Monday, February 22, 2021

(The Return of the Phantom) Blot, Out!

 ...Or "Blot, Out! II - The Sequel"!  


In THIS POST we looked at "DISNEY MASTERS Vol. 15 MICKEY MOUSE: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF THE PHANTOM BLOT" from Fantagraphics Books.  Now, let's look at it again - but through the lens of the GRAND COMICS DATABASE, and with yours truly as your host and indexer - HERE!  


Try and top THAT for detail, I.N.D.U.C.K.S!  ...Aw, we're just kidding... We love I.N.D.U.C.K.S!  It's the most valuable source for information on the world-wide totality of Disney comic books!

But GCD is no slouch either... and it's got me and a bunch of other dedicated folks bringing you the best coverage of comic books in general.  Both should be prime components of any comic book fan's arsenal! 

I don't know if I'm "The World's Number One Phan" of the "Phan-Tom Blot", but if I'm not somewhere in the top ten, I've really been squandering my life since 1964!  


As part of my overall dedication to "Blot Boosting", I also wrote the "Feature Object" for The Phantom Blot at GCD .  You can see that HERE!  


And, if you dare, you can even check out my own GCD "Creator Object" HERE! 
...Yeah, that last one is a little much to ask, but indulge me, okay? 

However, the REAL focus of this post is The Phantom Blot, and the wonderful, new Fantagraphics book dedicated to him - and one of his most classic artists, Paul Murry.  


For anyone who's read the book by now - or would like to - now's the time, and here's the place, to leave your comments and have a good old time "talking Blot"!
  
See ya in the Comments Section!  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: SHADOW??? ...Of a Doubt!

The TWILIGHT ZONE, BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY, and RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT titles published by Gold Key Comics were known for their beautifully painted covers...

  
  

...Mostly by a talented painter named George Wilson, who also painted covers for VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, STAR TREK and other Gold Key titles.  

   

Far be it from me to question the technique of such an amazing artist, but there was the matter of TWILIGHT ZONE # 43 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: May, 1972)...


...And what could be interpreted as a "shadow" on the unfortunate victim's clothing... or, perhaps not!  

I have no idea what my panicked reflexes might do if I were to fall, seemingly to my death, from a tall building and abruptly meet the street below... 

...Though it WOULD be sorta "Twilight Zone-ish ironic" if my crumpled body were to be further run over by one of those BUSSES seen in the painting, after all the public hearings I've spoken at to save and restore local bus service... 

 
That even LOOKS LIKE ME, in 1972 that is! 

...But, knowing me, my final thoughts would probably be... "To PEE, or not to PEE, that is the pants-staining question!"  


...And, having asked that question (that was probably on the lips of every comics reader and fan who ever saw this issue), I leave you to provide your own answer!  

...Gosh, if only he'd worn BLACK instead of red!  

Special Bonus Gag ('cause I just can't help myself): "Hey, Bellboy... Urine trouble now, ain'tcha!"

...Sorry!  We'll resume our normally tasteful posting next time!   

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Quick, Robin, the Legendary Super Bat-Sledgehammer!

Wanna combat an adversary wielding a "Legendary Super-Pickax"?  (...as infamously described within this long post, for anyone who might not know what I'm referring to!)


...Or ANY ol' pickax, for that matter?  


Just follow the example of the Caped Crusader, as seen in BATMAN #269 (DC Comics, Cover Date: November, 1975)...


...And reach for a "Legendary Super Bat-Sledgehammer"! 


If you didn't pack one in your utility belt, and your sidekick's not around to get it from the car, you can always just BORROW one from an obliging assailant! 


Okay... Not exactly an authorized "Legendary Super Bat-Sledgehammer" - but, in Batman's hands, almost ANYTHING becomes "Legendary and Super"! 



Dig those cah-raaazy sound effects, Man!    KRONNGG  (...and, strangest of all) TUCK (?) 

I guess, by the mid-seventies the old Bat-standards POW!, BAM!, BIFF!, and CRAACK! had become passé.  I can kinda "hear" KRONNGG but what, exactly, does TUCK sound like, anyway?  


By knocking him out, is Batman TUCKing the bad guy into bed for a long night's sleep?  

And, if he were do this repeatedly, for a long period of time, would even Batman get... TUCKered-out? 

Ah, I've got it... A limerick!  

A sledgehammer blow went TUCK! It...
left its recipient to say, "Oh..". 
...I CAN'T DO IT!  I JUST CAN'T!  SORRY! 


Instead, I'll just kinda-sorta gracefully exit, leaving you with this thought...

At least the "Legendary Super Pickax" weaponized against Batman... 
 

...DIDN'T BREAK!  

 

...KRONNGG and  TUCK made for BETTER DIALOGUE, too! 
 

Even BATMAN "feels our pain" over this!  

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Let's Not Get Ahead of Ourselves!

You've heard of people who "stand behind their words", but how often do you see someone "stand ahead" of them?  

Well, I've found one in the pages of RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT - TRUE GHOST STORIES # 81 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: September, 1978)  

Let's zoom in on this page for a closer look!  


Unless that's a GHOST speaking from behind our story's victim (...and it's NOT, because I read the story - sorry for the spoiler) he is, by every convention of comic book storytelling, standing IN FRONT - or AHEAD - of his words!  

But, I suppose if ya can't have weird stuff going on (in the stories and in the panels themselves) of a comic like THIS...
...Then where CAN ya?
 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Please Explain This to Me! No 2: Mickey's Doubled-Walled Balloon?

Here is the opening splash panel to "Message in a Nutshell - Part II", the Paul Murry Mickey Mouse serial appearing in WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #381 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: June, 1972).


Do you see anything unusual?  ...If not, look closer. 



No, it's not the presence of Floyd Gottfredson's Captain Churchmouse character, because Cecil Beard used him on various occasions upon writing for Mickey Mouse.  And it certainly isn't the "Trademarked Paul Murry Goofy Hand-Crooked-Inward Pose" that Murry made almost-iconic by sheer repetition… 

HEY, what about this?!  


Why does Mickey's dialogue balloon have a roughly-sketched "inner-circle"?  


It can't have been a guide for the letterer as to where Mickey's balloon should be placed, because Paul Murry penciled, inked, and lettered this story himself.  

And, even if it was a reminder laid-out by Murry himself, for his own purposes, either he or an editor would have applied "white-out" to the additional outline.  

WAIT!  I'VE GOT IT!  


Mickey's standing in a CAVE...


...And this is just his voice... ECHOING! 

Very clever, Mr. Murry!  

And that's it, in a... um, er... "nutshell"! 

Monday, January 25, 2021

R.I.P. Larry King - and Something Even Bigger!

We, along with a very large segment of America, are saddened by the loss of radio and television talk legend Larry King on January 23, 2021, at the age of 87. 


Instantly recognizable, and known for his 25-year prime time talk show run on CNN, Larry King was an "oasis" of sorts, especially in his final years, a time when such television was becoming increasingly partisan, tightly targeting demographic groups of one political persuasion or another.  

Or, to put it another way, Larry King was one of the last "general-interest" talk show hosts.  

It's hard to believe there was once a time when talk shows, particularly those on radio, were not politically charged, but it was true.  By and large they could be described as "general-interest", insofar as they either featured a different topic (or guests) every day, or the host just fielded phone calls on whatever subject might have been on the audience's mind!  

We had several great ones here in New York, during the period of the late 1960s into the early-to-mid 1970s, such as Barry Farber, Barry Gray, Long John Nebel... and my personal favorite Brad Crandall.  

To quickly digress on Brad Crandall, he had a second career as an off-camera announcer/narrator... and could be heard narrating the "80s' era syndication TV promos" for LOST IN SPACE, that are found as extras on this Blu-ray set!  ...Sorry, but when will I EVER AGAIN have the opportunity to reference Lost in Space AND Brad Crandall in the same sentence!  Indulge me, please! Thank you. 

END OF DIGRESSION! 
 
Like most human beings, those hosts had their political points of view, but they were not uppermost and on full and constant display, instead largely subsumed in the interests of delivering a good and interesting show to all.  Being local to NYC, I expect they had their counterparts in every major media market.  

But I might have been "ahead of the curve" on Larry King, if you know him primarily for his work on CNN, because Larry King took the "general-interest" talk show concept to another level.  ...Or, at least it was "another level" to me in the later 1970s.  His overnight talk show was syndicated across the nation!  So, Mr. King was no stranger to me, once I learned of his TV talk show.  

Larry King talked to anyone and everyone, about anything and everything!  This was quite welcome in that, as the 1970s progressed into the 1980s, "general-interest" talk shows seemed to die-off in favor of more narrowly-focused, single-topic shows on finance, health-and-well-being, sports, pets, plants, automotive matters, unendorsed pseudo legal advice... and politics!  

While I found none of these particularly interesting as an "exclusive topic" (save maybe sports, depending on the season), it was that last one that well and truly killed talk radio for me, especially as it evolved into such a mean-spirited affair that was beyond my tolerance!   

Cable television and its newer and differing outlets, alas, followed that politically partisan path, and continues to operate as such to this day - with no sign of ever relenting, instead preferring to feed the differently-affiliated beasts on "our side of the screen"!  


And that's why Larry King was so important!  

He was one of the last holdouts from this madness - and his network showcased his efforts in the "prime-est of prime time slots", weekdays at 9 PM Eastern!  Such a programming decision would be inconceivable today!  

But, there was Larry King... suspenders, simple-graphic-designed backdrop, and all, chatting away with a variety of folks that (of course) included, but also transcended, politics!  And in a tiffany-timeslot that virtually all of pre-DVR America could join him! 

He will be missed not only as a unique and sometimes quirky talk show personality - but also that, when his show finally ceased, it was the end of an era (dare I say, "an era of decency and civility"?) for TV's incessantly talking heads!  


Thank you, Mr. Larry King... for all of this and so much more!    

Friday, January 22, 2021

R.I.P. Hank Aaron - the REAL Home Run King!

At TIAH Blog, we mourn the passing of Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves baseball legend Henry (Hank) Aaron, who passed away at the age of 86.  

Hank Aaron was already a superstar when I began watching baseball in 1967 (when the terms "superstar" and "legend" were not thrown around with the casual abandon they are today), but will be forever remembered for the day in 1974 when he hit home run #715 - passing Babe Ruth's lifetime total of 714. 

For insane and unfathomable reasons of racism, many people were unhappy on that day, April 08, 1974.  I will confess to being "unhappy" too... but merely because the home run record no longer belonged to a New York Yankee (Ruth).  

But, if the record could not belong to a New York Yankee, it couldn't have belonged to a finer man!  

Over his long career, he faced all sorts of adversities with dignity and class - and, in view of an almost endless tide of threats and hate, with extreme bravery!  

Aaron went on to hit 755 home runs before he was done!  

If I was "unhappy" on the day Hank Aaron achieved the home run record, I was all the more so on the day his record was eclipsed by someone who cheated by ("allegedly") using a baseball-illegal enhancer that Hank Aaron never had - or NEVER NEEDED!  

To me, and to many other baseball fans, Hank Aaron is still the LEGITIMATE home run champion - and the REAL Home Run King!  

Thank you, Mr. Henry Aaron, for all the great moments I was able to witness and/or read about, and for being such a fine and exemplary human being.