Monday, October 26, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Boris Karloff's Tales of "Whatzit"?

We continue our "Halloween Week with Boris Karloff " with a "Readers' Poll"!  

Below is the cover of BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY # 47 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date; June, 1973).

Please tell me what you see...

A fisherman's boat swamped by a giant monster fish?  

A fisherman's boat swamped by a giant monster bird?  

Or a sleek speeding aircraft or spacecraft plummeting down from left to right, swamping the boat?  

Now, I've reproduced it here at more-or-less the same size as the listing image, when I ordered it from Lone Star Comics.  So, you're seeing it as I saw it.   Let us know what YOU see! 

We'll discuss it in the Comments Section...

For now, be it monster or metal, perhaps the scariest thing about this particular cover it that it was the first issue where the cover price increased from 15 to 20 cents!  ...And it would only keep going up from there!  

Friday, October 23, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Boris Karloff's Tales of Mystery-Guests!

As we approach Halloween, it's only right that we turn our attentions to the great Boris Karloff - an actor synonymous with horror in movies, television... and even comic books!   

Below is BORIS KARLOFF THRILLER # 1 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: October, 1962) and based upon the THRILLER television series pictured above.  

And this is BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY # 23 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: September, 1968), the long-running title that succeeded BORIS KARLOFF THRILLER once the TV series was cancelled.  How long did it run?  Therein lies a "kinda-eerie tale" that I wrote about HERE!  

BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY # 23 reprinted the magnificent photo cover and most of its interior stories from BORIS KARLOFF THRILLER # 1. 

Like Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock, back in the days of my sainted sixties, Boris Karloff's anthology drama/horror TV series featured a great many famous and "would-soon-be-famous" guest stars performing in its episodes each week.  

William Shatner, Robert Vaughn, Alan Napier, Russell Johnson, Richard Anderson, Cloris Leachman, James Gregory,  Richard Kiel, Marlo Thomas, Jeanette Nolan, Marion Ross, Natalie Schafer, Victor Buono, Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York (in separate episodes), John Carradine, Mary Tyler Moore, and so on... 

And, if you're as insanely fannish for that period of television (and comics) as I am, you might even find yourself reading an issue BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY or Gold Key's TWILIGHT ZONE series and imagine the 1960s-era actors who might be "playing the roles" alongside the story intros and outros of Four-Color-Karloff-and-Serling - and "hearing all their voices" as you read!  ...Aw go on... Admit it!  I do it often!  ...But, I digress.  

A Four-Color-Karloff outro!

BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY # 23 had two single-panel cameo "guest stars" that didn't require a similar imaginative effort from me!  Alas, they were silent, so no "voices" got to kick-in - in fact one of 'em wasn't even real!  

...But, there they were nonetheless - one such cameo is absolutely indisputable, and the other I'll "defend to the death", because I'm such a crazy '60s fan!  

The story "Past and Present Danger" involves a young woman's first trip to New Orleans in time for (...you guessed it) Mardi Gras, and her encounter with a handsome, charming stranger who, while just as "charming" as advertised, also leaves both our protagonist and the reader feeling just a tad... uneasy. 

Here's a page from that story...

(Click to Enlarge)


In keeping with my aforementioned imagining the 1960s-era actors who might be "playing the roles", I envision these two as Martin Milner and Yvonne Craig, and "hear" their voices as I read the story.  It's an added dimension of fun that only serves to enhance the comics-reading experience.  Try it sometime. 

But, to those two single-panel cameo "guest stars" that I promised, take a gander at this...

One's easy to spot, the other's not! 

There's no denying the presence of DONALD DUCK, even if only as a festive balloon! 


Yeah, I know Gold Key published the DONALD DUCK comic book at the time, but still... How'd they get away with this?  


The issue of Gold Key's DONALD DUCK (#120) that was already on-sale when BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY # 23 was released.  (...note the cover price increase over that one month)

So, on one far side of the panel, we have Donald Duck, but who do we have on the opposite far side?  


Look closely now... 


Why, it's a cameo by Lost in Space "Special Guest Star" Jonathan Harris (as Napoleon, rather than Doctor Smith!) 


GO ON... TELL ME IT'S NOT!  



"Odd! I have the strangest feeling that I've just been to Mardi Gras, back on Earth! ...And, with Martin Milner and Yvonne Craig, of all people!  ...Bah! Must be some alien trick!" 


And so we kick off our run-up to Halloween with Boris Karloff and some unusual guest stars!

We hope to "carry-on with Karloff" and his wonderful "Tales of Mystery" between now and then but, for now, keep watching the sides of those panels... You never know WHO you might find!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Wotta "Good Knight" for Puns!


As all of you know, I love PUNS!  My translated and dialogued Disney comic book scripts are chock full of them! 

Here's an unexpected pun that I really liked, from (of all places) Charlton's HANNA-BARBERA PARADE # 7 (Cover Date: May, 1972) and its two-page Huckleberry Hound gag/story!  


Not yet... we're just setting up for THE pun! 


Still not yet... But, we're on our way...


Almost... Alll...mooo...ssst there...  I can feeeeel it coming... Just one more...


Ready?  Here we go...


YESSSS! 


Aw, c'mon... Tell me that WASN'T worth the buildup!  

Oh, it wasn't?  All right, then... Better punning next time... I hope!  

BONUS BLUE-DOG TIME TRAVEL MOMENT... or "BONUS HUCK-ING AROUND WITH TIME"!  


Here's how CHARLTON did it (above)... Not so bad by Charlton standards, considering they previously produced THIS! (Art by Frank Johnson - below.) 


And here's how the great Harvey Eisenberg did it a decade earlier for Dell/Gold Key...


I'll give Charlton's Ray Dirgo some points for effort (...and fine Frank Johnson $100.00 for lack of same)...


...But nobody beats Harvey Eisenberg with these characters!


BONUS HUCK KNIGHT-PUN...

Long before we had THIS...


We had THIS... Courtesy of the great cartoon writer Warren Foster!


And this version could "knight" all "day" long!  

With that, I'll simply say... Good... Knight!   


Monday, October 12, 2020

Learn Comics Writing from Sholly Fisch!

 

In my opinion, as both a fan and as a professional comic book writer, Sholly Fisch is, without doubt, my favorite comics writer actively working today!  

Could anyone else have written the comic above?  

Or those below?  


I don't THINK so!  

And that's just one small corner of the overall comics landscape that he navigates so well!  

This Blog stands as a testament to that navigation... Just take THIS LINK and see!  

Sholly Fisch routinely taps into that "Something Special" that I can barely reach - on good days, with effort - and only if the stars and planets are properly aligned, in a month with no "R" in it, and when the date is divisible by 20040402 with no remainder!   

And NOW, you can... Learn Comics Writing from Sholly Fisch! 

...And through the respected Kubert School, no less!  Online, in the PPE-free comfort of your own home!  Here's some detail from the Kubert School web site...

“For more than 30 years, Sholly Fisch has prowled the night as an award-winning, Eisner-nominated writer, whose 400+ credits run the gamut from Superman to Star Wars to Scooby-Doo, and from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser to Looney Tunes.  By day, Sholly has helped produce dozens of educational TV series, digital games, and magazines for kids, including Sesame Street, Cyberchase, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, and lots of things you've probably never heard of. 

“In this 6-week class, Sholly will introduce the mechanics of writing, storytelling, and creating characters for comics in various genres, while students create and share stories of their own.  Not to mention offering practical advice about breaking in (and staying in), working with artists and editors, and what to do when things go wrong.”

Class runs six weeks, 6:00-7:30 PM ET, Tuesday evenings. Begins November 17, 2020! 

Don't let all those Robins beat you to it! Check it out today! 
 


Thursday, October 8, 2020

"NO York Comic-Con 2020"

 

In a world where everyone wore masks, believed science over "that which one reads on Twitter", and where acting cautiously and informed "trumps" acting recklessly and being in stubborn denial, do you know what *I* would be doing today?  

Give ya a hint... 


Yes, I would be among the teeming hordes at NEW YORK COMIC-CON... rather than looking at the image above and wondering - if it opened today, and were held as usual - how many of those people would get sick and possibly die!  

Instead, that very site, the Jacob Javits Convention Center where New York Comic-Con is held each year, was pressed into service earlier this year to act as a COVID-19 hospital overflow treatment center... because, at that time, there weren't enough hospital beds in ALL OF NEW YORK CITY to accommodate the sick and the dying!  A situation that became all the more maddening, with the release of information (on tape, for any remaining doubters) that the one person in this country that COULD have done meaningful things to mitigate and diminish the suffering inflicted upon New York (...and later in other parts of the country where, ironically, he is more favored) KNEW of the dangers months earlier, but chose to sit on his hands (except when he used them for Tweeting), rather than do anything until it was WAY too late!  

But, enough of that... I don't know if the Jacob Javits Convention Center is open and hosting anything on this day (probably not), but I DO KNOW it is not hosting New York Comic-Con 2020!  

I also know that, unlike recent years, I will not be taking the Number 7 Subway train to Manhattan's far west side and the relatively new "Hudson Blvd/Hudson Yards" station to the Jacob Javits Convention Center to pick up my badge, and begin my most concentrated day of back-issue comics-shopping...


... Because Thursday is usually the least crowded day - making it the best day to do an initial sweep of the comic dealers' area (...that TOO SMALL AREA at the lower right of my diagram)... 


 ...Before the convention center starts to look more like this! 


But, in 2020, it will NOT "look like this"!

There will be no crowds, no back-issue comic dealers, no cosplayers, no panels, no media presence, no celebration of the art-form we love - and everything that has spun-off from it!  

And *I* will be home - as I have been most days, for most of this highly unusual year - releasing this mournful Blog post... and missing even the things I find annoying about New York Comic-Con, much less the things I love about it!  

However, two things will remove the sting of "NO York Comic-Con 2020"... 

ONE:  I ordered a bunch of back-issue comics from Lone Star Comics to coincide with the dates of the Con, lessening that particular aspect of the "sting"! The order was calculated to arrive more-or-less on the con's opening day, compensating for my initial flurry of Thursday shopping!  I still get something close to my fill of comics - and am not inconvenienced or otherwise annoyed by a plague of cosplayers!  Win-Win... kinda.  

TWO: Averi and Cici will be here for a few days... and if THAT doesn't "remove the sting", nothing will!  

Finally... Sure, I'm just talking about comic books and a missed convention and such... but EVERYONE (regardless of their personal interests) has either lost something they enjoy - or has had to accept it in some significantly altered form - in 2020!  

Much worse, many have even lost loved ones to something that could have been much more containable than it was - and still remains contagious and deadly!  

My condolences and best possible wishes to all of have experienced such a loss - even if it's just some inconvenient "alteration" of something you like.  It ALL counts!  And a lot less of it should have happened!  

Anything resembling normalcy is still a LONG way off, but I wish for all of you a better and more satisfying 2021!  And maybe there will even be "four special days in October" to celebrate by taking the good ol' Number 7 train!  

I'll be happy, even if I don't get a seat!

Monday, October 5, 2020

The World Just Got Much Cuter!

Yes, the world just got much cuter on September 23, 2020 with the addition of Cecelia (more often referred to as "Cici"), Averi's brand new little sister!  


So, how did Averi react to no longer being "the sole center of the universe"?  


Well, when they met, it was kinda like this...


But, by the next day, things got better... fast!  


And, by the the weekend, Avi had already "reclaimed the universe", whether or not she knows she now has to share it!  


And, if you HAD to "share the universe", at least it's with someone cute!  


Speaking of cute... 

I wouldn't want to be a "Magic Mirror" in THAT house, when these sisters start asking "Who's the cutest of them all!"

You think this mirror has it tough? 


Try making THIS choice!