Thursday, February 28, 2019

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Chip 'n' Dale vs. Wolverine!

Yes... You heard me... I said CHIP 'N' DALE...


Our boys are preparing for the battle, even now! 

Of course, I never said exactly WHICH Wolverine they'd be fighting!

Just like a "wolverine" to bait-and-switch like that!

But, if you've got any complaints, take 'em to "Brer Wolverine", not me!  I only report on this stuff - and make up names like "Brer Wolverine"!

If you complain, you'll find he's NOT a very good listener! 

This fabled battle takes place in CHIP 'N' DALE # 47 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: July, 1977), with a cameo by Super Goof who provides the accidentally dropped Super Goober that allows our now-mighty-'munks to give "Wolverine" what-for!

Such a titanic tussle could only be brought to you, NOT by Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, or even those overrated Image guys, but by Vic Lockman and Kay Wright, of course! 

They even get to celebrate their victory, as if they won the Super Bowl! 

But the REAL kicker here is that CHIP 'N' DALE and WOLVERINE are ALL Disney characters now... so you never know what might happen someday!

Maybe Wolverine could even PLAY THAT RECORD for his 'munkish-mates, with his Adamantium claws! 

Yay for you, Dale!  

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Popeye's Pen Pal Page!

Ahoy there, matey... and all th' li'l mates out there!  How'd ja like ta ask a quest-ting of POPEYE TH' SAILOR MAN... an' have that George Wildman swab from Charlton Comics answer ya back? 

Well, that's ex-act-lee what yer gonter get in th' pages o' POPEYE # 111 (Charlton Comics, Cover Date: December, 1971)! 

You know, I was wondering... just the other day... how old li'l Swee'pea would have been in 1971!

...And, as if George Wildman could read my mind...

Checking my hardcover "E.C. Segar's Popeye Volume 3 Let's You and Him Fight!" - a superb book in a superb series, I might add - and darned if old Mister Wildman was RIGHT!  

The first image of Swee'pea ever seen was in the JULY 28, 1933 strip - on Page 71 of the Fantagraphics volume!  

Though technically, he arrived bundled-up in a package, and that package first appeared in the JULY 24th strip - along with Swee'pea's FIRST SOUNDS, emanating from within the box!  

But, I REALLY must give George Wildman lots of credit here because, in those dark days - inconceivable from today's perspective - there was little or no such information available for us hungry fans to access!  

In fact, only a few months earlier, I had just learned the name of Carl Barks in THIS BOOK!

And nuggets of information on comics, animation, TV, and film were few and very far between - so I really commend Mr. Wildman for putting out ANYTHING of the sort.  

After all, in 1971, I certainly didn't know when (or even HOW) Swee'pea first appeared, and I WANTED to know stuff like that!  

Wildman did a few more of these pages over other issues.  Although he most likely wrote all the questions himself, and drew upon whatever knowledge he possessed or was able to obtain from King Features, these pages were entertaining (in a light-weight sorta way) and informative... ESPECIALLY FOR 1971!

Charlton's POPEYE and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO comics were very often a cut (often a HUGE CUT) above the um... "lesser" product we normally associate with Charlton, and something like this - particularly at a time such a thing was NEEDED - is just one more reason why!  

Bonus George Wildman Feature:  Check out this self-deprecating illustration of a photo of George Wildman, surrounded by the POPEYE family of characters who comment on it!

Gotta love the reference to classic Popeye comic strip and comic book artist Bud Sagendorf, who was certainly very much alive and active at the time - and may very well have seen this!  

I suppose SOMETHING could be read into the notion that it is POPEYE who heartily approves of Wildman assuming the artistic and editorial reins of the comic, while it is BRUTUS who supports the prior regime!  

But, hey... OLIVE is right!  George Wildman certainly deserves our respect for "trying", and largely succeeding, with such an iconic and storied character as Popeye, while working at a second-tier publisher like Charlton - and in the generally mundane (...when compared with the prior "Golden and Silver Ages") 1970s, no less!   

...Hooray for him!  

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Separated at Mirth: Hi-Yo, Vacuum... Away!

If you ride a vacuum off into the sunset, would you be making a "clean getaway"?  

Don't ask me!  Ask Knothead and Splinter, as they "get away" on a cylindrical steel steed, on the cover of WOODY WOODPECKER # 160 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: September, 1977)!   Art by Joe Messerli.

Not to be outdone by two little 'peckers, Duck Bros. Huey, Dewey, and Louie ditch the cowboy motif, and just make a good old fashioned 'nother fine mess for their exasperated Unca Donald, on the cover of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 298! (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: July 1965), with art by the great Carl Barks!

 Things to Note:  

Knothead and Splinter are just "playing cowboy", while Huey, Dewey, and Louie, are obnoxiously chowing-down!  ...So much for Junior Woodchucks Honor!  

In the same vein, K&S are only playing, while HD&L are intentionally creating more cleaning work for their angry uncle!

Both "vacuum-ers" (Woody and Donald) are front-right of the frame.  

But, as posed, if the illustrations were SIDE-BY-SIDE, Woody and Donald would be looking AT each other!  

...Or AWAY, depending on which one was placed where!  

Barks' composition is "richer" insofar as the character positioning and posing.  Donald's head is turned to glower at his nephews.  The vacuum is not in a straight line behind him, but is at an angle, and it's hose is curved accordingly!  The three boys are facing in three different directions!

And the POPCORN, at upper left, comes close to encroaching on the Cover Date of the issue!  

In contrast, Messerli's composition is a straight-forward, left-to-right progression for Woody, Knothead, Splinter, and the vacuum!  Sufficient space is provided for the intrusive UPC Code (at lower left), but that leaves a large blank space BETWEEN the UPC Code and the vacuum head, further throwing-off the composition!  

Doubtless by pure coincidence, both vacuum-riding covers are light green!

In a very slight bit of satisfaction for Donald, unrelated to his nephews, he is about to "vacuum-up" the words "Chip 'n' Dale"!  

Alas, in so doing, he will also "vacuum-up" the Disney copyright notice, and is sure to face a battery of entertainment lawyers for such a breach! 

Despite having a wider vacuum head, Woody will probably not "vacuum-up" his own copyright notice - if, for no other reason than he's looking forward!  
  ...Sometimes a less-dynamic, straight-forward composition CAN work to your advantage!  

So, before Donald has to talk his way out of a fine for "behavioral clause contract violation", we will leave WOODY WOODPECKER # 160 and WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 298 - joined by the drudgery of household vacuuming... but "Separated At Mirth"!  

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"SPACE" Just Got Wider!

"Well, it's a small universe!" -  Judy Robinson, from "Space Beauty" (LOST IN SPACE Season 3, Episode 21)

But, that "small universe" has just become wider in scope thanks to this TRULY UNEXPECTED item from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment! 

Dropping literally from the sky (or, if you prefer, from SPACE) - particularly so for someone like me who would make it his business to know, this sudden and unforeseen gift package corrects what might very well be the final "wrong" that was done to LOST IN SPACE on home video that you can OWN (as opposed to stream [that is "merely rent someone else's property"]  ...Property that they can take away from you at any time and on any whim!

Yes, those FOUR GLORIOUS WORDS: "Digitally Remastered in Widescreen", mean that no longer do folks with widescreen HD TVs have to see LOST IN SPACE look like THIS!  (Actual images I've taken off of the prior LOST IN SPACE DVD sets for use at this Blog - "black-sidebars" and all!) 

Now, the image has been remastered to fill the widest of screens!  "Oh, joy!  Oh, bliss!" 

And I couldn't be happier! 

In 2015, I thought I "couldn't be happier" with this amazing Blue-ray set!

All episodes, some with surviving-cast commentaries, and more bonus features, promotional spots for both network and syndication, and other archival pieces than I imagined possible. 

Episodes with optional "original bumpers" and even some original-run advertising thrown in. 

I eat this stuff up, especially as it applies to vintage, or classic, television! 

But, save for a single episode described as a test (and added to the set as yet another bonus feature), none of the episodes were remastered for widescreen!  That one episode sure showed us how great LOST IN SPACE *could* look in widescreen! 

But, I figured this set, specially released for the show's 50th anniversary, would be the ultimate - and FINAL -  manifestation of LOST IN SPACE in the DVD or Blu-ray format!

...And it was certainly a universe better than the original "season volume" releases of 2004-2005! 

As LOST IN SPACE was one of the very first classic TV series to be released when the DVD format was still new and finding its way, the bonus features were minimal, and the transfers were not fully up to the best DVD standard, much less that of the later Blu-ray format.

But, it was also one of the very first TV series to be COMPLETED in DVD release so, even then, I (...all together now) "couldn't be happier"! 

And, having all its episodes complete and uncut, with SOME extra features, and all the elusive "Next Week Previews" - and it being MINE, ALL MINE, with no TV or cable network deciding when (or even IF) I could see LOST IN SPACE, I was satisfied. 

I also figured these sets, released so early in the DVD game, (...all together now) would be the ultimate - and FINAL -  manifestation of LOST IN SPACE in the DVD or (yet-unknown) Blu-ray format!

The final season-volume set of the original DVD run of LOST IN SPACE! 

But, if there's one thing I've since learned, it's to NEVER count LOST IN SPACE out! 

Since those original standard format DVDs, there has been:

The aforementioned "Complete Adventures" Blu-ray release.

A CD Mega-Set of ALL music scores composed for the series by such luminaries as the great John Williams, Alexander Courage, Leith Stevens, Herman Stein, Joseph Mullendore, and others.

A 2016 limited-series COMIC BOOK title.

A new, different but unexpectedly GOOD, 2018 series on Netflix - going into its second season!

A soundtrack CD.

And even a comic book based on the new series! 

Pretty impressive for "The Little Sci-Fi Show that Could", after spending most of its life in the giant shadows of BATMAN and STAR TREK! 

And now, on February 05, 2019 - and with no fanfare that I was able to discern - here is LOST IN SPACE - The Complete Classic Series - Digitally Remastered in Widescreen! 

And, believe it or not and while there IS some overlap, this set offers NEW Bonus Features that were not even on the All-Encompassing Blu-ray set! 

And (presently, at least) it can be had at Amazon for slightly under 30 dollars!  THAT IS REALLY A BARGAIN! 

Now, it is only a STANDARD DVD release (not a Blu-ray), but, if you ever had any interest in owning LOST IN SPACE on DVD, but do not... Or, if you do, but you're a completest-who-loves-his-widescreen-TV like me... THIS IS A MUST BUY! 

It is now my THIRD iteration of LOST IN SPACE in the DVD or Blu-ray format, and I (...all together now) "couldn't be happier"! 

But, for once, I no longer am absolutely certain that this set, will be the (...all together now) ultimate - and FINAL -  manifestation of LOST IN SPACE in the DVD or Blu-ray format!

After all, there is STILL no BLU-RAY that is "remastered for widescreen"

...Iteration FOUR, anyone?  

"Yesss, that one is a definite possibility!"