Thursday, December 12, 2013

The clock striking "12" signals the appearance of both Santa and...

Created for radio in 1938, the patriotic aviator ran the Secret Squadron, what we today would call a "black ops" team, supported by the government, but functioning outside of cumbersome legalities in dealing with spies, saboteurs, and (after the war) criminals and interplanetary aliens!
Trivia note: the Secret Squadron originally used the code "SS" on their messages, decoders, and uniform patches, but changed it to "SQ" after World War II began to avoid reference to the notorious Nazi SS stormtroopers!
Captain Midnight replaced Little Orphan Annie as the flagship radio show for Ovaltine, carrying on the tradition of issuing mail-in collectible premiums in return for Ovaltine labels and jar seals, taking it to far greater levels than any other radio series in history! (The phrase "Captain Midnight Decoder" became synonymous with mail-in premiums.)
The show ran Monday thru Friday in 15-minute segments, with ongoing storylines running for several months at a time, ending each episode with a cliffhanger and a coded message which required a Captain Midnight Decoder to translate.
A series of Big Little Books, a newspaper comic strip, and two different comic book series quickly followed, as well as a 15-chapter movie serial.
The radio show ended with a bang in 1949, as Cap's archenemy Ivan Shark (an evil aviator) was killed in the final episode! Talk about "closure"!

Ovaltine revived Cap (but not Ivan Shark) in 1954 as a weekly tv series with a heavier science fiction emphasis.
The Captain was now a civilian adventurer operating out of a mountaintop base in the SouthWest US, battling criminals and the occasional Communist spy.
Though only 39 episodes were produced, the show reran continuously in syndication until the mid 1960s.
Trivia note: the syndicated version was retitled Jet Jackson: Flying Commando because Ovaltine owned the "Captain Midnight" trademark and didn't sponsor the reruns!
It became notorious for the fact that every time anyone (male, female or child) spoke the name "Captain Midnight", the new name "Jet Jackson" was dubbed over it by one middle-aged male actor! (Apparently, none of the original cast were available!)

Ovaltine continued to use "Captain Midnight" on advertising and occasional tie-in premiums until the late 1990s, when they finally abandoned the trademark.
Since then, he's only been around as part of old radio show collections on cd or mp3...until now!

Recently, both Moonstone Books and Dark Horse Comics revived Captain Midnight in NEW comics and prose stories!
Besides his own series, he's also part of a team of other Golden Age aviator-heroes called the Air Fighters!

Captain Midnight's already been part of our collection with six different vintage designs including five classic covers and his stylish logo on a variety of items including t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, messenger bags, and other tchochkes, for almost two years!
In addition, we now have both a Captain Midnight 2014 12-Month Calendar with a dozen dynamic classic comic covers, including the first issue of his 1940s title (featuring the Golden Age Captain Marvel welcoming him), AND an Aviators of the Golden Age of Comics 2014 12-Month Calendar which features Cap AND a number of other Air Fighters characters!
As unique Xmas gifts for collectors of pop culture kitch, you can't go wrong with one of these klassy and kool kollectibles as a stocking stuffer!
For something REALLY special, why not combine one of our Captain Midnight collectibles with one of Moonstone or Dark Horse's new Captain Midnight books (available at your local comic shop) as a gift set?

Our FREE Early Christmas Present to you: downloadable mp3s of the Captain Midnight radio show!
BONUS FREE Early Christmas Present: downloadable episode of the Captain Midnight tv show!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Captain's Library: THE SHADOW "Vampire Hall"

This story of The Shadow vs a vampire was so popular it was done three times...
...first as a Shadow pulp novel by Walter Gibson in 1942, then as the 1943 comic story you're about to read which combines elements of both the pulp and radio show versions of Lamont Cranston and his alter-ego...
...and to complete the cycle, this story was adapted into the September 1946 season opener of The Shadow radio show, entitled "Vampires Prowl at Night"!
(BTW, you can read the pulp novel "Vampire Murders" and the script for "Vampires Prowl at Night" in a recent reprint available HERE.
Unfortunately, there's no surviving recordings of the actual radio episode.)
This never-reprinted story from Shadow Comics V3#4 (1943) is written by Gibson and illustrated by Jack Binder.
The character of Varney Haldrew is named after Varney the Vampire, who was featured in the 1845 Gothic-horror story, Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood by James Malcolm Rymer.
"Varney" was a major influence on fictional vampires, including Dracula (1897), by Bram Stoker.
Many of the basic concepts about vampires including fangs, punctured necks, and hypnotic powers, originated from the popular Varney "penny dreadfuls" published from 1845 to 1847.
(Here's a LINK to Project: Gutenberg's page.)
We're hope you're enjoying our Countdown to Halloween 2013 contributions about tv/movie/radio-based comics featuring monsters (or in this case, someone pretending to be a monster)!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

BURKE'S LAW "Who Killed the Hollywood Hopefuls? The Fatal Attempt"

Before we begin, a brief primer on Hollywood makeup techniques...
...courtesy of writer Paul S Newman and artists Frank McLaughlin & Vince Colletta from the inside back cover of Burke's Law #3!
That's why it's b/w instead of color!
(BTW, You can read the previous chapters in this multi-part post of the book-length tale HERE, HERE, and HERE.)
Now, with that out of the way, let's continue...
...several Hollywood actors killed by what appeared to be classic movie monsters come to horrifying life!
Captain of Detectives Amos Burke and his aides traced the creatures back to Gerald Grant, the now-retired actor who first portrayed all of them, and discover their primary suspect has an unbreakable alibi...
Written by Paul S Newman and illustrated by penciler Frank McLaughlin and inkers Dick Giordano, Sal Trapani, and Vince Colletta, this never-reprinted tale from Dell's Burke's Law #3 (1965) followed the format of the TV show pretty closely, including the title character's continual reference to "Burke's Laws" to cryptically-explain his deductions.

We're kicking-off our Countdown to Halloween 2013 contributions with this multi-part post of the final issue of the Burke's Law comic featuring a horror movie theme.
Keep an eye on us this month as we present a number of rarely-seen TV/movie adaptation comics featuring monsters and other horror themes.

Monday, October 7, 2013

BURKE'S LAW "Who Killed the Hollywood Hopefuls?"

A TV series set in Los Angeles is bound to do stories about the entertainment industry...
...and, if it's a crime-oriented show, probably about the kind of evil that could only happen in a business that makes the unreal extremely real...
Captain Burke will clue us in, tomorrow, in Part 2, at our "brother" blog, Crime & Punishment!
Written by Paul S Newman and illustrated by penciler Frank McLaughlin and inkers Dick Giordano, Sal Trapani, and Vince Colletta, this book-length adventure from Dell's Burke's Law #3 (1965) folowed the format of the tv show pretty closely, down to the use of "Who Killed..." in the title that the show used for every episode's title.
While the show itself did several episodes about murders within the TV/movie industry, none of them contained sci-fi/fantasy/horror elements.

We're kicking-off our Countdown to Halloween 2013 contributions with this multi-part post of the final issue of the Burke's Law comic featuring a horror movie theme.
Keep an eye on us this month as we present a number of rarely-seen tv/movie adaptation comics featuring monsters and other horror themes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Captain's Library: CAPTAIN VIDEO "Island of Conquerors"

Our blog's namesake hero returns in a tale from his final issue...

...battling mechanized monsters who plot to take over the planet!
This story from Fawcett Comics' Captain Video #6 (1951) was penciled by George Evans and inked by Martin Thal.
You'll note that the Captain and Video Ranger now look like actors Al Hodge and Don Hastings, who played them on TV, instead of the generic "handsome hero" look of issues 1-4. 
Unlike some of the more fantastic stories the comic produced, this one could have been done as a tv production, especially with the "human-looking" robots!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Captain's Library: SPACE PATROL "Space Pirates"

Continuing the short-lived cosmic comic adventures of Buzz Corry...
...with the final tale from Ziff-Davis' Space Patrol #1 (1952)!
Though the art is clearly Bernie Krigstein, there's debate as to whether the writer is Paul S Newman or Phillip Evans.

One of the cool aspects of these comic book versions of 1950s radio/tv series is that they weren't limited by budget restrictions as the actual shows were.
Whatever the author's mind could conceive, the illustrators could deliver without having to worry about plywood sets or props made out of kitchen utensils!

There's more Space Patrol excitement to come as we present every tale from its' two-issue run!
Watch for it!