unless you count Joe Robinson in TARZAN ROI LA FORCE BRUTALE.



TARZAN ROI LA FORCE BRUTALE (Tarzan The King of Brute Force) was an unauthorized European Tarzan film. It was seized and released only after the producers agreed to change the hero's name to " Thaur ". I have no idea why they chose to name the character Tarzan to begin with. The character in no way resembled Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle hero. The flick itself was more of a peplum picture. The star Joe Robinson might have made for an interesting Tarzan though. Robinson was a third generation pro wrestler, physical culturist and judo champion turned actor who played in a number of peplum movies. My favorite movie that he appeared in though was A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS. In that film he plays opposite Britain's Jayne Mansfield , Diana Dors. Or was Diana Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe. In any case Joe plays her boy friend, a bodybuilder turned wrestler. And he was perfect in the role.
 
http://www.vancecapleyart.com/
 

DAVE GOODE & VANCE CAPLEY
have a terrific comic book for fans of the atomic and silver ages of comics!

Action, adventure, wrestling, judo, and more await you in....


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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I'm Still Waiting For A Remake!! by Dave Goode








 I was recently rereading Mike Howlett & Stephen Bissette's THE WEIRD WORLD OF EERIE PUBLICATIONS and it got me to thinking. What kind of movies would Myron Fass been making if he had decided to get into film-making? It didn't take to much time to come up with an answer. He would be Herschel Gordon Lewis' main competitor producing flicks along the lines of BLOOD FEAST and THE WIZARD OF GORE. Or maybe something like THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE.



 Arguably the sleaziest horror movie ever made THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T
DIE was produced by one-time pro wrestling promoter and manager Rex Carlton. One of the earlier movies Carlton produced was MR. UNIVERSE (1951), a flick about the grunt & groan racket. Joseph Green directed THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE from his own screenplay and an original story from Carlton.

The story itself is like something out of a pre-comics code horror comic book. An unhinged doctor portrayed by Jason Evers who has been experimenting with new transplant techniques keeps his girl friend's head alive after she was decapitated in a car accident. The girl friend played by Virginia Leith wants only to die. But Evers plans to transplant her head onto another woman's body. But first he must find just the right body. That's where the movie's sleaze factor comes in. He looks for girls with the right body to kill and then transplant his girl's head to. He goes to a strip joint, searches the streets and attends a body beautiful contest. He finally finds the perfect subject in a disfigured " camera club model " played by Adele Lamont. There's also a mutant monster played by 7'7" Eddie Carmel that the doctor keeps looked up in a closet in his lab.


 I'm not a fan of remakes. Especially when the flick is considered a "cult
classic'. But this one I pictured being remade about a decade ago starring Megan Fox, Kim Kardashian, and Coco Austin.

Enjoy the comic book cover by Vance Capley for
the comic book adaptation that never was.




 DAVE GOODE AND
VANCE CAPLEY HAVE
CREATED A GREAT
RETRO COMIC BOOK!
SET IN THE BRONZE
AND SILVER AGE OF COMICS, JUDO COMICS TRIES AND
SUCCEEDS IN BRINGING THE READER A FUN COMIC BOOK!

GRAB YOURS TODAY!
JUDO COMICS


















VANCE CAPLEY'S WORK CAN BE SEEN ALL OVER THE INTERNET. YOU CAN SEE WHAT HE'S UP TO OVER AT VANCECAPLEYART.COM

AND NOW...ON WITH THE SHOW

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

And Who Disguised As Clark Kent.... by Dave Goode

Born at the tail-end of the "baby boom" I grew up on reruns of The Adventures of Superman.As such there really isn't any other Superman to me other than George (no relation to Steve) Reeves. Long before the Ilya Salkind produced movies Reeves made us all believe that "a man could fly". And more importantly he taught us to believe in "truth , justice and the American way". But as great as he was as Superman, Reeves may have been even cooler as Clark Kent. 


 

As a kid you watch a show titled The Adventures of Superman to see the titled hero fly, smash through walls, have bullets bounce off him and punch out bad guys. It was as I grew older I began to appreciate Reeves performance as Kent. It was Kent who carried the show. He did the leg work. And he was private eye cool doing it.No one looked quite as casual cool as Reeves acting with his hands in his pockets. Watching Reeves as the investigative reporter you could easily imagine him starring in a series of detective movies for Monogram.



The Clark Kent as written for Reeves was respected by the police , who in the form of Metropolis police inspector William Henderson , often sought out his advice. His employer Perry White , editor of the Daily Planet completely trusted and respected him as well. Someone else who respected Kent were the members of the underworld who feared that he would figure out and expose their nefarious schemes. The only person that didn't seem to respect Kent was fellow Daily Planet reporter portrayed by Phyllis Coates in the shows 1st season. In subsequent seasons when the character was played by Noel Neill she respected Kent as much as everyone else. Though they were rivals.



George Reeves was far from the Clark Kent created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster for the comics. But you have to remember they created him at a time when comic books still had a comic quality. Many adventure features had comic relief sidekicks. The Superman comic books had Superman as his own comic relief in the form of Clark Kent. Kirk Alyn and Christopher Reeve portrayed Kent in that manner. But as for myself and the millions who grew up with George Reeves we prefer our Clark Kent mild-mannered not wimpy.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Hero To Several Generations of Boys (and Girls as well)! by Dave Goode

 
When I was a youngster Buster Crabbe was my hero. That's probably not news to most of you. If you're of a certain age then he was most likely your boyhood hero as well. Born Clarence Linden Crabbe he literally swam into the movies by winning the 400 meter event at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.
 
Signed to a movie contract almost as soon as he left the pool he was cast as Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan in the serial TARZAN THE FEARLESS. Most likely to capitalize on the success of the movie TARZAN THE APE MAN that starred Crabbe's one-time swimming rival Johnny Weissmuller. However TARZAN THE FEARLESS was one of the worst Tarzan movies ever made. And Crabbe's "ape-man" made Weissmuller's monosyllabic Tarzan seem like a Rhodes Scholar in comparison. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
He was far better as Kaspa,the Lion Man in KING OF THE JUNGLE. That movie had a plot that mirrored that of KING KONG. But of course the role that would bring him screen immortality was that of Flash Gordon.



Crabbe was perfectly cast as Alex Raymond's science-fantasy comic strip hero. With his hair bleached blond for the role he looked like Flash Gordon come to life. He would play the character in three serials... FLASH GORDON,FLASH GORDON'S TRIP TO MARS and FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE from 1936 to 1940. He portrayed two other comic strip heroes in serials during this period. Undercover detective RED BARRY and science fiction icon BUCK ROGERS. During the 1940s he worked steadily for PRC playing various jungle adventurers and western hero Billy Carson. During the 50s Crabbe would make his final serial starring as THUN'DA  a Tarzan-like comic book hero who was originally drawn by Frank Frazetta. (Click here to read Thun'da)


 
http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=20361 
 
 
 
 
 
Crabbe's popularity as a movie hero led him to getting his own comic book 
series during the 1950s. Two actually. Eastern Color Printing published Buster Crabbe Comics from 1951 to 1953 for 12 issues in total. Lev Gleason published 4 issues of The Amazing Adventures of Buster Crabbe in 1954. (Click here to read this classic comic)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Aside from these comics Crabbe also appeared ( uncredited ) on the covers of a couple of Gold Key comic books. Gold Key during the Silver Age of Comic Books was known for their beautiful painted covers that gave their books a wonderful pulp magazine feel. There were several issues of Korak,The Son of Tarzan where Tarzan's offspring resembles Crabbe.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And then there was the first cover to Magnus,Robot Fighter 4000 AD. The resemblance is unmistakable. Just check out that jawline and chin.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Buster Crabbe as the Man of Bronze?! The masterminds behind the smash hit Judo Comics, Dave Goode and Vance Capley, send you back to the bijou to see the faux movie serial, The Man of Bronze!! Grab your posters today: MAN OF BRONZE POSTERS

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Silver Age Samson by Dave Goode

I remember coming home from school when I was 10 and my mom having a surprise for me.She had gone shopping and stopped in the "Nearly New Shop" and bought me about 2 dozen comic books. This was an era when you could go to a garage sale or walk into a thrift shop and pick up used comics for about 5 cents apiece. There were a couple of Superman and Batman comics in the pile that I already had. So I could trade them. There were assorted Disney comics from Gold Key. A Ditko Spider-Man and Strange Tales. And then there was a title I had never seen before... Mighty Samson from Gold Key. It had this super-keen painted cover with a blond Tarzan-type doing battle with a gorilla/lizard hybrid.


Mighty Samson premiered in 1964 from Gold Key ,the creation of writer Otto Binder and artist Frank Thorne. The character lived in one of those post-apocalyptic worlds that were always turning up in pulp fiction. His was a New York renamed N'Yark overrun by vegetation and populated by tribes of savage humans and mutant monsters. Samson was a mutant himself. The only thing freakish about him though was his great size and super-human strength.

 
Imagine Shaquille O'Neal 70 pounds heavier with 2 percent body fat. He was accompanied on his adventures by Mindor,a scientist of sorts and his daughter Sharmaine who would be Samson's love interest through the run of the series.Other recurring characters were King Kull (no relation to Robert E.Howard's barbarian hero) and Terra of Jerz.






 
 
The series originally ran for 20 issues 1964 to 1969. Jack Sparling would take on the art chores from Thorne beginning with issue No.8 and continue to the end of the original series. There are a lot of comic book historians who referred to Sparling as a "hack". But I kind of liked his style. And preferred it to Thorne's. I never considered Mighty Samson a great comic. But it was fun and entertaining.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It might have made for a good 60s sci-fi flick. The mind boggles at the thought of Ray Harryhausen recreating the mutant monsters of the comic for the big screen. But who to cast as the gigantic Samson. Clint Walker immediately springs to mind as the barbarian adventurer. But given a little more thought I might also consider former U.C.L.A basketball star turned actor Denny Miller. Tall and athletically muscular he was also a blond like the character.
 
 
 
 
 
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