Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Introducing Pharaoh Love by Dave Goode

 "I want the most beautiful.I'll take the big black one." My mom chuckled when Joanna Barnes delivers that line in the gladiator movie classic SPARTACUS. Miss Barnes and Nina Fochs were playing a pair of decadent Roman noblewomen who were choosing gladiators to fight to the death for their entertainment. I'm sure that line and the look of ..er.. admiration in the eyes of Miss Barnes for the black gladiator played by Woody Strode was quite titillating for movie audiences back in 1960. Interracial sex was still considered taboo by many. Heck! Interracial marriage wouldn't be legal in all 50 states in America until 1967.

Muscular black men could be found in peplum movies from the very start. Usually as gladiators or slaves. Remember Maciste was originally a black man. Though he was played by white actor/strongman Bartolomeo Pagano with his skin cosmetically darkened. His first screen appearance was in the 1914 silent film epic CABIRIA based on the historical novel Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert. In all subsequent films he was portrayed as caucasian. And that would be the case in all the Maciste movies from the sinew & sandal movie cycle from the 50s and 60s.

In gladiator movies you might find a black man playing the hero's best friend and confidant as William Marshall did in the 1954 Hollywood epic DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS. In the muscleman flicks like the SON OF HERCULES VS. THE MOLE-MEN you might find a black man as the hero's sidekick. Former Mr.Universe Paul Wynter filled the bill in that flick. Harry Baird played a similar role in the flicks TAUR THE MIGHTY and THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN. And then there was Serge Nubret.

Serge Nubret was one of the all-time great body building champions. Competing for 25 years and winning numerous titles. He would appear in a number of European movies and television series. His two best known films from the sinew & sandal genre were MY SON MY HERO and GOLIATH THE REBEL SLAVE in which he appeared with former movie Tarzan Gordon Scott. I really wished Nubret had the chance to star in a gladiator movie of his own. BLACK GLADIATOR would have been the most logical title. But then I don't think audiences in the early 60s would have been ready for scenes with Serge and some Euro-starlet performing like Steve Reeves and Sylvia Lopez had in HERCULES UNCHAINED.

Below are two new characters my buddy Vance Capley and I have been working on. Pharaoh Love and Miss Ginger Snaps. Those of you who have bought JUDO COMICS from Lulu.com may recognize the photographer from THE GOLDEN ADONIS strip.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Deadliest Man Alive?? by Dave Goode

I don't remember where it was that I first saw the famed Count Dante ad. Strangely enough I don't believe it was in a comic book. Possibly a pro wrestling periodical or a men's sweat magazine. I do know that I thought that he was one of the coolest looking characters that I had ever seen in my young life. With his black martial arts gi and stylized hair and beard, to paraphrase Jim Kelly, he looked he came straight out of a comic book. Maybe a space pirate.
Or a mercenary on the
Red Skull's payroll. But I knew
he couldn't be real. Could he?

A couple of years after first seeing the Count Dante
ad for his booklet  " World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets " I found an article on Dante in one of my older brother's Black Belt magazines. It seemed that he was real afterall. And he was one of the original masters of "alternate facts". Born John Keehan in 1939 he boxed and wrestled in high school.After graduating high school he joined the Marine Reserves and later the Army. It was while in the service he began studying the martial arts. With first judo and jiu jitsu.And of course hand-to-hand combat techniques. Later he studied karate under Robert Trias earning his black belt. He would later develop his own system that he would promote as being "street effective". He would also promote full-contact karate tournaments in the early 60s.

In 1967 Keehan legally had his name changed to " Count Juan Raphael Dante " and claimed he was Spanish royalty. He also began promoting his booklet through ads found in magazines and comic books. In his ads he proclaimed himself the "deadliest man alive" and  to have fought in " death matches " in China and Thailand. He reportedly was connected to the Chicago mob and owned several adult book stores, beauty salons, used car lots and of course martial arts schools. He claimed to have taught karate to both Playboy bunnies and Chicago's notorious street-gang the Blackstone Rangers. He also famously challenged Muhammad Ali to a no-holds-barred fight.

There are other stories. Some true and of
course some that are utter bull-bleep. It's very hard to find the truth about someone who totally reinvented himself like Count Dante did. Dante died in 1975 of internal hemorrhaging caused by a bleeding ulcer. But his ads have made him a cult figure of sorts. There has been a film in the making for several years now. And I for one would like to see it completed. Count Dante may have been a charlatan and fraud. But he might just as well have been the most interesting man in American martial arts history.
Faux comic cover art by Vance Capley


Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Call me strange.Like most fan-boys I do imaginary movie castings. Like for instance I think of a big-budget Batman movie in the 40s that stars Robert Taylor as the "caped crusader" with Conrad Veidt and Paulette Goddard as respectively the Joker and the Catwoman. You could also throw in Goddard's husband Burgess Meredith as the Penguin. Can't get around it.Meredith would have been perfect as the Penguin no matter what the era. But I also imagine comic book adaptations of favorite B-Movies. I think it comes from my formative years being in an era when Dell Comics was adapting movies and television shows to comics. And I imagine from time to time an adaptation of the 1946 cult film HOUSE OF HORRORS illustrated by Steve Ditko.

Best known for his work on Spider-Man and Dr.Strange at Marvel Comics he also did great work for Charlton,Warren and DC. His work on BEWARE THE CREEPER is some of the best examples of "comic book noir" ever drawn. So it's easy for me to imagine Ditko drawing adaptations of 1940s mystery movies or low-budget horror flicks. Actually the comic book versions might have been better. Being un-hampered by budget restrictions.

Coming to us from 1946 is HOUSE OF HORRORS.
Directed by Jean Yarbrough with a screenplay by George Bricker,from an original story by Dwight V. Babcock this is a little 65 minute movie that has gained cult status over the years. It stars Rondo Hatton in his signature role as the Creeper a neanderthalic killer. Robert Lowery plays pin-up artist Steve Morrow and Virginia Grey plays art critic Joan Medford,Steve's love interest. The best performances in the flick come from Alan Napier,as an acerbic art critic F.Holmes Harmon, who would have been played by Clifton Webb or George Sanders if this was an "A" picture, and Martin Kosleck as the unhinged sculptor Marcel De Lange.

The film's simple storyline has unhinged artist Marcel De Lange on his way to the river to end it all after art critic Harmon causes him to lose a sale. Instead he ends up saving escaped killer the Creeper (no other name is given in this picture) from drowning and puts him to work as a model...and killing his critics. What would have made this so great as a vehicle for Ditko is the main set is crazed artist De Lange's studio/home with it's abstract sculptures.
Over the years Ditko has drawn a number of stories featuring artist's studios. And I dare say they steal the show. The other thing he would have nailed would have been the character of the Creeper. Ditko had a certain way of drawing physical brutes that was unmatched. His interpretation of Rondo's Creeper character would have been unforgettable.

 Hey, old school comic fans, JUDO COMICS IS REAL!!! Dr. Judo! Mr. Incognito! The Golden Adonis! The Phantom Gorilla! All together in one fun filled comic book! Get yours today!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FOUR MEN LIVING ON BORROWED TIME! The Greatest Comic Book Movie Never Made!! by Dave Goode

If you're a comic book enthusiast I'm not telling you anything new when I say the Silver Age's original "fantastic four" came from DC and not Marvel. Though both were co-created by Jack Kirby. Appearing in Showcase No.6 cover date Feb.1957 (Holy Spit! The Challs are 60 next month!) the Challengers of the Unknown were the first great super-team of the Silver Age. Though not possessing "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man" the original team would hold their own against foes that might give the Justice League of America a moment's pause.

There was Ace Morgan,test pilot and Korean war ace. It would be revealed in the 60s that former military man Ace was the leader of the Challengers. Prof. Haley was an expert skin-diver and overall scientific genius. Rocky Davis was the former Olympic wrestling champion and strongman of the team. In later years Rocky in a world not populated by strange visitors from another planet Rocky might have been considered the world's strongest man. And finally there was Red Ryan, a circus daredevil and mountain climbing expert.

I always thought that a Challengers movie in the 50s or early 60s when the heroes were still wearing purple jumpsuits would have been perfect from the era that gave fan-boys movies like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mole People and Worlds Without End. I would have cast Richard Denning as Ace. But a friend on FB suggested Dean Fredrericks who played Steve Canyon on TV as the fighter pilot. John Agar is my pick for Prof.Haley. Gordon Scott would be Rocky. And Edd "Kookie" Byrnes would be Red Ryan.

The storyline for this movie would follow the origin from Showcase No.6. But it would have the team going to one of those "land that time forgot" islands that always turn up in pulp fiction and B-movies to rescue some millionaire's daughter. There they would face a couple of stop-motion Ray Harryhausen dinosaurs. And Rocky would get to fight the champion of a lost city in the arena. The island would sink into the ocean after a long dormant volcano erupts and our heroes would escape in their plane.
  Whatever Happened To The Female Challengers?

On the first page of Showcase No.6 there was a mention of four female adventurers who were appearing on a radio show. As far as I know these ladies were never to be seen again. I imagine they were to be counterpart to the Challs. My guess one would be an Olympic swimming champ and archeologist. Another a circus acrobat. Ace's counterpart would be a stunt pilot modeled after "Pancho" Barnes. And Rocky's counterpart would be based on "Rusty" Kanokogi. Kanokogi was a woman judoka. She first began studying the martial art in 1955. And in 1959 cutting her hair and taping her breasts down to disguise herself as a man she won a medal at a YMCA judo competition. Below is what a female Challengers comic might have looked like as illustrated by artist Vance Capley:


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monster Mash-Up by Dave Goode

Back in the 1940s Universal tried to wring the last drop of blood from their famous monsters franchise by teaming their 3 biggest horror heroes Dracula,the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster in a series of movies beginning in 1943 with FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN. This was a direct sequel to THE WOLF MAN (1941). It was followed by HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944),
HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945) and finally ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948). I've come to refer to this series of movies as the "Larry Talbot saga". Combined they told the tragic tale of Larry Talbot the Wolf Man.*
There was even a 6th installment to the Larry Talbot saga in the form of a novel. THE RETURN OF THE WOLF MAN written by Jeff Rovin begins where ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN ends. It's a must read for anyone who grew up on Chiller Theater and Creature Features.

Years later the producers of Mexico's masked wrestler movies would use the same formula and team up their Mexiluchahero stars in the same way Universal teamed up their monster movie stars. Strangely enough they had their wrestling super-heroes facing off against knock-offs of the Universal monsters in flicks like SANTO AND BLUE DEMON VS. DRACULA AND THE WOLF MAN and SANTO AND BLUE DEMON VS. THE MONSTERS.

Below,right out of the Atom Age of Comics, is the cover for Dr.Judo No.13 drawn by my amigo Vance Capley. It features three of Universal's classic monsters. But substituting the Mummy for the Frankenstein monster.I always thought the Mummy should have been featured in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. If only as one of the exhibits in McDougal's House of Horrors.
*editor note "some count LA CASA DEL TERROR (1960) (this footage, along with footage from LA MOMIA AZTECTA (1957), was used in Jerry Warren's "masterpiece" FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964)) as part of the Larry Talbot story just because Chaney, Jr. plays the werewolf...we leave that one up to you..."