Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout Bonanza (Yee-haw!)

Despite the overwhelming tide of American voices speaking out against the monstrous economic bailout of big box Wall street financiers, and the heroic efforts of our Congress that killed the $700 billion freebie yesterday, odds are that some form of thievery will ultimately be foisted on us. Here from Cagle is a terrific cartoon that almost sums the whole mess up (It would be more appropriate if Pres. Dubya was holding six-guns "wild west-style" during his planned eleventh hour robbery of America!):

Heroes: "One of us, One of Them"

Fans of this increasingly dense series were treated to a smorgasbord of plot lines that (we are promised) will coincide at some point, but unlike genre series of decades past where an over-riding premise allowed writers to produce scripts that utilized the available characters to tell engaging stories, Heroes seems to have fallen victim to an overblown lack of direction that has to tie in every bit of minutia to an "overall" paranoid conspiracy - - - like every other genre show these days.

Don't think so? Here is a break down of last nights episode (spoilers ahead) ....

Sylar is suddenly a heretofore unknown "Petrelli" sibling? Hiro & Ando, who are trying to prevent super-speedster Daphne from acquiring the other half of Kaito Nakamura’s secret formula, stand around as if they’ve got all the time in the world (and end up becoming victims of the Haitian)? Nathan’s mysteriously manifested new age conversion to Christianity, post-assassination attempt personality crisis (or more manipulation courtesy of the ghostly Mr. Linderman)? Future-Peter floundering around the edges of what went wrong with his grand time-altering scheme, finally frees Current-Peter from his psychic prison inside escaped Level 5 bad ass, Jesse (and in the process, leaves HRG somewhat in the lurch for new partner-Sylar to rescue)? Claire snubs her adoptive-mother, then asks for "hero-training" from birth-mother Meredith (who then turns up the heat on her daughter, leeching away the breathable oxygen; yet somehow Meredith is able to breath just fine within the closed confines of the cargo container)? Matt Parkman goes on a sub-Saharan, African spirit walk with deceased former hero, Isaac (NO; just a mysterious new guy who has Isaac’s exact-same-future-painting-powers and this guru can mix up a convenient batch of local herbs to grant Officer Parkman a similar trance-induced-walk-on-the-wild-side)? Nikki-Jessica IS really dead, and Tracy Strauss is her, what, clone (possibly one of many; sheesh)? This volume of "Heroes", called ‘Villains’, has given us supposedly powerful new threats in the form of fear-mongering Knox and, but wait, they just wiped out the German AND Jesse in one fell swoop, shot the bald redneck Flint and then quickly tossed his fire-wielding ass back into the Prima-Tech pokey …. (So, maybe these guys are'nt so threatening after all)? And Angela Petrelli a villain? NO. She’s just a bitch.

I don't believe that creator Tim Kring really has any clear idea of where this series is headed. He's just spinning the wheel and playing around with a general idea, that is already repeating beats from the previous two seasons. Not a good sign of things to come!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"B is for bulls&*t" admits Brian Michael Bendis

This weekend Newsarama is running their usual convention coverage of the currently-in-progress Baltimore Comics Convention, so fans of disinformation can surf on over to their website for endless dolphin waxing sessions courtesy of their high-as-a-kite reporters and the gang of trolls who (sadly) still remain in charge at the former House of Ideas.

The quote above by writer Bendis, is one of the leading reasons why Marvel Comics falls so far off the standard that the venerable company set way back in the 1960's as they were reinventing comics for a new generation.

For those of you who struggle with media disinformation, I will strip away the veneer of pablum that has been ladled on so thickly in the Marvel panel in Baltimore and - - - using only direct verbiage and quotes from the article - - - reveal the stunning truth that's embedded within. Prepare to be shocked!

The Newsarama reporter asks, 'How do other writers feel about Bendis controlling so much in the Marvel Universe?' The responder equates it to a "giant climax" and "it spills out into all the other major Marvel books". Yuck!

Bendis further clarifies that, 'I'm a big fan of fractured storytelling', so apparently readers will be on the receiving end of more:

1 - Bendis setting up something

2 - Bendis continuing and relaunching something else

3 - and Bendis thinking this will continue for the foreseeable future

Ultimately, the structure of the Marvel Universe is collapsing, so fans will be pummeled with information, but it won't be an event as much as an overall tone. [At this point, I went away in disgust and lost even more interest in the goings on at Nu-Marvel.]


Thank god for back issues!

In Memorium: Paul Newman

"You must choose a road for yourself" is a quote from Lone Wolf and Cub the Japanese graphic novel that inspired Max Allan Collins to write his own graphic novel, Road to Perdition (later adapted by director Sam Mendes for the 2002 film of the same name, starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman as crime boss John Rooney).

Paul Newman has passed away at the age of 83 from cancer. His many wonderful movie roles are largely iconic and can't be adequately summed up by yours truly. He is the very essence of classic and will not be easily replaced on motion picture screens.

I thought that showing a photo from his appearance in the comic book inspired Road To Perdition, would be a nice way for the Catacombs to say goodbye to one of our greatest actors and humanitarians. He will be missed!

Condolences go out to his family, friends and uncounted masses of fans.

Mazie in "Look Who's Talkin"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bonus Ads

I passed a kidney stone yesterday and was advised after the scan that at least a couple more small nuggets remain "in the queue" for some fun down-the-road agony, so to lighten the mood from that excruciatingly painful experience, here is (courtesy of THOIA) another Harvey Comics tale from Mazie #14 (Feb. 1955); plus an ad for a Janie Pigtails doll, a Howdy Doody TV Set and a cute promo for more Mazie-style fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heroes; Season 3 begins .... (The Second Coming/The Butterfly Effect)

Season 3 of NBC's popular genre series, Heroes, premiered last night with a two hour opener. Volume III: Villains - 'The Second Coming' kicked off mere moments after shots rang out, as the shocking identity of Nathan's assassin and the reasons why the Texas press conference had to be cut short are revealed -- immediately throwing Peter and Matt into unexpected, uncharted territory. With his powers partially restored, Sylar decides a visit to Claire could give him a boost. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Hiro and Ando are charged with safeguarding a family secret that could split the planet apart, and discover that the path to a grim future starts with shady speedster, Daphne (guest star Brea Grant). In New York City, thanks to Maya, Suresh makes a startling breakthrough that could change the world -- or just destroy his. And who is Tracy Strauss? George Takei (Star Trek), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5) also guest star.

And in the second hour - 'The Butterfly Effect', Angela Petrelli confronts her much-changed son, Peter, as the bursts of violence around them only hint at the catastrophes to come. First, Sylar declares war on the Company by attacking their main facility, and finds even more than he bargained for on Level 5. During a devastating battle with Elle (guest star Kristen Bell), a dozen savage criminals -- all with terrible abilities -- escape. Meanwhile, Claire discovers something new and unexpected about her abilities. Determined to reclaim his family's terrible secret, Hiro and Ando track Daphne to Paris. After a fateful night, Suresh is thrilled to find his research, his life and his relationship with Maya evolving in leaps and bounds. Stuck in unfamiliar territory, Matt finds a guide (guest star Ntare Mwine) to help him. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day), Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5), and William Katt (The Greatest American Hero) also guest star.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Flat-Top in "Sno Foolin" (Harvey Comics)

Karswell (The Horrors Of It All) has provided me with a couple more funny stories from the Harvey Comics files (and his endless supply of non-horror stuff). This tale is from Flat-Top #2 dates February 1954. Read, laugh, and smoke 'em if ya' got 'em.

Fearless Fosdick (Courtesy of THOIA)

Courtesy of my pal Karswell's blog, here are two excellent Al Capp strips featuring the intrepid Fearless Fosdick. These gems were published by Harvey Comics in the 1954 issue of Flat-Top #2. Plus two ads that promote other related Harvey Comics titles, like Mazie. Enjoy!
Karswell has also posted a comment that corrects my mistaken impression that both Al Capp Fosdick shorts originated in this issue. One is from another issue of Stevie.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Election Cycle: (Finale!) Dueling VP's

Here are two politically minded editorial cartoon comments on the chosen Vice Presidential picks to close out my 'Election Cycle' digression this week.
Who's your favorite?

"Gal" Friday! SHE-PIRATES!!!!

A quick post today to lure the unwary over to Karswell's blog for a nice pirate tale. And Pappy's blog for more of the same. And Mr. Door Tree's blog for .... well, you get the picture. Avast ye hearty's!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Hump Day" Honey! Kelly Monaco

32 year old actress and model Kelly Monaco currently appears on the daytime soap opera, General Hospital, but don't hold that against her, she was also the Season 1 winner of Dancing With the Stars (and even earlier) posed as one of Hugh Hefner's Playmates of the Month (April 1997).

My brother turned me onto her recently, and now that the engines revving, I'm wondering if Kelly is up for something downright seductive, Catacombs-style.

One can hope!

The Election Cycle

Only 50 days remain until we get to vote on who gets to become the new President of the United States. Barack Obama or John McCain? Who deserves it? Neither?

I come down on the side of neither of the above (sniff; Ron Paul), but even though Sarah Palin was intriguing for a short while, I believe the GOP has effectively offered up just another glorified shell game in the delectable form of the current Governor of Alaska. And sorry, DNC-O-philes, Joe Biden is a lying creep.

Here is a political cartoon at the expense of Sen. McCain. And don't worry, we'll hit Brother Obama on the next pass.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1970's Flashback: The Gunhawks

Kid Cassidy and Reno Jones debuted as The Gunhawks in 1972. Cassidy's family owned a plantation in the antebellum south and Jones was a black employee of the family who was also friends with the Kid. both fought for the Confederate States of America against the Union Army because Union soldiers had kidnapped Reno's lover, Rachel. After the Civil War ended, both continued to search for Rachel as wandering gunmen.

In issue #6, Kid Cassidy was murdered and Reno Jones was mistakenly blamed for the crime. With the next (and final) issue, the series was retitled Reno Jones, Gunhawk and Reno became the second black hero to headline his own Marvel Comics series (after the Black Panther who had taken over as the star of Jungle Comics).

The Gunhawks then pretty much fell into obscurity although they have been revived for a retconned mini-series in recent years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oops, another forgotten anniversary (and it's my own)!

I began reminiscing about the launch of this blog over the weekend and after checking, realized that I had forgotten my own anniversary last month. The Comic Book Catacombs began its storied run on August 1, 2007.

I want to take this belated opportunity to thank those of you who have posted comments here or simply stopped by to check out the shenanigans from time-to-time.

I especially appreciate Karswell from 'The Horrors Of It All' and Pappy from "Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine' for sharing their bounty with me, so that I can pass it along to all of you outside the Catacombs.

I would mention all of the spiffy stuff that is coming up on this blog, but if you haven't figured it out by now, then let me burst your balloon and just state outright that I typically fly from the cuff .... so one never knows what may be highlighted from one day to the next.

So, we will just have to wait and see.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Remember the "New" Teen Titans: Kid Flash

It's been a month since my special look back at the classic 1980's Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans series left off, so sorry for the delay, and here we go again with a look back at the young hero who ultimately became the third scarlet speedster to be called the Flash.

Wally West is the nephew of Iris West (and therefore, Barry Allen's nephew by marriage), he was first introduced in The Flash vol. 1, #110 (1959). When Wally was about ten years old, he visited the Central City police laboratory where Barry Allen worked, and the freak accident that originally gave Allen his powers repeated itself, bathing Wally in electrically-charged chemicals. Suddenly possessing the same powers as The Flash, West donned a smaller version of Barry's Flash outfit and became the young crime-fighter known as Kid Flash.

Wally soon adopted a slightly different, yellow-and-red outfit with his hair exposed, and became a founding member of the original Teen Titans, along with fellow sidekicks Robin and Aqualad. Always something of a straight-shooter from rural America, Kid Flash sometimes felt out of place alongside more flamboyant heroes such as Speedy and Wonder Girl.
As a young adult, West was present when the Titans reconstituted as the New Teen Titans, but he eventually discovered that his powers were failing and even damaging his body. He retired from crime-fighting until a cure could be found for his condition. However, Wally was called into action again by the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, in which his uncle Barry Allen had vanished. As a side effect of the energies he was exposed to during that adventure, West's powers stabilized. However, he could no longer run at the same extraordinary speeds as his uncle. Wally’s powers were limited to the speed of sound and he had to eat vast quantities of food to maintain his metabolism. He chose to retire his Kid Flash identity and adopted the costume and name of the Flash to honor his uncle and maintain their heroic legacy. He did, however, make his identity public knowledge in order to keep from replacing Barry Allen in the minds of the public. This made him the first sidekick to actually take on the name (and role) of his mentor.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Gal" Friday! Anna Torv

Anna Torv stars on creator J.J. Abrams newly debuted Fox TV series, Fringe, as FBI agent Olivia Dunham. The premise of the series has Agent Dunham involving a crackpot-genius scientist played by John Noble (Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) and his estranged son, played by Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek). The three investigate peculiar events involving "fringe" science, such as mind control, teleportation, other dimensions, etc. Sorta X-Files, but with a twist, the premiere episode was topnotch and will be repeated this coming Sunday night (along with a spiffy preview of the upcoming motion picture remake of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'; starring Keanu Reeves).

For genre fans who will have to wait until 2009 to see further episodes of Lost and Battlestar: Galactica, Fringe might just fill the void. Check it out!

"Gal" Friday (Bonus)! Anonymous "Marvel"

These are cellphone pics of one of my favorite Dragoncon cuties who was strolling around the recent show in Atlanta, GA as 1970's Marvel comics icon, Ms. Marvel. Trust me, the photos don't really do the young lady justice, she looked the part and was cute as all get out. I decided not to blow the images up, because of the loss of picture quality, but hopefully you will get a nice sense of her assets from the pics.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1970's Flashback: The Punisher

The Punisher was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita and Ross Andru; for his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #129 (Feb. 1974).

The Punisher is a vigilante who considers killing, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture to be acceptable crime-fighting tactics. Driven by the deaths of his family, who were killed by the mob when they witnessed a gangland execution in New York city, Frank Castle waged a one-man war on the mob and criminals in general using all manner of weaponry. A Vietnam War veteran, Castle is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, hand-to-hand combat techniques and a variety of weapons.

The Punisher's brutal nature and willingness to kill made him a novel character in mainstream comic books during the 1970's.

Stevie in "Club Women" (Harvey comics)

Courtesy of my pal Karswell and his "The Horrors Of It All" blog, here is a fun story from the January 1954 issue of Stevie Vol. 1 #5 which was published by Harvey Comics. Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Spider-Man Returns

Actor Tobey Maguire will once again team up with director Sam Raimi for the fourth and fifth installments of the hugely successful "Spider-Man" franchise, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In a cost cutting effort, Columbia plans to shoot the films back-to-back starting in fall 2009. "Spider-Man" is the studio's most successful movie franchise, with the first three films grossing $2.5 billion worldwide.

Producer Laura Ziskin would like to aim for a May 2011 release for "Spider-Man 4," which would be nine years after the original movie's debut.

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Gal" Friday! Mariska Hargitay

Since 1999, Mariska (pronounced = Ma-rish-ka) Hargitay has portrayed Det. Olivia Benson, the female lead in the drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Hargitay is the daughter of 1950's buxom, blond bombshell actress, Jayne Mansfield and former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay.

She has earned Emmy, Golden Globe and Prism Awards for her work on the popular series and been nominated multiple times for these and other awards.

Plus, she is a talented mega-hottie, even after having breast reduction surgery some years ago.

Sniff! (Tears running ...)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Captain Gallant and His Mini-Sub (Four Favorites #8; Ace)

Captain Gallant and His Mini-Sub (cont.)

Four Favorites was a golden age comics series that ran for 32 issues from September, 1941 through December, 1947. It was published by Ace Publications. Upon cancellation the magazine continued as Crime Must Pay the Penalty for one issue #33, then as Four Teeners for issue 34. Though the series originally started out as a super-hero comic it abandoned that genre after issue 26. This Captain Gallant story is from issue #8 (Dec. 1942).