Friday, January 25, 2013

Pop culture roundup

Booksteve takes a look at Gene Colan's dramatic, full-page panels from the artist's mid-1960s run on Daredevil. Colan was awesome, one of my favorites.


From Retronaut: James Dean sticks up Ronald Reagan!


Via Boing Boing: "The Hobbit" as a Little Golden Book.


Rubber Soul -- uncropped! This pic of the Beatles from their famed 1965 album shoot turned up on the Web this past week.


Vintage DC Comics house ad: Golden Age World's Finest and Adventure Comics

Thursday, January 24, 2013

BBC launches 50 Years of Doctor Who site

2013 marks the 50th year of Doctor Who on television, and the BBC is taking note with a new website charting the character's history and adventures.

Features include profiles of all 11 generations of the Doctor, his companions and his foes. Check it out.

Hear Paul McCartney's rare demo for Peter and Gordon's "A World Without Love"

Paul McCartney gave a few hit singles away to Peter and Gordon in the early 1960s. His girlfriend, Jane Asher, was Peter's sister. And Macca lived with the Asher family in London before getting his own place near Abbey Road Studios.

Recently, Peter Asher has been doing some live appearances and has played this long lost demo, by Paul, for "A World Without Love," a tune the Beatles passed up, but which ended up being a major hit, nevertheless.

It's short, but a big deal, as the recording is one of few Beatles-related songs that hasn't surfaced previously on bootlegs.

Have a listen:

Pop stuff: What I'm watching, reading, hearing, etc.

Tarzan Archives: The Russ Manning Years Volume 1

The golden age of comics reprints keeps giving: I'm halfway through this delightful and nicely produced collection of Manning's excellent Tarzan comics work for Gold Key.  Published between 1965 and 1967, the stories here are all adapted from Edgar Rice Burroughs' first seven Tarzan novels. The approach is quite faithful, although the storylines are quite condensed from the prose versions.

Manning's Tarzan is noticeably tamer than those of Joe Kubert or John Buscema or even Hal Foster. These stories stem from a very mannered era of comics, and the ape man has more in common visually with Curt Swan's Superman than some of the more savage depictions other artists. Even so, I LOVE Manning's art. His line so crisp and clean -- he was really a perfect draftsman. Everything is so well-rendered from jungle nights and desert island beaches to English manors and trains and ships and lost cities of gold. Then there are all the animals and supporting cast and Tarzan's form in action. The Tarzan mythos provides a fertile playground for versatile and talented artists.

The graphic storytelling and flow of action is suburb. Yes, it's very much of its time. But, as with Carl Barks, comic book storytelling doesn't get much better than this, and the quality stands up to time. It's easy to see why so many pros, such as Sergio Aragones who penned the introduction to this volume, are big Manning fans.

There's more than 250 pages of glorious comics here. If you love comic books and/or Tarzan, it's a treasure. Looking forward to seeing more, including Manning's work on Gold Key's Korak: Son of Tarzan, which will be collected in another volume from Dark Horse this spring. IDW has announced plans to publish collections of Manning's Tarzan newspaper strips, too.

Once Upon A Time
We streamed this 1944 Cary Grant film for Family Movie Night last weekend and it's an odd one.

Here's the synopsis: Grant, a wheeler-dealer who runs a Broadway theater, is down on his luck after one too many bombs. He's on the verge of selling his joint when he's accosted by a couple of kids running their own hustle out on the sidewalk: They have a caterpillar that dances. To one tune only: "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," which the critter's owner, Pinky, plays on harmonica. Grant's character thinks he can make some money off this novelty, although everyone around him, including Pinky's protective older sister, played by Janet Blair, thinks he's crazy.

I think maybe the scriptwriters and producers were crazy, but this was a fun film to watch if just for the fact that you can't figure out how it got made.  Outside the whacky plot, it does have some nice moments and fine performances, and I always enjoy seeing Cary Grant. There's also a cool cameo by Walt Disney, who takes an interest in maybe doing a picture featuring the dancing creature. Disney fans will want to check it out for that. William DeMarest (Uncle Charlie from "My Three Sons") also turns up.

Vintage DC Comics house ad: Superman

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show Facebook and Twitter sites launch

The Joss Whedon-produced TV series based on Marvel Comics' S.H.I.E.L.D. is now in production and Facebook and Twitter sites were launched this week to promote it.

The series will feature Clark Gregg, reprising his fan-favorite role as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, along with newcomers Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Gemma Simmons and Iain De Caestecker Agent Leo Fitz.

It's set to air on ABC sometime next season.

Doctor Who back March 30!

"Doctor Who" returns to BBC America March 30.

Here's some info from the BBC:
The Doctor is back in a fantastic adventure written by the show’s lead writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat. The episode - the first in a run of 8 - is directed by Colm McCarthy whose previous credits include Hustle, Spooks and Endeavour.

Later adventures in the run include episodes written by Mark Gatiss (Victory of the Daleks, Night Terrors) and Neil Gaiman.

And here's a teaser:


BBC Radio this week: Stream sci-fi, comedy, drama

Click the links to hear the following programs.

Doctor Who: To the Death. The Time Lord calls on friends, family and the Meddling Monk to help overthrow the Daleks.

Ghost Stories of E Nesbit. A collection of spooky tales.

The Goon Show. Downing Street is keen on atom-free rubbish in case of radiation, but so are the Russians.

Ian Fleming: Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. Ian Fleming's magical tale of a car saved from the scrapyard that takes the Pott family on a fantastic adventure. Stars Imogen Stubbs.

Michael Palin's Diaries: The Python Years.  Recalling the Python team's success in America and the start of their own solo projects.

Modesty Blaise: A Taste of Death.  Peter O'Donnell's hero takes on a mission involving a young girl with ESP, a desert location and a villain intent on murder.

Patricia Highsmith: The Cry of the Owl. Recently divorced Robert Forester is attracted to a stranger in Pennsylvania.

Bradbury 13: The Man. Captain Hart is upset with his welcome when he lands on a planet.

Vintage DC Comics house ad: Superman and Teen Titans

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

IDW to collect Russ Manning Tarzan comic strips

Oooh, this is good news! IDW Publishing is teasing a new series of books collecting Russ Manning's run on the Tarzan newspaper strip. The first volume will be out in May.

I'm reading Dark Horse's new collection of Manning's Tarzan comics for Gold Key (so great!) right now. I'll need this one, too!

BBC America to air vintage Doctor Who serials

In celebration of the Time Lord's 50th anniversary, BBC America is reminding fans that "Doctor Who" existed for many years before his most-recent revival.

The network is celebrating the Doctor's past by airing a classic Doctor Who storyline each month as part of series titled "The Doctor's Revisited." It launches this Sunday with a broadcast of the 1964 adventure "The Aztecs," starring first Doctor William Hartnell.

New comics collections Jan. 23, 2013: Eerie Archives 12; Batman: The Dark Knight Archives 8; Doctor Strange Masterworks TP 2; Golden Age of DC Comics; Horror Comics in Black and White

Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Eerie Archives Volume 12

Batman: The Dark Knight Archives Vol. 8

Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange - Volume 2

The Golden Age of DC Comics

Horror Comics in Black and White: A History and Catalog, 1964-2004

Vintage Captain Marvel fan club materials