Thursday, April 28, 2016


If you're a fan-boy like me there probably hasn't been a time while watching a Buster Crabbe jungle adventure from PRC that you haven't imagined the former swimming champion playing Doc Savage.Clad in sport shirt, jodhpurs and riding boots Crabbe pretty much looked like one of illustrator Walter Baumhofer's pulp magazine covers come to life.Though the artists at Street & Smith were told to make Clark Savage Jr. look as much like Clark Gable as possible. As popular as the Doc Savage pulps were I'm sure that a serial would have been just as popular.

I imagine the serial starring Crabbe would feature the likes of Reed Hadley, Ben Weldon, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams and other serial and B-Movie regulars as his companions the Amazing Five. A fifteen chapter serial from Pre-Republic Mascot that would begin with the "The Man of Bronze" in New York for the first three chapters. In the next three chapters he and his men would end up in Asia. Chapters seven through nine would find our heroes in the jungles of Africa. And the final chapters would find them back in New York where they would thwart the villain once and for all.

The serial wouldn't be based on any particular Doc novel. And it would feature a villain specifically created for the chapter-play. More importantly the serial would have had Doc going up against a gorilla in one of the chapters. Something that the Man of Bronze, as far as I know, never did in any of  the original 181 published stories. Something this fan boy would have loved to have seen on the cover of one of the pulps. Or illustrated on one of the paperback re-issues by James Bama.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sinews & Sandals by Dave Goode

Sinews & Sandals
by Dave Goode

If you were like me you found yourself laughing self-consciously when Peter Graves closet queen character asked "Do you like movies about gladiators?" in the 80s comedy AIRPLANE. You see I've always been a fan of gladiator movies.Or peplum pictures. Or sword & sandal movies. Or whatever else you may want to call them.I myself refer to them as sinew & sandal flicks. It was about three years ago when I used the term sword & sandal to someone they  said that the hero in Hercules, Ursus and  Maciste movies rarely used swords.Samson famously used the jawbone of an ass to defeat 1000 Philistine warriors. So I started using the term "sinew & sandal" because the heroes in all these movies except for Gordon Scott in Goliath vs. The Vampires wore sandals. And of course they were all sinewy. Some are just more sinewy than others.

Seriously though, who doesn't like these films. Sure they are subliminally homoerotic. What with all those muscles gleaming with sweat as the hero topples temples, snaps chains and bends steel in his bare hands. Not to mention fighting wild beasts and other muscular men in the arena. But you can also find the hero rescuing and romancing many a comely slave-girl or captive princess.
And quite a few of these movies have a story-line where the muscular hero is seduced by an evil queen. The evil queen or high priestess in these films are usually a lot of campy fun. They are into some serious kink. They love to put the heroine into bondage. She also looks on with unbridled lust as she puts through the hero's muscles to the test fighting her minions or breaking out of some torture device. These movies are nothing if not entertaining.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

America's Number One Jungle Hero by Dave Goode

America's Number One Jungle Hero
by Dave Goode

      As a kid, I loved the Jungle Jim movies and television series that were loosely based on the Alex Raymond comic strip. They starred Olympic swimming champion and former screen Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller. I actually knew Weissmuller as Jungle Jim before I saw him as Tarzan. And though he remains my favorite movie Tarzan, I actually prefer the low budget Jungle Jim flicks produced by Sam Katzman for Columbia Pictures. A couple of years back, I happened to catch the end of the Johnny Weissmuller movie Jungle Moon Men.

      When I tuned into Jungle Moon Men, Johnny and the heroine, played by Jean Byron, are brought before the throne of Oma, a jungle queen modeled after H. Rider Haggard's Ayesha. Oma, played by Helen Stanton, asks the adventures who they are and Byran replies with her character's name. But when the stereotypical blond jungle goddess asks our hero who he is, he replies, “Johnny Weissmuller.” I blinked twice. I had forgotten that in the last three films of the series, the Jungle Jim name was dropped because Katzman let the copyright lapse, and Johnny Weissmuller portrayed Johnny Weismuller. This brought back to my mind something that I wondered about for years. Why wasn't here a Johnny Weissmuller comic book?

      During the 40's and 50's, quite a few action/adventure movie stars had a their own comic books. Alan Ladd, Dick Powell, and John Wayne to name a few. I t almost seemed that if you were a b-western hero, you were required to have your own comic book. Both Lash LaRue and Whip Wilson had their own titles. Johnny Mack Brown and Tex Ritter had their own comic books. So did Gene Autry, Rex Allen, and Jimmy Wakely. Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans each had their own comics. Even sidekicks Gabby Hayes and Smiley Burnette had their own titles. As did Johnny Weissmuller's old swimming rival Buster Crabbe.

      I figured the reason nobody put Johnny in his own comic book was because most of his movie career was spent playing two characters...Tarzan and Jungle Jim. And those characters already had their own comics. But then again, buster Crabbe was famous for playing various comic book/strip heroes himself. Weissmuller at least portrayed a fictionalized version of himself in three movies, Cannibal Attack (1954), Jungle Moon Men (1955), and Devil Goddess (1955). It actually seemed quite natural that after playing Tarzan in a dozen movies and Jungle Jim in another thirteen that Johnny Weissmuller, could turn up on the big screen portraying Johnny Weissmuller, the jungle adventurer.

      I just think it's a shame that no comic book company thought to put out a Johnny Weissmuller jungle adventure comic with art by the likes of Russ Heath, Matt Baker, Wally Wood, of the tage team of Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta. It would have been a natural.

 Retro art by Vance Capley

Wednesday, April 6, 2016



by Dave Goode

     One of the most memorable images from the Silver Age of Comics was found in a number of DC Comics circa 1964. It was for Walter's International Wax Museum at the World's Fair held at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, New York.

The image was of the Man of Steel taking flight to land one on the chin of the Cyclops.I remember going to the Fair with my Cub Scout Troop, but not getting a chance to see the exhibit. We put it to a vote and the members of my Den wanted to ride the Monorail. So I never got to see Superman take on the mythological monster. Through the Internet I finally got to photos of the exhibit. And frankly, I was mildly disappointed. 

It had Superman in flight which was pretty cool. Even cooler was if you squinted the wax figure of the Man of Steel sort of looked like George Reeves. It even included a Lois Lane figure and a backdrop of the Metropolis skyline. Where the diorama fell short was in it's depiction of the Cyclops itself.

Whereas the ad featured what looked like the Cyclops from the movie Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops (1961), the Cyclops from the World's Fair looked like a one-eyed Sasquatch. I have to wonder if the seven year old me would have been disappointed too.

In any case I thought DC should have done a special World's Fair edition of their Superman comic book with art by Curt Swan and George Klein featuring a battle between Superman and the Cyclops at the Fair itself. Maybe as a giveaway for visitors to the Fair. Now that would have been a comic book that would be sought out by collectors today.

 Retro art by Vance Capley