Sunday, August 5, 2007

A final Comic-Con '07 epilogue: Examining the haul! - - plus a flickr cover gallery link

(click on images to ENLARGE)

I arrived back home from San Diego last Monday, all the Con swag I shipped to myself arrived here this past Thursday evening.

I've been having fun opening stuff up, organizing, sorting, updating want lists, and - - oh yeah, leafing through a neato stack of old funny books.

I think the last time I went on any sort of a significant comics safari was back in 2004, the last time I was at Comic-Con. So I was ready for the hunt, and the hunt was good.

It would have been swell to find some issues of 'Sugar & Spike' that I'm missing, and I'm still shocked I couldn't find ANY issues of 'Rex, The Wonder Dog' ANYWHERE, needed or not needed. But yes, still a good hunt...

My official want list is almost exclusively old DC comics stuff, which I've been collecting most of my life.

I did time as a Marvel zombie in my teens, and that somehow led me to undergrounds and independents and small press and everything else.

I found some surprisingly good deals with the San Diego comics vendors - -

- - Some choice gems, some great bargain bin finds.

Going beyond filling holes in the want list, I also found myself delving in to more oddball 1960's stuff from publishers like Dell, Gold Key, Harvey, the recently-referenced Mighty Comics, and others.

What fun!

Here's just a few highlights,
and as promised,
*** I've put together a cover gallery of some of my scores from this trip to share with you, over at flickr. (click link) ***

Hope you enjoy!

At the Con, during a brief hello visit with 'Yikes!' artist Steven Weissman, we talked just for a moment about those old Mighty Comics, how their ham-fisted mimicry of the Marvel Comics style of the sixties fell short of the mark, but revealed so much more about American culture of that era.

Steven described to me one of his very favorite panels from one of those stories, that he thought might be The Shield or The Mighty Crusaders.
As luck would have it, I found a nice handful of some of those and other Mighty titles later that same day, and there was the sequence in question!
It's the final panel in this scanned excerpt (below, from Mighty Comics #41, 1966).

As we join this story in progress, in his civilian identity as Bill Higgins, The Shield is leaving an employment agency, upset and frustrated over his inability to hold a job. Seems once again, super-heroics have interfered with bringing in a steady paycheck...

Gear! Scoobie - Doo! They just don't quite write 'em like that anymore. Maybe they should.

As to the rest of the story - - During filming in Hollywood, The Shield and Black Hood fall under the influence of a 'hate ray' hidden in the movie camera by a scheming gangster's crony. While fighting to the death, they accidentally smash the camera, break free of the ray's control and foil the plot against them.

At the finale, The Black Hood insists that their film wages should be donated to charity, as it would be wrong to commercialize their careers. The Shield reluctantly agrees, thinking to himself - - "Gosh! I feel Noble! I'll try to remember this unselfish glow next time I'm hungry!"

Among my fun 'n' trashy Gold Key finds was 'Hanna-Barbera Hi-Adventure Heroes' #2 (with a stupendously boring cover). It features some of the various hero teams from TV's 'Banana Splits Adventure Hour', including ‘The Arabian Knights'.

Even if they were anglicized messed-up caricatures, there was a time when we had middle-eastern heroes in this country...

I always liked the minor sorcerer Fariik's magic words, and especially the tone that voice actor John Stephenson would use saying them.

(Stephenson was also the voice of Fred Flintstone's boss, Mr. Slate, and of Dr. Benton Quest in some of the early episodes of 'Jonny Quest'.)

I'll still on occasion proudly utter 'Rozan Kobar!' to myself upon achieving some magical feat, like say, parallel parking...

...of course it helps to be a complete nerd.

In this one comic book story, it's also Fariik who manages to pull the tail of Zazuum, the little sidekick donkey, thus triggering his required berserker episode as he brays repeatedly and "explodes into a whirlwind of fighting fury!"

Another favorite obligatory piece of business comes from the shape-changer Bez, and it still makes me question the similarity of his schtick to the alien teen sidekicks on The Super Friends show...

Specifically: Where did The Wonder Twins really get their powers?
Was Bez truly an ‘Arabian’ Knight? - - Or was he also from the planet Exxor?
Was he hiding pointed ears up under that turban??
Did Zan and Jayna know their father??
Unknown to the twins, was Bez perhaps cursed to be trapped in the form of their space monkey, Gleek?

Important questions, all.

One more comics story I must share, because you need to see it too - -

- - It's 'The Earth Went Haywire', from Harvey Comics' 'Alarming Adventures' #3, February 1963. (below)

Not the cover story, but another that reads like a low-rent Twilight Zone.

"The Moon will be full tonight, and almost upon us tomorrow!"

(click on images to ENLARGE)

*** Once again, please head over to flickr for a cover gallery of some old comics I found at Comic-Con '07. (click link) ***

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