Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Gal" Friday! Candice Night

The lovely Candice Night is an American vocalist/lyricist, multi-instrumentalist for the traditional folk/rock group Blackmore's Night alongside her husband, legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Rainbow). After approaching Blackmore as a fan, the pair struck up a friendship over shared interests and then entered into their combined professional and personal partnership in 1997. Seven studio albums feature Night's distinctive vocals on a range of soft-rock and renaissance inspired songs.
I spent most of the post-Christmas period suffering from a rare head cold and turned to her music to while away the hours. I thought perhaps some of you might appreciate my early "gal" Friday post as a nice segue into New Years Eve. Have a great year!

Friday, December 18, 2015

"Gal" Friday! Meg Turney

For those times when a picture just says a thousand words; ......
and all of 'em are quite inadequate to the task!

Friday, December 4, 2015

"Gal" Friday! Jenna Coleman

It goes without saying that the BBC’s Doctor Who series is the longest running genre show on television, and although the series conveniently refreshes its cast by having the lead character periodically regenerate into whichever actor is currently cast as the Doctor, needless to say that is not a conceit that has been extended to the vast accumulation of popular companions to the dozen plus official Who’s.

Now, on the verge of the ninth season premiere, comes confirmation that Jenna Coleman will officially be leaving the role of companion Clara Oswald behind.  She has been part of the cast since 2012, one of the longest lasting companions. Both talented and lovely, there is little doubt that Ms. Coleman will continue to impress with her upcoming role as the young Queen Victoria in an ITV production. The Catacombs bids a fond if regretful adieu to Jenna/Clara (you were one of my all-time favorites). You will be sorely missed!

Monday, November 30, 2015

1980's Flashback: The Rocketeer

Pacific Presents #2 (Apr.1983)
The Rocketeer is a fictional character created by writer-illustrator Dave Stevens. The character first appeared as a backup feature in the Pacific Comics series Starslayer in 1982, and is an homage to Saturday matinee serial heroes of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

The Rocketeer was the secret identity of Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovered a mysterious jetpack that allowed him to fly. His adventures were set in Los Angeles and New York in 1938, and Stevens gave them a retro, nostalgic feel influenced by the King of the Rocket Men and Commando Cody movie serials (both from Republic Pictures), and pinup diva Bettie Page. The title also uses fictional pulp heroes of the period such as Doc Savage and The Shadow, plus real life horror film icon Rondo Hatton inspired one of the books notable villains.

Dave Stevens passed away in 2008 at the age of 52. I’m glad that I had a chance to meet him in person back in the early 1990s.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving, or in lieue of participating in the traditional holiday feast, a decent day off (or something)?
I've been playing Star Wars: Battlefront this week and since I celebrated my own feast a day early, to allow my grown children to spend time with their significant others and their families, for me yesterday was a marathon day of blasting enemies and/or getting the living hell blown out of myself in return. So far, I'm pretty happy with the new SW game and while there are umpteen dozen blogs, video chats and reviews by the usual assortment of egocentric gamer nerds slamming the new release from EA Games/DICE, to me there is really nothing wrong with turning off your brain for a while and simply immersing yourself in the world of Star Wars for some good old fashioned horde mode slaying. I do wish that some of their alien races were available earlier in the game, but most won't unlock until at least level 40 and I am currently only at level 22 (alas).

With the imminent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens boasting record setting ticket pre-sales, this is another great way to pass the time and get in your Star Wars fix before December 18 lures you into the nearest movie theater. The Catacombs recommends Star Wars: Battlefront 2015 for everyone who wants to have a good time (and just ignore those dumb bigmouthed geeks who lost their fun gene about the time that someone opted to listen to their pitiful little complaints).

Friday, November 20, 2015

1970's Flashback: Giant-Size

1974 and 1975 saw Marvel Comics introduce their popular Giant-Size format where for $.35 (soon $.50) fans were treated to 52 pages of pure magic from the House of Ideas. Often these annual-sized volumes were filled with reprints, but many ran original stories expanded to take full advantage of the extra story pages. A small handful presented new characters and concepts, such as the retconned WWII team-up of The Invaders featuring Captain America and his sidekick Bucky, the original Human Torch and his partner Toro, and the Sub-Mariner. Another revealed the story behind the transformation of Greer Nelson, formerly known as The Cat, into her more familiar role as Tigra. I seem to recall one that revamped the old x-Men team into something all-new and all-different as well? There were several standalone one-shots focusing on a single hero like Thor, the Hulk, or Power Man and a select few ran for several issues such as those starring Conan, the Avengers or the Man-Thing. If you happen to find affordable copies at conventions in great shape, my suggestion is to snap them up and enjoy much more bang for your buck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

1980's Flashback: Xenozoic Tales

Mark Schultz celebrated series Xenozoic Tales is set in a post-apocalyptic future where Earth has been ravaged by pollution and natural disasters. Humanity has built vast underground cities in which they have lived for approximately 600 years. Upon emerging, they discovered that the world had been reclaimed by previously extinct lifeforms including dinosaurs. In this new 'Xenozoic' age, technology is extremely limited and those with mechanical skills command a great deal of respect and influence.

 The two main characters are mechanic Jack Tenrec and scientist (and love interest) Hannah Dundee. Tenrec operates a garage in which he restores cars, particularly Cadillacs. Given that the post-apocalyptic world no longer possesses the ability to refine oil, Jack modifies his cars to run on dinosaur guano. These cars, of course, are frequently chased by rampaging dinosaurs in pulp style action-adventure stories. Publication began in 1986 with a story in the comic anthology Death Rattle. This debut was shortly followed by Xenozoic Tales #1 in February 1987. The comic series ran for 14 issues from several publishers including Kitchen Sink Press, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Publications.

The series proved moderately successful and under the title “Cadillacs and Dinosaurs”
spawned an animated TV series on the CBS Network, arcade games from Capcom and Sega, action figures, trading cards, candy bars, and a role-playing game. The title "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" and likenesses of classic Cadillac automobiles were used with the consent of General Motors, who holds the phrase "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" as a trademark and has licensed it for the comic, the videogame and the animated series.

Friday, October 30, 2015

1980's Flashback: Warp

I'm going to close out this months outer space theme with another oddity that sort of blends into Halloween in a minor way [*see below].

Warp #1 (Mar.1983)
“Warp!” was originally a science-fiction play created at Chicago in 1971 co-authored by *Stuart Gordon. Gordon later became a film director, writer and producer of popular genre fare such as Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak, and Dagon, as well as acclaimed episodes from Showtime’s Masters of Horror anthology series. His science fiction films: Robot Jox (1990), and Fortress (1992) have both become cult classics and he co-created Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for Disney Studios.

First Comics published a comic-book version of Warp, which ran 19 issues between March 1983 and February 1985. While other creators eventually worked on the title, the trippiest stuff features in the first nine issues illustrated by Frank Brunner.  David Carson, an everyday bank teller, learns that he is Lord Cumulus, "avenger of the universe". Suddenly transported from an annual employee-awards dinner to the mystical realm Fen-Ra, he finds himself battling for the destiny of the universe against antagonist Prince Chaos. In this world, he encounters the sage Lugulbanda who sends him on his quest aided by the leather-clad Amazon warrior Sargon. They battle Valaria the insect sorceress and Chaos' henchman, the purple ape Symax.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

1980's Flashback: Nexus

Introduced in 1981, Nexus is a combination of the superhero and science fiction genres, set 500 years in the future. The series created by writer Mike Baron and artist Steve Rude has been published by Capital Comics, First Comics, Dark Horse Comics and Rude Dude publications.

Nexus #25 (Oct.1986)
Calling himself Nexus, Horatio Hellpop received vast powers from an alien entity called the Merk to seek out and kill a certain quantity of human mass murderers per "cycle". When a target has been selected, Nexus experiences strong headaches and maddeningly anguishing dreams (whose extremely intense episodes caused physical injuries to Hellpop's body that emulated the dream violence) of his target's victims until he did his duty. Horatio was reluctant to act as the Merk's enforcement tool, but continued seeking out mass murderers to maintain his power and his sanity so that he could defend his homeworld, the lunar refuge of Ylum (a shortening of the word "asylum," thus pronounced "eye-lum"). As Horatio grew up, the Merk first influenced him through apparently imaginary friends named Alph and Beta. However, when Horatio's mother died (becoming lost in the tunnels of the planet), Horatio blamed them for her death and killed them in the first use of his power. Shortly afterward, Horatio began to dream about his father's crimes, causing himself inescapable torment. In this agony, Alph and Beta mysteriously appeared to reveal the duties of Nexus necessary to end the ordeal: the execution of his own father. With considerable personal agony (and unaware that his father was already on the verge of suicide), Horatio carried out the execution.

Monday, October 26, 2015

"All-New, All-Different?"

Marvel Comics is currently utilizing the above header in their latest attempt to force their intellectual properties into something that an aging fanboy (and willing sychophants) will accept for another quarter of a year before they shift things around yet again.

Of course that wording was originally used back in the late bronze age for the classic revamp of the popular Uncanny X-Men by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne and many other talented creators. I miss those guys, both the creators and the recognizable team members. At this point, I would be more than willing to sacrifice everything that came later just to get this line-up [pictured, with art by Alex Ross] back in the saddle!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Asheville Comic Expo (October 24, 2015)

I spent a nice day in Asheville, North Carolina yesterday scoping out the tattoo shops for the best price on a combined design of two images that I'm finally committing to soon, and since the Asheville Comic Expo event was underway; I decided to check that out while I was in town. Among the guests of this small venue one day affair were the legendary artists Mike Grell and Steve "The Dude" Rude. I had seen each man before, but it had been a while, so I picked up a few signatures on a couple of items and also treated myself to a small stack of bronze age gems (and trust me the photos do them no justice; I pinched these images off of the Grand Comics Database). My own hastily acquired copies of Fantastic Four #118, 125 & 128 are spiffy near mint marvels with crisp white pages and the Skull the Slayer #1 looks brand new. The pair of Warlock [7 &8] issues are equally awesome! Thanks to Dave Shankle, who always manages to cut a me sweet deal on things that I horde. I also ate way to much at Early Girl Eatery and Farm Burger, plus drank copious amounts of Turkish tea at Dobra Tea with my daughter, since it's one of her favorite places in town. I much preferred the double-decker coffee bus that we hit while waiting on our brunch reservation at the former restaurant (but all the food joints were great)!

Friday, October 23, 2015

In Memorium: Murphy Anderson

The legendary Murphy Anderson (and native North Carolina resident) has passed away at the age of 89, although few details have been made available. Mr. Anderson had declined appearances due to failing health for some time now. His impact on the world of comics can not be understated. As part of the classic "Swanderson" art team alongside the late Curt Swan, Superman soared to lofty heights in the minds of many old school fans. His lengthy list of credits include: Action Comics; The Atom and Hawkman; The Brave and the Bold; The Flash; Girls' Love Stories, Green Lantern; House of Secrets; Korak; My Greatest Adventure; The Spectre, Strange Adventures, The Witching Hour;  and World's Finest Comics. His career stretched from the golden age into the rise of the comic book specialty shops in the 1980s. Everyone who had the chance to meet him knew that he was a true Southern Gentleman and one of the best representatives of the industry who every walked a convention hall. He was one of the first artists that I ever met, and I am damned glad to have had an opportunity to thank him for thrilling me with his wonderful artwork during my childhood. I still rate his efforts as some of the best visuals in the business, either solo or as part of several classic art teams. The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans. They just don't make them like Murphy Anderson anymore!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

1970's Flashback: Planet of the Apes

At the height of its cinematic popularity, Marvel Comics released a number of titles and series based upon Planet of the Apes (the longest lasting published under their black & white Curtis Magazines format), which ran for twenty-nine issues from 1974 to 1977. Besides adaptations of all five original films, the magazine featured original Apes stories written by Doug Moench and Gerry Conway and artwork from Mike Esposito, Mike Ploog, George Tuska, and many others. Articles about the making of the five movies and the short-lived spin-off Planet of the Apes television series were a mainstay.

During 1975, Marvel also released “Adventures on the Planet of the Apes” which offered fully colorized versions of their adaptations of the first two films in five or six issue arcs running for a total of 11 issues. The stories from the U.S. editions were also edited and released under the Marvel UK banner for a weekly title lasting 123 issues from 1974 to 1977.
Planet of the Apes #1 (Aug.1974)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

1970's Flashback: The Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (Jan. 1969)
The original Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (Jan. 1969), written by Arnold Drake and penciled by Gene Colan.  Despite that standalone tale, most of the published adventures that set them on the path to later cinematic glory were released in the bronze age in such series as Marvel Two-In-One #4–5 (July–Sept. 1974), Astonishing Tales (April 1975), and Giant Size Defenders #5 and Defenders#26–29 (July–Nov. 1975). In each case, other heroes such as Captain America, the Thing, and the Defenders aid them in their war against the alien Badoon. The Guardians next received their own featured series running through Marvel Presents #3–12 (Feb. 1976 – Aug. 1977). This was followed by another round of guest appearances in Thor Annual #6 (1977), The Avengers #167–177 (Jan.–Nov. 1978) and #181 (March 1979), Ms. Marvel #23, Marvel Team-Up #86 (Oct. 1979), and Marvel Two-in-One #61-#63 & #69 (Nov. 1980).

For all intents and purposes that signaled the end of the inaugural team as well received reboots in the 1990’s (which ran for 62 issues and again in 2008) both reimagined the characters and concept beyond the intrepid band of freedom fighters who comprised the founders: Major Vance Astro, Yondu Udonta, Martinex and Charlie-27 (later joined by the fire-haired Mercurian Nikki and the combined being called Starhawk). The blockbuster 2014 Marvel Studios film [based upon the 2008 comic book series] depicted another team comprised of different Marvel universe characters, with only a cameo version of Yondu presents.

Original Guardians by Alex Ross

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1970's Flashback: Cerebus

Cerebus created by Canadian writer-artist Dave Sim published from December 1977 until March 2004, is a title that can’t be easily summed up. Beginning as a parody of sword and sorcery comics, it later moved into seemingly any topic that Sim wished to explore: power and politics, religion and spirituality, gender issues, and more over the course of a 300-issue, 6000 story-page series.

The series stands out for its experimentation in form and content, and for the dexterity of its artwork, especially after background artist Gerhard joined in with the 65th issue. However as the series progressed, it increasingly became a platform for Sim's controversial beliefs.  Sim was a frequent marijuana user, began using LSD, taking the drug with such frequency that he was eventually hospitalized. He eventually cut all ties with his family and virtually all of his industry colleagues apart from Gerhard in order to finish the work. He has had very public fallings-out with some of his peers. Sim became a believer in God while gathering research material for "Rick's Story". However, rather than following any established religion, Sim follows his own personal belief system cobbled together from elements of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; all of which impacted Cerebus in his final story arcs, segments of which are extremely misogynistic towards women.
Starting with the acclaimed “High Society” storyline, the series became divided into self-contained "novels", which form parts of the overall story. The ten "novels" of the series have been collected in 16 books, known as "Cerebus phonebooks" for their resemblance to telephone directories. He had originally angered many retailers who felt that their support had been instrumental in his series' success in an industry generally indifferent to small publishers — by offering the first printings of the phonebooks via mail order only (a highly lucrative decision that paid off well for Sim).

Friday, September 25, 2015

1980's Flashback: Captain Marvel

Monica Rambeau made her debut within the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 in 1982. Her energy generation, absorption & manipulation powers allow Monica to convert her body into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum and travel at speeds up to the speed of light while in her energy form (including through the vacuum of space). This makes her a pretty tough individual, and she has proven herself to be a capable leader within the ranks of the Avengers.

Unfortunately she seems to suffer an inconvenient name change every decade. She was dubbed Photon in 1996, and was again rebranded as Pulsar in 2005. Lately the former “Captain Marvel” received her latest heroic identity as Spectrum (um, did Marvel forget their other versions of Doctor Spectrum too)? Additional aliases that she has endured are Daystar, Sceptre, Lady of Light, Monica Marvel, and Sun Goddess. Maybe one of these days at least one of these monikers will permanently stick. The character was co-created by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.

Friday, September 11, 2015

1970's Flashback: Ghita of Alizarr

1984 #7 (Aug.1979)
Ghita of Alizarr is a sexy female barbarian warrior like Red Sonja (creator Frank Thorne previously drew Red Sonja for Marvel Comics), but her adventures have a sexual nature. The character first appeared in 1984 #7 (Aug.1979) published by Warren Magazines. She continued her adventures in a handful of issues released by Eros Comix in the 1980’s too. Today Ghita serves as both a late 1970’s Flashback and also as a quick “Gal” Friday, since it has been a while since I posted one of those. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's the "alternative?"

I'm not a fan of the current massive wave of alternate covers that most comic book publishers drown us in. Some are quite nice and usually those bring back former greats to remind us all of their talents or to add a nostalgic aspect to a current property. But face it, tiger; most of these damn things are produced solely to give some shop owner the option to charge even more dollars for the same comic that everyone else is reading at the original cover price. WTF??

Here is a recently solicited cover by the terrific Dale Keown for the upcoming relaunch of Marvel Comics Red Wolf series. Of course the impending series is likely going to be depicted in a modern setting, but the thing is if the Keown version was how they intended Red Wolf to be presented and if it was drawn by Dale Keown, I would so be there for that title. A careful reading of the incoming creator credits quickly dashes that small hope, so again what is the point of this type of cover - other than to let the shop owners charge a premium price to acquire it? Basically this image is not representative of anything accurate to either the upcoming monthly or the original bronze age hero (a character that I liked and have all of his appearances in spiffy mint condition). Oh well, if this is what floats your boat, have at it! I do NOT buy a comic simply to get the cover, even when it is as highly desirable and nice as this one is.

Monday, September 7, 2015

"So say we all!"

I've just returned from a weekend in Atlanta, Georgia attending the annual Dragoncon, along with seventy thousand other people. I've regularly visited this multi-media show since 1991, and it always impresses me how accessible the celebrities are at this convention. Not counting dozens of popular authors, comic book industry favorites, and all manner of experts from the fields of science, technology and various creative arts, there are usually no less than seven dozen or so actors from virtually every genre type series or film that you could name. I'm a huge fan of the reimagined Battlestar: Galactica televisions series which aired between 2004-2009, and I had met or seen everyone from that cast multiple times, other than Grace Park. So it was very nice to finally have her at the show, and thus I opted for the group shot of all cast members who were there this  year. In the photo [standing; left-right]: Aaron Douglas (Galen Tyrol); James Callis (Dr. Gaius Baltar); Tricia Helfer (Cylon Number Six); Grace Park (Sharon "Boomer" Valerii/Agathon); Michael Trucco (Sam Anders); Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama) and then seated Jamie Bamber (Captain Lee Adama) and myself (in place of Col. Tigh). Enjoy and/or eat your heart out!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

1970's Flashback: John Stewart

John Stewart originally debuted in the pages of Green Lantern vol. 2 #87 (Dec. 1971) when artist Neal Adams came up with the idea of a substitute Green Lantern as the first African-American hero in the pages of DC Comics. John Stewart has become a major recurring character in the Green Lantern mythos and he became the primary Green Lantern between issues #182 through #200, when Hal Jordan relinquished his role within the Green Lantern Corps (1984–1986). Stewart has continued to star in various iterations of the title such as The Green Lantern Corps, Action Comics Weekly, and Green Lantern: Mosaic.
John Stewart was featured as one of the lead characters on the televised cartoon Justice League from 2001 until 2004 and its sequel, Justice League Unlimited. Going from "semi-obscurity in the mainstream to absolute name recognition" thanks to his starring role in the acclaimed Justice League cartoons in 2011, John Stewart starred in the “New 52” relaunched Green Lantern Corps alongside Guy Gardner, and eventually became the sole lead character (until the series' cancellation in 2015). That series was soon replaced by Green Lantern: The Lost Army, which again stars John Stewart as the lead hero.
Green Lantern #87 (Dec.1971)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dragon Age: Inquisition comes to its conclusion!

I've been a huge fan of Biowares fantasy rpg from day one, following along with each new protagonist since 2009's Dragon Age: Origins to Dragon Age 2 in 2011 and last years Dragon Age: Inquisition. Whether as the Warden aka The Hero of Ferelden, Hawke aka The Champion of Kirkwall or our current Inquisitor, each entry into this acclaimed franchise has upped the stakes for fans. Bioware just announced that on September 8, 2015 (not quite a year from its original launch last November), they will offer "Trespasser" billed as the final DLC for their award winning entry.

Trespasser will allow fans to have an entirely new adventure set two years after the main campaigns conclusion, so you will need to have completed the game to access this content. A chance to determine the final fate of the organization that you built alongside a party of friends and companions, with a new threat pending that will in all likelihood set up storytelling elements leading into their next sequel; plus the return of a former friend who factored heavily in the franchises first post-game credits scene. Previous dlc for Inquisition included:

Jaws of Hakkon - Discover the fate of the last Inquisitor and the powerful dragon he hunted. Enter an overgrown wilderness filled with Avvar, fiercely independent hunters who settled in the southern mountains ofThedas. Find an ancient Tevinter fortress that hides a dangerous secret.
The Descent - Explore the legendary Deep Roads, but ensure that you come prepared. A perilous journey awaits underground, where vast, darkspawn-infested caverns will challenge the Inquisition like never before
The Black Emporium; Spoils of the Avvar; Spoils of the Qunari; and multi-player upgrades such as Destruction and Dragonslayer.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

1980's Flashback: Grimjack

Although initially conceived to be the subject of a series of prose stories (set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago), Grimjack was the street name of John Gaunt, a sword-for-hire, ex-paramilitary, war veteran and former child gladiator. He actually operates from Munden's Bar in the Pit, a slum area of Cynosure, a pan-dimensional city to which all dimensions connect. Co-created by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman, although as indicated the general premise and setting had been set before Truman came on board, the character first appeared as a backup feature in Starslayer #10 (Nov.1983) published by First Comics. Grimjack #1 was later released in August of 1984 (with the series running for 81 issues).

Following the bankruptcy of First Comics in 1991, the legal rights to Grimjack became tied up with First Comics' other assets. After 12 years of efforts, all rights to Grimjack were released and a new company was founded, with legal ownership to the character. John Ostrander and Timothy Truman are said to have "substantial equity positions" in the venture.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In Memorium: Yvonne Craig

On Monday actress Yvonne Craig lost her grueling two year battle with breast cancer. Of course everyone knew her as "Batgirl" from the classic 1960s television series, but she made memorable impressions on other well-loved series such as Star Trek, The Mod Squad, 77 Sunset Strip, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, and many others. She appeared twice on film with Elvis Presley. Her trained dancers figure made her a popular glamor, pin-up and ad model during her heyday, and her long film and television resume belies the fact that she did not originally pursue an acting career.

Yvonne Craig benefitted from both her ballerina figure and her pixieish features and both aspects made her a great choice to bring the comic book heroine to life, inspiring many fans such as comic book writer Gail Simone to enter the industry. Ms. Craig was seventy-eight years old. The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to her family, friends and fans.

Monday, August 17, 2015

1970's Flashback: Night Rider

After introducing Johnny Blaze as their supernatural-motorcycling “Ghost Rider” Marvel renamed their earlier western hero to the unfortunate Night Rider (a term previously used in the Southern United States to refer to members of the Ku Klux Klan), during the mid-1970’s for a short run series. Carter Slade battled evil while dressed in a phosphorescent white costume, complete with a full-face mask, cape, and the requisite white hat. Slade had received this outfit and his white horse from Flaming Star, a Native American shaman. Eventually, the modern era Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze found himself transported into the 19th century where he met and teamed up with Carter Slade. Carter was badly wounded and Blaze took him to Flaming Star to be healed and then dealt with Carter's enemies. Carter recovered and Johnny returned to the present.
Night Rider #1 (Oct.1974)
After Slade's death in Western Gunfighters #7 (Jan. 1972), his sidekick Jamie Jacobs became the first of several successors, as in Marvel continuity after Slade's death, the name Phantom Rider was used retroactively for Slade and those who followed him. Carter Slade's spirit however returned in the modern era and possessed his descendant Hamilton Slade to make him a new Phantom Rider and rode out to rescue Johnny Blaze from certain doom.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

1970's Flashback: Vampirella

Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969)
Vampirella initially appeared as a hostess-type character in Warren Publishing's b& w horror anthology Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), Forrest Ackerman created or at least had a strong hand in shaping the lighthearted "bad-girl story style" of the feature but Vamp was designed by veteran comics artist Trina Robbins.  Later the hostess aspect was dropped and the strip began focusing on the characters ongoing adventures, José González became the character's primary artist starting with issue #12. 

Vampi was not your typical supernatural vampire, as she hailed from the planet Drakulon, although she did possess various attributes related to vampirism such as shapeshifting, immortality, superhuman strength-speed-senses, enhanced night vision, a healing factor, flight, hypnosis and telepathy.

Her original series ended with #112 in 1983, although Vampirella has continued to be revived under the auspices of other publishers.

Monday, August 3, 2015

1970's Flashback: The Manhunter

Although an original concept dating back to the golden age The Manhunter (with the same civilian identity of Paul Kirk) was revived in 1973 by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson as a back-up feature running through Detective Comics #437 [“The Himalayan Incident”] and ending with #443. While lying in suspended animation, as the result of a mortal wound suffered during a safari; an organization known as the Council had genetically altered the Manhunter to enhance his healing ability. Decades passed before the Council revived the Manhunter from suspended animation and trained him to lead a branch of warriors who were actually cloned versions of the Manhunter himself. The training involved intensive exercises in various forms of fighting such as martial arts and armed combat. The Manhunter was also updated with a different costume and various weapons. He later learned that the Council was the true threat to humanity and chose to oppose them.
[Detective Comics #437, Oct-Nov. 1973]
After the Manhunter eventually escaped from the Council and waged an on-going conflict with them he acquired some allies such as the Batman and some others. In a final showdown Paul Kirk, the Batman and their allies invaded Council headquarters and defeated their forces. One of the Coucil members managed to fire a fatal burst of intense radiation at the Manhunter. As he lay dying, the Manhunter used the Council member's own psionic helmet to destroy the organization’s headquarters killing himself, his clones, and all of the Council members. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

1970's Flashback: Werewolf By Night

Werewolf By Night first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2 (Feb. 1972) although who created what aspects of the character comes down to something like the premise being based on an idea by Roy Thomas, while the series name was suggested by Stan Lee, and yet the debut story was created by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog. The characters self-titled series began in September 1972 (lasting for 43 issues which ran through March 1977). Issue #32 features the first appearance of Moon Knight. Jack Russell (aka the Werewolf) briefly co-starred with “Tigra” in Giant Size Creatures #1 (July 1974), which first featured the transition of Greer Grant into the new role of Tigra (instead of her original identity as simply The Cat). The series was retitled Giant-Size Werewolf with its second issue.
As the Werewolf By Night, Jacob Russoff (his given name) obviously had the ability to transform into a werewolf, which gave him superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, durability, reflexes and a heightened sense of smell; plus an accelerated healing factor and razor sharp claws and teeth.

Monday, July 27, 2015

More of the good stuff .......

I've got nothing!!

I have played a bunch of video games, attended a few conventions, purchased more classic comics, and drooled over young gals far outside my age range since last we met. In short, same as usual from ye olde Catacombs hombre.

While I'm percolating over what actions to take next, here are two more fantabulous shots of Ms. Charlotte McKinney (who really ought to run away with me).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Gal" Friday! Charlotte McKinney

NO ..... it isn't actually the last day of the work week. However as I have missed posting quite a few of these featurettes, you are getting one today as a big bonus.

 Florida native Charlotte McKinney jump started her burgeoning career by posting a portfolio via Instagram and wound up as the featured model in Carl's Jr.'s All Natural Burger commercial, which was released online in January 2015 and aired regionally during Super Bowl XLIX. She later competed as one of the celebrities on the most recent round of Dancing with the Stars and is set to appear in the film Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser. That last one is technically a booby prize due to the presence of David Spade.

 She is pleasant to look at, so enjoy!