Monday, January 30, 2012

Captain's Theatre: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN "From Beyond the Grave"

Art by John Romita Sr
LP records adapting comic strip and comic book characters into audio adventures date back to the 1940s.
The heyday was during the 1960s when both brand-new adventures (often in stereo) and re-presentations of classic radio dramas competed for shelf space in record stores.
Art by John Romita Sr
But this album, from 1972, was a whole new approach to the genre...a superhero musical, loaded with genre-related talent!
Ron Dante, the voice and composer behind The Archies (remember "Sugar, Sugar"?), and his band performed the album's music as "The WebSpinners".
Peter Parker/Spider-Man was voiced by a young up-and-comer named Rene Auberjonois who's appeared as several different characters in the Star Trek universe, most notably as Odo on Deep Space Nine and voiced Dessad on both the Super Friends and Justice League animated series!
Kingpin was played by Thayer David, known to genre fans as the villainous Arne Saknussemm in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), multiple evil roles on the gothic soap Dark Shadows. and the blackmailing villain in the pilot for the live-action Amazing Spider-Man tv series!
The script and music were penned by Stephen Lemberg, who not only did this album, but the Fantastic Four dramatic radio show and the infamous A MARVEL-ous Evening with Stan Lee at Carnegie Hall! (Nobody's perfect.)

Here's the album's gatefold interior, featuring the art used in the videos above...
Is that kool, or what?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Captain's Theatre: MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. "Bat Cave Affair"

As we mentioned yesterday, here's a classic example of 1960s "camp" featuring Martin Landau doing a really bad Bela Lugosi imitation as THRUSH Agent Count Zark. in "The Bat Cave Affair".

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Captain's Library: MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. "Brain Drain Affair" Conclusion

...actually, I'll let the ACT II splash page synopsis of this story from Man from U.N.C.L.E. #14 (1967) tell the tale...
Story probably by Dick Wood (who wrote most of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. comics), pencils definitely by Mike Sekowsky, inks probably by Mike Peppe.

As you can see, things have taken a decidedly campy turn since issue #1.
The tv show itself had gone camp due to the astounding success of the Batman tv series and most other fantasy/sci-fi shows also went "over-the-top", in some cases (the Irwin Allen shows Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space in particular), becoming almost parodies of themselves.
You'll see an example of this...tomorrow!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Captain's Library: MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. "Brain Drain Affair" Part 1

During it's run on NBC, Man from U.N.C.L.E. got progressively campier...
...due to the ratings success of the legendarily-campy Batman tv series.
Unfortunately, the comics followed suit, as you can see from issue #14 (1967)...
Will "King Brain" help THRUSH achieve World Domination?
Can Napoleon and Illya stop this insidious plot or will they be "brain-drained"?
When will we stop asking such inane questions?
Tune in tomorrow for the amazing answers to at least two out of three questions!

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featuring Jet Dream & Her StuntGirl CounterSpies, and other retro-kool '60s characters!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Captain's Library: HOT WHEELS "Wipe-Out at LeMans" Conclusion

We Have Already Seen...
Art by Alex Toth and Dick Giordano
Flashback...10 years ago...LeMans...7 year-old Jack Wheeler witnesses his father Mike's near-fatal crash, which ends the racer's career.
But, Mike's indomitable will and knowledge of autos enables him to set up his own business building and reparing high-end sports cars.
Jack,, now 17, shares his father's love of cars and racing, and wants to eventually race professionally.
Unfortunately, Dexter Carter, son of Metro City's richest resident, and his cronies have run roughshod over the local streets, forcing citizens to demand revoking the licenses of drivers under 21!
To forestall such Draconian action, Jack forms the Hot Wheels club to promote safe driving both on the streets and at local drag meets...
Story by Joe Gill.
Art by Alex Toth and Dick Giordano.
In the late 1960s, groups including Action for Children's Television protested against violence in Saturday morning programming.
The networks, bowing to the pressure, cancelled all their animated action-adventure series.
New shows were pitched with much less "violence", and with heavy-handed moralistic messages attached to the end of the episodes. (Play fair! Racism is bad! Don't steal! etc.)
One of those shows was Pantomine Pictures' Hot Wheels.
Based on the die-cast auto toys from Mattel, the show, along with studiomate Sky Hawks featured character design work by Alex Toth.
We'll go into greater detail about the show when we present issue #2 in a few weeks!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Captain's Library: HOT WHEELS "Wipe-Out at LeMans" Part 1

The very first comic book derived from an animated tv series based on a toy line...
...was 1970's Hot Wheels by Joe Gill and Alex Toth...and it was damned good!
What does Dex have in mind?
Be here tomorrow!
Same Hot Time!
Same Hot Blog Feed!

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