Friday, August 26, 2016

Photobomb Friday: The Tiger Woman's Moral Dilemma!

She was the "IT" girl of the Saturday matinees. Despite having made only 4 serials and a handful of movies in the 1940s, Linda Stirling was the crush of three generations of boys and men alike due to those serials' constant re-releases to theaters and television. Her best known role was as the misnamed Tiger Woman in the serial of that title. Looking great in that strangely designed costume was a major achievement. She transformed it from silly to sexy with her jaunty performance.
(There's the smile that won The Mayhem's heart.)
So, any excuse to run a few pics of one of my first crushes, here's a mini-gallery of Linda at work:
(Earnest in action!)

(Oh, Nurse!!!)

(She's striking in The Purple Monster Strikes.)

(You can tell she's no liar -- her pants aren't on fire.)

(Linda can't return your calls right now -- She's all tied up!)
If you like the serials and goofy gags about them, you might enjoy my Cliffhanger Cut-Ups magazine, now on Amazon:

Click for purchase information.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

As Seen on TV -- Simon and Simon: “Almost Completely Out of Circulation” Custom Condor Comic Art

(A massive 36 inch wide marker comp done for the episode's finale.)

While at the Van Nuys office of Marvel Productions, I got a call to head out for a meeting with Stan Lee and Takashi (the studio’s art director), pronto. It turned out that Stan had a request to generate some prop comic book art for the prime time detective series Simon and Simon. The producers of the show had worked with Stan on the Doctor Strange TV pilot in the late 70s and figured if anyone knew how to get some comic book stuff going, it would be he.

(Frame captures from the Doctor Strange TV movie pilot.)

They’d decided to do the art on the West Coast to allow faster communication, and as I’d just come off the DNAgents comic book, which was under option as a live action show at CBS, everyone agreed that I’d be the right fit for the job.

(Some of the Condor art as seen on screen.)
 But there was a small rub. Since I was not a member of the Illustrators Guild, I couldn’t get a screen credit for my work. Their art director came up with the solution: DNAgents comics would be featured throughout the episode alongside the Marvel books and the faux comics I was creating – and the kid in the story would wear a DNAgents t-shirt part of the time. 

(Check out the DNAgents in the background of this scene filmed at Los Angeles' Hi-De-Ho Comics.)
Creating the fake comics was a blast. I penciled and where needed, wrote, the pages. Young Bruce Timm helped me out with some seriously nice inking on many of them when time got tight.

(A pair of my 6 inch by 9 inch faux cover comps.)
Takashi did the initial Condor and Condor logo designs, Jo Meugniot and I did the coloring, both color guides for the printers and marker color for the originals used on screen. Bill Spicer did the lettering, and Murphy Anderson’s outfit did the color separations. 

(A finished panel featuring the Condor.)
 So, here’s a look at The Claws of Condor, as seen on TV! 

(A large version of this on Masonite hung in the halls of Marvel Productions for many years.)

(My favorite of the Condor Covers.)
(To make the faux comic books, we removed the cover and centerspread from issues of Alpha-Flight and stapled our new art into the books in place of the pages we' d taken out. The Condor art was printed on both slick and pulp paper.)

Sadly for me, the original art for the finished pieces mysteriously disappeared while it was in Universal's hands, so I never got it back -- and Simon and Simon wouldn't take on my case.

Don't forget, you can order my Masked Mayhem magazines on Amazon, including these -- click on the image for ordering information.

Check it out on Amazon!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Modern Monster #1: A Must Have Magazine of the 1960s

When I talk to my baby-boomer buddies who also grew up to become professional writers and artists, it wasn't just comic books they read in the 60s. While the cultural impact of the era's four color funnies -- particularly Batman with its TV series and Marvel with its marvelous new take on superheroic adventure cannot be denied -- paperback books, model kits, gum cards and monster magazines also held considerable sway over our youthful imaginations.

(Even its cover screams out that Modern Monster is a different sort of beast.)

Those monster magazines are of particular importance, and there were some that EVERYbody seems to have read: Famous Monsters, Castle of Frankenstein, Fantastic Monsters of the Films and the subject of this piece, Modern Monster (which became Modern Monsters with its second issue).
(A look at MM and its newstand competion. From Must Have Magazines of the 1960s)
Thanks to the incredibly successful Famous Monsters' pun-filled approach to writing, most mags targeted at the emerging monster fans had a certain Batmanish campiness about them. But not Modern Monsters. It took the subject seriously with well-written histories, thoughtful reviews and surprising interviews, like the one with Don Post in MM's first issue.

(Modern Monsters took its subject seriously with good writing and big, unblemished images,)

Published from the Hollywood Playboy Building Modern Monsters was something else -- color centerfold and all -- and it remains worth reading even today.
(The full color King Kong pull out centerfold)
Here're a few more pages from my digital restoration of the book, including that totally surprising ad for flamenco dancer paintings. Now that's grown up!
(Page from a detailed and well-researched article about the Shock Theater TV movie package.)

(Invasion of the Body Snatchers also gets some great coverage.)
("Humor in a Jugular Vein" -- just like Mad's first issue from over a decade earlier.)

(Any excuse is acceptable when it allows a Julie Adams image to be used.)

(Oh the horror! Flamenco dancers in a monster mag!)

And you can get this issue of The Masked Mayhem Presents Must Have Magazines of the 1960s: Modern Monster #1 on Amazon, too. Just click anywhere on the image below for ordering info.
Order your copy here!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Photobomb Friday: The Green Hornet Buzzes In!

(From Universal's Green Hornet Serial -- highly recommended by the Mayhem)

And you can see the whole serial for free!

Watch the entire serial!

You can help keep The Mayhem's kitties in kibble! Buy a mag on Amazon -- Just click the pic below.

More serial fun!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Sky and I: I Saw Stardust, and I Liked It!

I saw stardust for the first time last night. A stream of glowing, rapidly fading particles arced across about a fifth of the bowl of the sky. I wonder if it was commonly seen in pre-industrial, pre-light pollution times, and before people stayed in to see TV in the evenings. It looked pretty much like the trail of fairy dust behind Tinkerbell in the old Disney TV show's opening -- only better, because it was real and I was with the one I love.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Photobomb Friday: Writing Tips From the Pros

A good science fiction movie writer understands that there is a need to patch any plot holes. From Journey to the Seventh Planet:

Journey might not have been the best sci fi picture of 1962, but after this coverage in Warren's Spacemen Magazine #6, 11 year old Mayhem was ready to believe it was!

Bikinis in space? Those guys knew what their audience wanted!

Don't forget to check out the Masked Mayhem's mighty magazines on Amazon!

Buy it here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It Came From The Fourth Issue! The Magic Of Four #4s

As a youngster growing up during the Silver Age of Comics, I developed a belief that great things happened in the fourth issue of comics -- but only team comics. My ultimately flawed belief system was spawned by this quartet of team-book classics: Justice League of America #4, Fantastic Four #4, Avengers #4, and Uncanny X-Men #4.
(The foundation of my youthful beliefs)
First up, Justice League #4 brought Green Arrow out of the shadows and into the limelight for my spellbound eyes.
(What to heck? When did Green Arrow get interesting?)
He never seemed like much to me prior to this comic story, but when the 'real' heroes of the DC world vetted him as being cooler than ice cream, how could I disagree?
(They like him! They REALLY like him!)
(Well, I guess he is cool now...)
Fantastic Four #4 was a mind-blowing book, too. In the previous issue, The Human Torch walked off the team!
(It's as if Aquaman turned bad.)
Then, as the story picks up in this issue, his teammates can't even find him! Good golly! And then... then, it turns out he's been hiding in a flophouse. Unthinkable! Batman or Green Lantern would never visit a flophouse! (Note: young innocent that I was, I didn't know exactly what said flophouse was, but I did know it couldn't be good.)

And then -- the Torch reads a comic about a hero I'd never heard of, The Submariner. But wait! That old bearded bum in the flophouse is none other than the Submariner -- and he's not happy about it when the Torch revives his memory!
(Flophouse, old comics, bums and superheroes? I was hooked.)
 Amazingly, at the story's end, the former hero goes away mad and vows revenge!
(This was bold new territory for a comic book of the era.)
 The most teased superhero revival of the era happened in Avengers #4 with the return of Captain America.
(Pure magic on paper, often referenced, but never equaled.)
We'd first seen the villainous Acrobat impersonating Cap back in Strange Tales #114:
(I'd never seen Captain America, but knew he was great from just this wonderful cover image.)
(DC never had action like this, or dialogue with that flair.)
The Torch defeats the evil impersonator, then, looking at his old comics, wonders if  the real Cap might return someday. And even better, the editors asked if we wanted the revival to happen!
(Would we like Captain America to return? Would we ever!)
Strangely enough, Cap's next appearance was not in a Marvel comic but in a Warren magazine, Screen Thrills Illustrated #7.
(The serial Captain America did seem a bit portly, but who cared?)
 It cover featured the Star-Spangled Avenger, and had an article detailing his past as a comics and serial star...
(That golden Age art in the background stuck in my imagination and got looked at over and over again.)
...and his coming return in Avengers #4! It was a long couple of months waiting for that comic.
(This was the first time I ever saw a comic cover months prior to publication -- and in glorious black and white, too.)
When the actual comic finally came out, it delivered on the promise with one of the best stories of the Silver Age.
(This splash page said it all, there could be no doubt. Captain America was something special.)
(To this day, one of my favorite comics of all time. What a great tease for that which was still to come.)
 And while Avengers #4 marked the return of a classic character, The Uncanny X-Men #4 introduced two new antiheroes destined to be major draws to this day: Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch.
(So what if the Scarlet Witch was colored green on the cover?)
(So what if Quicksilver was colored green in the story?)

(The ending left us wanting more of those two not truly evil Evil Mutants!)
While my belief in fourth issues was shattered over time, these #4s are four well worth remembering.

And, finally -- don't forget you can get even more Mayhem on Amazon!

More reasonably priced Mayhem!