Tuesday, September 22, 2020



I came to the Marvel Age of Comics a little late. My first Marvel Comic was Tales Of Suspense No. 67 (July 1965) where I was introduced to Iron Man and Captain America , who would become my all time favorite comic book hero. A short time later I traded for Fantastic Four Annual No. 3 (Oct. 1965). It was pure magic to this young comic book fan. I started buying the FF and later Marvel Collectors Item Classics for its reprints of early Fantastic Four stories. On the cover of FF No. 3 ( March 1962 ) there was a blurb that declared it "The Greatest Comic Magazine In The World!!". Beginning with No. 4 (May 1962) the blurb would read "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!". And as far as I was concerned this wasn't just hype. It really was. And this comic was one of my must buys of the Silver Age.



The early issues were pure fun. Start with the name the Fantastic Four. As comic book historian Fred Hembeck said it sounded like the name of a circus act. Even their code names sounded like those of circus performers. Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards) , the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), the Invisible Girl (Sue Storm), and the Thing (Ben Grimm). But it worked. Something else that worked were the stories. The FF had adventures like you'd find in DC Comics Challengers of The Unknown title. The Challengers was a Fantastic Four prototype as was DC's Sea Devils. The difference being that neither one of those teams possessed super - powers. Though the Fantastic Four didn't get superhero costumes (uniforms?) until their third issue.


My favorite parts of the early FF stories  were the little "bits of business". The team breaking up and starting separate careers. Reed as a corporate research scientist. Sue as a B-Movie actress in a sci-fi flick. Johnny as a circus performer. And Ben as a professional wrestler. Another favorite of mine was Fantastic Four No. 9 (Dec. 1962) when the team went bankrupt. To recoup their losses they take an offer from a mysterious movie producer to make a Fantastic Four movie. Hopefully it was better than the Fantastic Four movies we got in the real world.


My buddy Vance Capley always wanted to illustrate the FF. And this week he does just that with a faux Fantastic Four cover featuring the Red Ghost's Super-Apes. Enjoy.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Bigger They Are.... by Dave Goode


One of the things that made the Mexiluchahero flick Los Campeones Justicieros a.k.a The Champions of Justice such over the top fun are the midget minions of the movies mad scientist villain. The most memorable scene in the movie remains when he charges them with a ray that gives them super - strength. And they use it to toss the muscular heroes like a salad. There are midget (actually dwarf ) protagonists in all three of the Champion of Justice movies. Los Campeones Justicieros , Vuelven Los Campeones Justicieros and Triunfo De Los Campeones Justicieros. Watching the trilogy this past weekend made me realize how much I miss "midget wrestling". I guess it's something that's not considered politically correct.


Also watching these three flicks got me to thinking about Cecil B. De Mille's epic spectacle Samson & Delilah (1949). Just before the movie's climax, where Samson literally brings down the house, the blinded strong man is tormented by the "Spider People". A group of pygmy warriors armed with spears and tridents. Thank goodness their skin wasn't darkened. In a previous De Mille spectacular The Sign Of The Cross (1932) the director had Nordic Amazons fighting African pygmies in the Colosseum. In this case white actors in blackface and wearing afro wigs. Cringe. It's probably why my favorite scene in the arena is the one where legendary fan dancer Sally Rand (uncredited) is bound to a post and threatened by a wild gorilla. Sorry to say there was no strength hero like Ursus or Maciste to save her.


There have been Tarzan and Jungle Jim movies featuring pygmy warriors. But none with Tarzan taking on a dozen of them at one time. And in several sinew & sandal flicks Hercules has a dwarf sidekick. But he doesn't fight an army of them. Too bad. It would have made for a striking visual. Just like the Mr. Incognito comic book cover below by Vance Capley.

 Super cool t-shirt (and other merch) designs available at:

Tuesday, September 8, 2020



There aren't too many things that are sexier than animal prints. As for myself I like tiger stripes. Both regular and snow tiger. But most prefer leopard skin. You can't go wrong with leopard. Nothing brings out a man's masculine sexuality or a woman's feminine sensuality like leopard.

Edgar Rice Burroughs clad his iconic hero Tarzan of The Apes in leopard to symbolize his primal power. Emulating carnival and circus strong men. Tarzan's many imitations (male and female ) would follow suit. Charles Atlas, the legendary strongman/bodybuilder wore it in his magazine ads.


Hollywood sex symbols were photographed wearing it. Or reclining on it. And more than one burlesque queen did a jungle girl act.


But no one did leopard quite like the ultimate 50s blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield. Leopard was a huge part of her over the top image. She and her Mr. Universe husband Mickey Hargitay wore it in tandem for publicity pics.

Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield were inspirations for the characters Brad King and Sugar Caine in the Golden Adonis feature written by Dave Goode and illustrated by Vance Capley. So was Mark Forest the gladiator movie star who began his show business career working in the nightclub act of ecdysiast Lilly Christine. And of course Steve Reeves. Reeves, the former Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe champion even wore leopard in a television pilot about a Tarzan like hero. Below is a page for the upcoming Golden Adonis comic book featuring Brad & Sugar modeling leopard.

 Now you can be KING of the jungle with this super cool design by Vance Capley!

 Order yours today on t-shirts, buttons, magnets, posters, etc:


Monday, August 31, 2020

Can't Always Tell A Book By It's Cover! by Dave Goode

You often hear about how DC comic book stories back in the Silver Age were built around the images on the cover. I don't know how often this was done. You would think it would be easier to take a strong image from a story and use it on the cover. But the editors at DC decided it was a comic's cover that sold the book. And that made it the most important part of the comic. And in truth the cover was the selling point. It was the cover that induced the reader to part with their ten or twelve cents. So the editors , writers and artists came up with a striking cover and then wrote a story to go with it. Sometimes the story had very little to do with the cover. That quite wasn't the case with Superman No. 174 (January 1965). Though it could have used the disclaimer that read, "No Scene Like This To Be Found Inside!".

The great Curt Swan/George Klein cover is followed by an equally great splash page by the same artistic tag team. And of course I had wished the whole story was illustrated by them. But Al Plastino does a more than competent job on the story written by Edmond Hamilton. Some might consider that after Swan, Plastino was the definitive Silver Age Superman artist. The story has Adam Newman, a previously unknown character, visiting Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. He reveals to the mild mannered reporter that he and not Kent is Superman. The rest of the story revolves around Kent trying to prove that he's the Man of Steel. And failing miserably.

You know that Clark Kent is Superman. But gosh darn it until those last pages you really start to believe he's suffering from an incredible delusion. And then Hamilton reveals how the hero has been tricked. Sorry no spoilers.Just let me say it's an interesting story. One that doesn't rely on Superman being super. And you even get a cameo by Batman. As a Silver Age kid I for one miss the days When Superman and Batman were best friends. And shared their every secret.


Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Back in junoir high school I was introduced to " adult paperbacks " by way of Midwood Books. A neighbor's older sister had a collection of these books from the 60s and he would lend them to me.Of course any teenage boy would be attracted to these books with their titillating covers of sexy women in various stages of undress in sexual situations. But I imagined it was the back cover copy with their lurid come ons that got the readers to purchase the books.


Later I would find out the publisher of Midwood Books was Harry Shorten. Shorten had been a collegiate and professional football star who had become a writer. Working at MLJ Comics as an editor and writer he helped to create such Golden Age characters as the Shield and the Black Hood. The Shield who predated Captain America is regarded as the first patriotic comic book hero. He would also create the award winning syndicated single panel comic There Ought To Be A Law. The Midwood Publishing House was active for over a decade from 1957 to 1968.


But back to the books themselves. By no means were they pornographic. A guilty pleasure of mine was the television miniseries SCRUPLES starring Lindsay Wagner. I liked it so much I bought a copy of the novel by Judith Krantz that the series was based on. I'm here to tell you that book was closer to porn than anything I ever read from Midwood. The stories inside were titillating. But not dirty. They were lurid melodramas along the lines of Hollywood potboilers like The Chapman Report (1962) and The Carpetbaggers ( 1964 ). They also had a series of lesbian books. Strangely enough they seemed to be written for straight men.The covers of course featured two or more half - dressed women. And the stories usually ended with the heroine in love with a man. So maybe it wasn't so strange straight men were a huge part of the audience for these books. A lesbian friend once told me she and her girl friends stopped reading these books before they got to the last ten pages when the heroine was " converted ".


Reading these books as a teenager I imagined some of these books being made into Hollywood movies after being cleaned up a little. If it could be done with The Carpetbaggers it could be done with the Midwood Books. On the other hand they could  probably have been more easily turned into grind house flicks.

 Love the comic cover below? You can grab this image on a t-shirt, poster, mask, sticker, magnet, etc: https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/12959303-alligator-man?store_id=140005 


Tuesday, August 18, 2020



I was watching the Gordon Scott sinew & sandal flick Goliath Vs. The Vampires again the other day. Also known as Maciste Contra Vampiro ( 1961 ) this is my favorite of the former Tarzan's peplum pictures. The hilight of the flick is arguably the battle between Goliath / Maciste and the villain who has taken the hero's form. For years it was rumored that the evil Goliath in long shots was portrayed by Steve Reeves himself. Not the case. But an understandable mistake. The actor was in fact Giovanni Cianfriglia who had worked as Reeves' body double in a number of costumed melodramas beginning with the landmark Hercules ( 1957 ). He would also appear as an extra and stuntman in other genre flicks. Most notably in Hercules The Avenger ( 1965 ) where he portrayed the Earth giant Antaeus to Reg Park's Hercules.
Of course Cianfriglia was better known to genre movie fans as the star of the masked wrestler movies Superargo Vs. Diabolicus ( 1966 ) and Superargo And The Faceless Giants ( 1968 ). I got to thinking again about a masked wrestler movie starring Steve Reeves. I've always said that such a movie starring Reeves , Gordon Scott or Mark Forest would be a great deal different from the masked wrestler movies of Mexico ( Mexiluchahero movies ). Where the heroes of those flicks are never seen without their masks. Any movie starring Reeves would have the hero going maskless for over half the film.

So imagine if you will a masked wrestler movie starring Reeves where body double and stuntman Cianfriglia portrayed the hero with the mask on. Reeves would play the hero in romantic scenes and such. Also maybe in scenes in a gym showing him training to show off Mr. Universe's physique. Which was the reason you went to a Steve Reeves movie to begin with. " Something visual that's not to abysmal. " This would make such a move similar to the classic Republic serial The Masked Marvel ( 1943 ). In that chapterplay stuntman Tom Steele portrayed the hero. No one else would wear the mask. He also did stunts for other actors throughout the movie. But strangely enough he received no screen credit. Not even as a stuntman.