Tuesday, September 19, 2017

King Tut's Gorilla by Dave Goode

Of all the Bat-Villains that were created specifically for the Batman television series of the swinging sixties my favorite was King Tut. I could easily picture the character in the comic books. Actually I would have loved to have seen him in the comics. A King Tut would be added to the list of Bat-Villains in the comics. But that would be decades after the series was canceled. And that Tut had very little to do with the over the top character portrayed by Victor Buono on the 60s TV show. That of schizophrenic William Omaha McElroy,professor of Egyptology at Yale who when conked on the noggin imagines himself the reincarnation of King Tut.

Buono's leering and lecherous Tut set a new standard for scenery chewing on a series that was known for over the top performances. I personally thought he would have been great playing Nero or some other decadent despot in an Italian costume melodrama.

One of the things that I found sorely missing from the Batman series was a gorilla. Think about it. This show was aired during the Silver Age of Comics. But it never featured one of the Silver Age's most popular tropes. Now I'm not suggesting that there should have been episodes that featured Karnak,the Living Beast-Bomb from Detective Comics No.339. But one of the Bat-Villains could have owned a pet gorilla. The logical choice would have been the bad guy who thought himself the reincarnation of an Egyptian pharaoh. The only question would be who would play the beast. George Barrows or Janos Prohaska?


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I CAN! I MUST!! I WILL!!! by Dave Goode

A couple of years back I came across an article debunking that old chestnut about how humans only used 10% of their brain power. And that if we could unlock that unused 90% we would be able to perform super-human mental and physical feats. Say it ain't so! That theory was the basis for any number of comic book heroes. Including one of my Silver Age favorites Peter Cannon...Thunderbolt.

Peter Morisi (aka PAM)

Created by moonlighting NY City police officer writer/artist Peter Morisi under the pseudonym PAM , Thunderbolt's origin told the story of Peter Cannon the son of two American missionaries in Tibet. Combating the Black plague in a Himalayan monastery Peter's parents succumb to the disease themselves. Taken in by the monastery's High Abbot he is taught the knowledge of the " Sacred Scrolls " which teach him how to utilize the dormant portion of his brain. By the time he reaches manhood he achieves mental and physical perfection. Returning to America with his boyhood friend Tabu, the pacifistic Peter reluctantly uses his powers to fight for justice while costumed in his training outfit from the monastery with a mask attachment.
Years later when Marvel Comics introduced the martial arts hero Iron Fist I couldn't help but notice how similar his origin was to that of Thunderbolt's. Later I would find that Morisi borrowed a bit from the origin of the Golden Age hero Amazing Man created by Bill Everett. And Thunderbolt's costume was reminiscent of the Golden Age Daredevil*.
One of the coolest things I found about the feature was how Morisi would subtly display Thunderbolt's powers through a series of workouts between Peter and Tabu. For instance they have a judo randori session where Peter beats his companion 6 ippons to 5. Reading the dialogue you learn Peter spotted Tabu 5 points. On another occasion Peter knocks Tabu out in a boxing match with one arm literally tied behind his back.
Thunderbolt made his first appearance in January 1966 taking over the numbering of the discontinued Son of Vulcan title from Charlton Comics and ran from issue No.50 to No.60. Writing this blog installment I started to think who I would cast as Peter Cannon in a 60s Thunderbolt movie. I'm throwing a change-up here. Instead of Ron Ely I'm going to go with 60s "teen idol" Troy Donahue. From the neck up Donahue looked like quite a few blond comic book heroes. Unfortunately from the neck down he looked like Jimmy Stewart. But hey! Get him into the gym and give him a steady diet of T-Bone steaks and protein shakes and you'd have your Peter Cannon.
*Morisi, who'd done work for Lev Gleason Publications in 1940s, reported in Comic Book Artist #9 (August 2000) that he had attempted to buy the rights to 1940s superhero Daredevil in the early 1960s. Gleason gave him his okay, but the character's primary writer-artist, Charles Biro, balked, requesting a percentage of future profits. Morisi declined and went on to create Thunderbolt in a scaled-down version of that Daredevil's symmetrically divided, red-and-blue costume. - Wikipedia
Now ju know Thunderbolt...but do ju know the Phantom Gorilla, Mr. Incognito, the Golden Adonis, and Dr. Judo? Ju don't?! Well, pal, now you ju do! ju-do as in judo...JUDO COMICS!! (Dave Goode did NOT write this pun...nobody in his right mind would write a pun this bad.) 
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Elvis,The King of...Karate! by Dave Goode

Faux poster by Vance Capley
 Though you can make the argument pro or con that Elvis Presley was the "King of Rock & Roll. There is no denying that he was a pioneer. Nor should there be any doubt that he was a pioneer of the martial arts in America. Elvis was using karate in his movies long before Bruce Lee became a household name in the United States.

 Elvis was introduced to the martial arts via a judo demo at Ft. Hood , Texas shortly after he was drafted. While stationed in Germany he discovered karate through a book that many believe to have been written by kyokushin karate master Mas Oyama. Tales of Oyama's feats of strength and stamina must have seemed like having super-powers to Presley who had been a member of the first generation of comic book fan-boys. No doubt part of what inspired him to study the martial art.


After leaving the service and reentering show business he began incorporating martial arts moves into the fight scenes in his movies. This began in the movie BLUE HAWAII (1961). And still later when he went back to performing on stage he would punctuate a number of his songs with a quick karate kata.

  Though he never starred in a martial arts movie during the era of "kung fu-mania" he was involved in a martial arts movie project during this period. In 1973 he helped to finance a karate documentary titled THE NEW GLADIATORS. Unfortunately it wouldn't be released during his lifetime. And the footage that was filmed was believed to have been lost. In 2001 the footage was found and THE NEW GLADIATORS was released on video in 2002. In 2009 Elvis Presley Enterprises released a version of the film that included footage of Elvis training. If you're a fan of Elvis or the history of American martial arts you should seek this documentary out.
-Dave Goode

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Big Bill, the Barbarian by Dave Goode

  Back in the early 1970s when Marvel Comics began publishing the adventures of Robert E.Howard's barbarian anti-hero Conan as comic books I thought the perfect actor to play the character in a movie would have been William Smith. I had known "Big Bill" as Joe Reilly , the strong as an ox Texas Ranger on the television series LAREDO. And for his roles in various biker flicks. I obviously wasn't the only person who thought so. Because in 1982 when Conan was brought to life on the big screen Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed him. But Big Bill was cast as his father. Many ,including myself ,think that his performance as Conan's dad was the best thing about the film.



   I could easily imagine Smith playing the older Conan in adaptations of Howard's stories BEYOND THE BLACK RIVER and HOUR OF THE DRAGON. Nor is it hard to imagine a younger Smith starring in an adaptation of A WITCH SHALL BE BORN. This story contains the most famous scene from Howard's Conan stories. One that was used in the 1982 movie. But didn't have the same context.



Aside from Big Bill as Conan I imagine Vincent
Price as the mercenary leader Constantius, the Falcon. And in the dual role of the twin sisters Queen Taramis and Salome , the witch of the title , Barbara Steele.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Arabian (K)Nights by Dave Goode

As a kid I loved swashbuckling adventure movies that were freely adapted from the 1001 Arabian Nights. Maybe they weren't quite as cool as masked wrestler movies or biker flicks. But they were still a lot of fun. Oddly enough my first Steve Reeves movie was the 1960 THIEF OF BAGHDAD.

A favorite series from the genre would have to be the one from Universal that starred Maria Montez and Jon Hall. My favorite of these was ALI BABA AND THE 40 THIEVES. Pure magic.


Another great series were the Sinbad movies with visual effects provided by the great Ray Harryhausen. These films were THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958) , THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973) and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977).

One of the attractions of the Arabian Nights movie genre beyond the swashbuckling adventure was the amount of feminine pulchritude on display. Harem girls , princesses and dancers. The 1955 flick THE SON OF SINBAD had this all covered. This was released by RKO when Howard Hughes was the studio chief. I always believed this flick was Hughes way of keeping his promise to a number of starlets he told he would give them a part in a movie. The movie stars Dale Robertson as Sinbad and Vincent Price as Omar Khayyam. Along for the ride are Sally Forrest , Marie Windsor and exotic dancers Lili St. Cyr and Nejla Ates. Not a great film by any means. But a good little time killer.

In the world of Goode Guy Comics, Dr. Judo doesn't carry a magic lamp, but he will turn out your lights. Dig this retro-tastic cover by designed by Dave Goode and illustrated by Vance Capley:

If you enjoyed that, you'll love JUDO COMICS! ...one click away!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Truly Herculean by Dave Goode


 When you think of Hercules on film you immediately think of Steve Reeves. And for good reason. It was Reeves' portrayal of the demi-god in HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED that ignited the explosion of musclemen movies that filled movie theaters in the 1960s. Oddly enough Reeves technically didn't have the most herculean physique of the actors to play the man-god. Reeves physique was as Edgar Rice Burroughs described that of his literary creation Tarzan of the Apes. "More Apollo than Hercules". The sinew & sandal star that epitomized the look of raw physical power was Reg Park.

Park had placed second to Reeves in the 1950 Mr.Universe competition. But he would win the title in 1951 , 1961 and again in 1965. It was only natural that he would find his way into the cinema of sinew and sandals. He would star as Hercules in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN , HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD and HERCULES THE AVENGER. In HERCULES PRISONER OF EVIL he actually portrays Ursus. And of course in MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES he plays the strength hero Maciste.


HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD is probably the best known of Park's peplum pictures.Directed by Mario Bava and co-starring Christopher Lee it has over the years become a cult classic. But my favorite Park flick is MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES. There are a couple of Tarzan stories written by Burroughs like Tarzan and the City of Gold and Tarzan and the Lost Empire that read like Maciste adventures. But this movie has the feel of a Tarzan adventure. Maybe it's the Africa setting. In any case if you haven't seen this one before give it a peek. Not only is Park great performing feats of strength you have Wandisa Guida , one of those incredibly sexy women who were always turning up in these flicks, playing a sadistic she who must be obeyed-type. 

At JUDO COMICS we have our own strong man, the Golden Adonis:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Judo" George Reeves by Dave Goode

Like all fan-boys I like to imagine certain actors playing certain comic book characters. For instance when I imagine a big-budget 1940s Batman movie it stars Robert Taylor as Bruce Wayne/Batman.Paulette Goddard is Catwoman. Conrad Veidt is the Joker. And Burgess Meredith is the Penguin. No getting around it. Meredith is the Penguin no matter what era. So when I was imagining what actor would play my comic book creation there was a very short list. Richard Egan and George Reeves.

Egan had been a judo instructor during World War Two. And George (no relation to Steve) Reeves was a student of two-time National A.A.U Judo Champion Gene LeBell. LeBell a pro wrestler of note had even done personal appearances with Reeves as the black-clad villain "Mr.Kryptonite".


George Reeves had boxed and wrestled in college and would have been great as Dr.Judo, a high school gym teacher and wrestling coach turned pro wrestler and part-time superhero.

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Now, what are creators
Dave Goode and Vance Capley
up to this week? Watch this weeks' Judo Comics TV 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The French Have A Word For It....Judo by Dave Goode

If you wanted to see martial arts action in western cinema during the 60s,the place you wanted to go was the secret agent movie. You wouldn't find too many spinning wheel-kicks in these flicks. Just stalwart,square-jawed secret agents trading shuto blows and judo throws with hired assassins and enemy agents. The same basic hand to hand combat techniques that these steely-eyed cold warriors would have learned while in the military before embarking on a life in counter-intelligence and espionage. To be sure Bruce Lee student and future Academy Award winner James Coburn had some well choreographed martial arts scenes in OUR MAN FLINT and it's sequel IN LIKE FLINT in which he portrayed super agent, Derek Flint. American karate champions Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, and Chuck Norris flashed a little bit of their tournament wining style as hitman in the Matt Helm movie, THE WRECKING CREW starring Dean Martin. But for the most part the heroes and villians in these movies adhered to the K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid.) system. The major exception to this rule were the Le Judoka movies. Author and judo practitioner, Ernie Clerk wrote a series of just under a dozen books about a secret agent known as Le Judoka. These books were incredibly popular in France. No surprise in that when you realize how popular the sport of judo is in France. So it was in 1967 during the height of
of the secret agent craze that Marc St.Clair...Le Judoka was brought to life on the silver screen.

LE JUDOKA, SECRET AGENT was adapted from author Clerk's book THE JUDOKA DANS LA VILLE by screenwriters Jacques Guymont and Pierre Zimmer. The film was directed by Zimmer and starred Jean-Claude Bercq as Le Judoka. Also featured is Henri Garcin as the hero's comic relief sidekick and beautiful Marilu Tolo as a femme fatale named Vanessa. The movie really isn't much different from any other Eurospy movie from the period, except for the hero's martial arts skills that went beyond the typical shuto blow to the neck. And this movie was successful to warrant a sequel.

I'm sure that if LE JUDOKA DANS L'ENFER (THE JUDOKA IN HELL) (film title
had had an American release it would be enjoying cult status today. This
1968 sequel directed by Maurice Labro from a screenplay by Labro and Jean Meckert found, George Lazenby lookalike, Marc Briand replacing Jean-Claude Bercq in the role of Marc St.Clair. Marilu Tolo is back,but this time she plays a character named Jennifer. Like Bercq before him Briand is ruggedly handsome and even more athletic. When he goes into action you can believe you are watching a rokudan at work. Of special note this film features a young man named Jean Ferre in the role of a cyclopean martial arts master. Ferre may be better known to you under the name he took as a professional wrestler...Andre the Giant. Wearing make-up to make him look Asian and sporting a black gi, Ferre gives a tameshiwari demo breaking both bricks and boards before tossing some normal sized judokas like rag dolls. The young Ferre hadn't yet attained the full height and bulk that would
make him world famous, but he's still an imposing sight. He appears about to be 6'9" and 300 pounds.
The one on one battle between Briand and Ferre is the highlight of this Eurospy thriller. The plot has a pilot kidnapped by the Black Dragon Society
and brainwashed to drop a bomb on Manhattan. Le Judoka is sent to rescue him. Pretty simple. The fight choreography is anything but, and you end up
believing Le Judoka can more than hold his own against his titanic adversary. A really fun movie if not an exceptional one from the Eurospy genre.