Saturday, November 22, 2014

1983 Marvel Super Heroes Fantasy Jigsaw Puzzle

Clipped from  Marvel 1980's: Put out by Western Publishing Company (Whitman) in 1983, this puzzle features 300 extra large, fully interlocking pieces. It's roughly 23"x35" in size and stars over 130 Marvel characters in "A Marvel Comics Family Portrait". Art by Paty Cockrum!
"No, it is not Dave [Cockrum]'s, although it does have some of Dave's characters in it. It is a montage of characters that I put together for, I believe, a jigsaw puzzle. that was one of the things I did at marvel...early merchandising art, with poses gleaned from the books, usually, although some art was done specifically for some projects. But I put this one together... and may have even drawn it. All I remember is that I had to fit in all these characters, taking into consideration all the costume colors and such to give us a decent jigsaw puzzle...LOLsheesh! they told me which heroes they wanted and I forget how many but i believe it was over a hundred! LOL" - Paty Cockrum
Dork Note: I use to have this puzzle, but its been lost to time!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Continent of Myrra home of the Nightmaster!

First Appearance: Showcase #82 - 1969

Clipped from Fanzig by John wells : The circumstances that would transform Jim Rook into the Nightmaster began nearly a millennium before his birth in the other-dimensional land of Myrra. The world was full of strange sights, from the benevolent Zelks (grasshopper-like steeds that the natives rode: SHOWCASE # 82) to Hackies (animated suits of armor "filled with vile souls of dead Warlocks": # 83) to Smoke Spiders (giant arachnids that materialized in unlimited numbers from magic vapors: # 84) to Arivegs (monstrous flying plants that "devour anything that falls within their grasp: # 84).

In a kingdom of Myrra, a monarch had once commanded the court magician, the blue-skinned Farben, to provide two renowned warriors with weapons that they would use in defense of the realm. The blue-fleshed barbarian Brom was given the enchanted Mace of Mists. The pink-skinned Nacht, a goateed man clad in a blue hood, blue body suit and a red cape, was bequeathed with the Sword of Night. Corrupted by power, Brom and Farben conspired to murder their sovereign and the loyal Nacht. The two warriors fought "for a full day" but ultimately the Sword of Night was victorious. Before Nacht could react, Farben cast a spell to exile the hero to "a separate spiritual plane" that overlapped with Myrra -- Earth. The Sword of Night was stuck fast, Excalibur-like, in a stone column in the royal chamber. With the disappearance of Nacht, the balance of power shifted in the favor of Brom and his descendants. The faction known as the Warlocks reserved a special fate for the kingdom that their patriarch had coveted. Its "magnificent buildings crumbled" and its "people shriveled under the mystic onslaught," reduced to short, withered blue-skinned creatures.On Earth, Nacht, using his family name of Roke (inferred from SHOWCASE # 83 & 84), had no choice but to adapt to the strange new world of 10th Century Earth. He took a mate and began a family that would extend for centuries to come. His legacy would ultimately fall on the shoulders of a child born in 1942, a kid from the slums of New York City named Jim Rook.

After beating three hecklers into semi-consciousness ("You think because I don't look like a bank manager I'm weak -- because, I favor peace, I'm a coward … fair prey for bullies?"), Jim was pulled away by Janet. Walking through the streets of lower Manhattan, Jim spotted a store called Oblivion, Inc. and, convinced that a vacant lot was supposed to be on the spot, felt compelled to try the door. He and Janet immediately realized that they'd made a mistake. The door locked behind them, the temperature began to plummet, and a spiral of golden energy tore them away to the land of Myrra. With Janet nowhere in sight, Jim was brought before the wizened King Zolto. The monarch admitted that he'd taken advantage of a fracture in the barrier that had long separated Earth and Myrra and summoned a descendant of Nacht before the opportunity passed. Jim kept his cool but insisted that he and the missing Janet be sent home at once. The conversation was disrupted by the humming of the Sword of Night, still sheathed in the pillar. The song of the sword was a warning of approaching Warlocks and Zolto pleaded with Jim to release the blade. Despite Rook's insistence that "from swords I know zero," Zolto assured him that "the weapon will guide your arm." As predicted, the heir to Nacht could draw the weapon and he instantly felt "some sort of weird strength surging through my arm -- through my whole body. The blade seems ALIVE … to KNOW what it wants to do. I didn't even see that Warlock bolt coming. The sword pulled my hand to parry. Since this obviously isn't my show -- I'll follow the sword's lead -- and hope for the best!" It was a strange scene, the Earthman with the turtleneck, Nehru jacket, and striped pants fighting otherworldly magicians in green robes. Though Zolto had to bail out his young defender in the end, he pronounced Jim Rook's first battle a success. 
"I feel like a character from Howard or Tolkein. Pretty soon, though, I'm gonna wake up and find this is a spaced-out dream. And I'm gonna swear off reading sword-and-sorcery sagas!" -- Jim Rook, 1969 (SHOWCASE # 82).

Rob's Room: Sesame Street Watercolors by Jack Davis

Three original watercolor paintings by Jack Davis. These were used as Sherlock Hemlock’s Hidden Answer jigsaw puzzles from Educational Toys, Inc., 1971.  The first one has hidden S’s, the second has hidden shapes, and the third hidden numbers. (Via Raiders of the Lost tumblr)
Can you find all the hidden messages... err... hidden items, boys & girls?

Judge Dredd's Lawmaster

Judge Dredd's Lawmaster: It is a type of futuristic, heavy-duty motorcycle. It is regulated by a computer with limited artificial intelligence. It has the ability to drive itself to any location on "automatic" as well as having automatic signal indicators and voice recognition (as long as the voice circuits are on). It has twin machine guns ("bike cannon"), a laser, and can fire stun gas grenades. It also has a turbo-boost function which enables it to jump over long distances or to great heights. It can respond to verbal commands and drive itself. It superseded the obsolete Lawranger in the 21st century. In the comics lawmaster are fitted with robot brains so that if necessary they can work on their own.

Fun Fact:  In the 1995 Judge Dredd movie, an exact replica of the comic Lawmaster was made, but there was only one problem. It was too bulky to steer. So, in the 2012 Dredd movie, the filmmakers took some liberties with the Lawmaster to make it more ergonomic. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Welcome Back, Carter

Cockrum apparently did a lot of character design work before the first issue was published, as you can see in this editorial.  He designed John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkus, and many other elements of Barsoom.  Of course, this being Marvel, the title of the editorial has to reference something in pop culture: Welcome Back Carter references Gabe Kaplan’s TV show, Welcome Back, Kotter!

Rob's Room: Melting Toht Candle

Melting Toht Candle.  Available for purchase at
Thank you for making this!

Rob's Room: Batman: Year One by Jock

Batman: Year One (Reg) / Batman: Year One (Variant) by Jock

Rob's Room: "Select Your Hero": Avengers Series by Christopher Lee

"Select Your Hero": Avengers Series by Christopher Lee (via Xombie Dirge)
Check out his "Marvel Good Guys" from this same series here!

The 1981 Disney Movie: Condorman

Origin: Condorman is a 1981 American adventure/comedy superhero film from Walt Disney Productions starring Michael Crawford, Barbara Carrera and Oliver Reed. Inspired by Robert Sheckley's The Game of X, the movie follows comic book illustrator Woodrow Wilkins' attempts to assist in the defection of a female Soviet KGB agent.

Review: The film was heavily panned by critics, and has retrospectively scored an approval rating of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. On their television show At the Movies, critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert featured the film in their round-up of the year's worst films, pointing out the less-than-special effects such as the visible harness and cable used to suspend Condorman in the air and the obvious bluescreen effect. On the other hand, John Corry of The New York Times wrote a favorable review of the film, calling it "painless and chaste, and it has a lot of beautiful scenery and beautiful clothes. There are worse things to watch while you eat popcorn."

Comic book Adaptation: A comic book adaptation of Condorman was published by Whitman Comics at the time of the film's release. A notable change in the illustrations was that Russ, the CIA boss, became an African-American. An original comic adventure sequel was also published, taking place in the U.S. itself. Woody is engaged to Natalia, and his Condorman machines are being built by a toy company — a cover for a CIA unit. Krokov and Morovich again appear, attempting to take Natalia back to the USSR by force, and Russ is again a black character.

Update: In October 2012 it was announced Disney was prepping a remake of Condorman with Robert Pattinson rumored to appear as the title character.

Fun Fact: Following Disney's acquisition of Marvel Comics in 2009, The Amazing Spider-Man editor Stephen Wacker lobbied to have Condorman brought into the Marvel Universe.

Fun Fact: In the Pixar short film Toy Story Toons: Small Fry, a Condorman toy (voiced by Bob Bergen) appears at a support group meeting for discarded kids' meal toys.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man "A Rockomic: From Beyond the Grave"

In 1972, Ron Dante recorded this album for Buddha records entitled 'Spiderman: A Rockomic', offering up infectious tunes like 'Goin' Crosstown' interspersed within a storyline. The album music was released under the name The Webspinners.

Clipped from Nothing But Comics: Although questions remain about how much permission Marvel Comics gave Icarus to record the album, it’s indisputable that Buddah Records was licensed by Marvel to release The Amazing Spider-Man:  From Beyond the Grave:  A Rockomic.  This unique hybrid of comic book and rock album featured wordless Spider-Man comic strips illustrated by legendary Spider-Man artist John Romita, Sr. that went along with the music on the vinyl LP.  The album’s lead singer is Ron Dante, who was also the lead singer of the fictional comics-inspired cartoon band The Archies.

Dork Note: Had this album when I was a kid!

Rob's Room: Batman, Green Arrow and The Question By Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz (1988)

Batman, Green Arrow and The Question By Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz (1988)
I remember this piece used to blow my mind...

Marvel Super Hero Metal Miniatures Set #1-3


Legionnaires' Fact File

1941: The Illustrated Story

Clipped from The PorPor Books Blog: After the great commercial and critical success of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, whiz-kid director Steven Spielberg could do no wrong by the Hollywood moguls, and thus Columbia and Universal Studios together handed over an estimated $30 million for him to make a comedy about a (true-life) Japanese attack on California in the early days of World War 2. Preceded by a massive marketing campaign, ‘1941’ was released during the 1979 Christmas season and while it failed to get much in the way of glowing reviews, it did do quite well at the box office, aided in no small part by the tremendous popularity of ‘Blues Brothers’ stars John Belushi, who played ‘Wild’ Bill Kelso, and Dan Aykroyd, who played Sgt. Frank Tree. Heavy Metal magazine released a graphic novel adaptation of the movie, ‘1941: The Illustrated Story’, by Stephen Bissette and Rick Veitch. The graphic novel is a strange collage of both original art, and advertising images and photographs from the early 40s. Thus one may see a black and white photo of popular 40s singer Kate Smith in one panel, and a distinctive illustration by Boris Artzybasheff in another. The depiction of the Japanese as buck-toothed subhumans was well in keeping with the tenor of the World War 2 era but, needless to say, is very politically incorrect by today's cultural standards. The plot is barely coherent and I won’t divulge it in any detail to avoid spoilers, but it’s sufficient to say that the entire comic – and by extension the movie script – relies heavily on the sort of crazed presentation pioneered by the early 'Mad' comic books of the 1950s. Readers looking for something different in terms of art, layout, and plot, as well as readers nostalgic for late 70’s – early 80’s comic art, might want to give this graphic novel a try.