Friday, January 18, 2008

Pop links

Via Again with the Comics: Golden Age Wonder Woman offers advice to the lovelorn and other troubled folk.



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Reed Richards? Not the genius he's made out to be, says Comics Oughtta Be Fun.

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Video via Evan Dorkin: EC Comics and Mad Magazine publisher William M. Gaines on TV's "To Tell the Truth."

The best retcon in the history of comic books

If you follow news about comic books, no doubt you've heard about the "Brand New Day" reboot Marvel Comics is performing on Spider-Man. Spidey's beloved Aunt May is in a coma, on the verge of death and, in order to bring her back, the Web Slinger shakes hands with the devil--in the shape of the Mephisto.

Mephisto makes good on his part of the deal, but in the process Peter Parker's life has been reset. He's no longer married to Mary Jane Watson, he's a 20-something bachelor living with his aunt. Essentially everything's back to the way it was back in the Stan Lee-John Romita days or, probably what Marvel is really after, just like it is in the Spider-Man movies.

It all happens in Amazing Spider-Man 545 and there's loads of Web and mainstream media press about it. And, naturally, lots of longtime fans aren't too happy about it.

Me, I don't really care. I haven't read a new Spidey comic in years and years, so I'm not vested in all that continuity that's being wiped out. But I do get frustrated with all the hype and controversy these retcons/reboots generate. I just don't see the point (well, I do see the point of publishers wanting to generate sales with the cheap stunt of arbitrarily changing the status quo from time to time).

Why not just continue working with what you have? Quit playing with the pieces of the past, and tell Spider-Man stories. Don't like some aspect of past continuity? Ignore it. But why bother confusing new and old readers by relentlessly tinkering and finding silly ways to change the past or wipe it out?

These situations always make me think of what I think is the best, most effective, example of comics creators resetting a character and series: That of the 1970s Batman.

After years of campy, silly plots that both inspired and were inspired by the 1960s "Batman" TV series, it was felt Batman should be brought back to basics: Make him a dark avenger of the night again. Dispense with Robin and all the Bat gimmicks. Make Batman a non-powered guy in a costume with nothing to fall back on but his wits.

And, you know what? Writer Frank Robbins and artist Irv Novick made the change in five pages of an in-continuity issue: Batman #127 in 1969 with the story "One Bullet Too Many."

In the first three pages a glum Bruce Wayne and Alfred ship Dick Grayson off to college. Then, once Dick's out the door, Bruce announces "It's time we all started a new way of life! A new way of everything!" He's shutting up the Batcave. He's streamling and getting rid of all the Batgadgets and he's ditching stately Wayne Manor for a pad in the Gotham City, where he'll be in closer thumping distance of criminals.

Blam! "This is the way things are now," the readers are told. And then it's straight into that issue's main plot. No big mini-series or crossover event. No big cosmic event or crisis. No big nothing. Just a clear statement that "we're changing direction now."

The whole thing is a splendid model of how to change the course of a character or series.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Watch out, super villains!

Here comes Spider-Man on his, um, pink motor scooter...



First Enterprise pic from upcoming Star Trek film

Here's our first look at the U.S.S. Enterprise from J.J. Abrams' upcoming "Star Trek" movie.



The official site for the film also went up recently, but there's not much to see yet.

1960s Batman manga collected

Batmania struck the U.S. in the wake of the Caped Crusader's ABC TV series. But did you know Japan fell under Adam West's spell, too? Apparently so. Graphic designer Chip Kidd, who compiled the jaw-droppingly beautiful "Batman Collected" a few years back has a new book in the works called "Bat Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan." It's set for September release.

According to IVC2:

Jiro Kuwata, the artist on Kazumasi Hirai's 8-Man, which is considered the first cyborg superhero manga, drew the Japanese Batman manga, which was published in Shonen King magazine.

Possible release for 15 unissued Beatles tunes

Fuego Entertainment of Miami intends to release 15 previously unreleased live tunes recorded by the Beatles in 1962 at Hamburg's Star Club. These tunes, reportedly feature Ringo Starr subbing for the group's then-drummer Pete Best. Songs include covers of Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" and Maurice Williams' "Do You Believe," along with "Twist and Shout", "I Saw Her Standing There", "Hippy Hippy Shake", "A Taste of Honey", "Money" and "Ask Me Why."

No release date is set, but I'm sure the Beatles' Apple Corps. will be fighting this tooth and nail. A previous collection of Star Club recordings released in the 1970s made the band very unhappy and has been available since only on gray area/quasi bootleg releases. The sound quality was lousy and I doubt these unreleased recordings sound much better.

More.

Various radio programs of interest

NPR has a few online broadcasts folks here may be interested in.

First up, there's a feature on the Lone Ranger that old-time radio buffs may enjoy.

And for Beatles fans there's this interview with photographer Astrid Kirchherr, the band's friend from their Hamburg, Germany, days, and a feature on troubled Vee-Jay record label, which as the first U.S. company to issue the group's music.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Holy Bat-memorabilia!

Here's a batch of found-on-Ebay Batproducts.

Batphone!



Batwatch!


Batmug!




Batgarbage can!


New comics Jan. 16, 2008

Here's what's new in comic shops this week:

DARK HORSE COMICS

SEP070030 DARK HORSE HEROES OMNIBUS TP $24.95
OCT070112 DISNEY PIRATES O/T CARIBBEAN PIN GACHA PI
JUL070074 DISNEY PRINCESS FIGURES SER 7 GACHA CAPSULE PI
SEP070031 DOCTOR GRORDBORTS CONTRAPULATRONIC DINGUS DIRECTORY HC $12.95
OCT070011 FEAR AGENT #18 HATCHET JOB (PT 2 OF 5) $2.99
NOV070044 GRENDEL BEHOLD THE DEVIL #3 (OF 8) $3.50
SEP070037 GROO HELL ON EARTH #3 (OF 4) $2.99
SEP070100 KOTOBUKIYA ROYAL GUARD VINYL MODEL KIT $125.00
NOV070141 NINTENDO ANIMAL CROSSING CHARM FIGURE SER 2 GACHA CAPSULE PI
AUG070181 SIMPSONS DIORAMA #3 MOVIE GACHA CAPSULE PI
NOV070047 UMBRELLA ACADEMY APOCALYPSE SUITE #5 (OF 6) $2.99
SEP070134 WTP PEEK A POOH SER 15 GACHA CAPSULE SCHOOL PI
NOV070138 WTP PEEK A POOH SER 15 GACHA CAPSULE SCHOOL (O/A) PI
OCT070106 WTP PEEK A POOH SER 15 GACHA CAPSULE SCHOOL (O/A) PI

DC COMICS

JUN070286 AME COMI BATGIRL VINYL FIGURE $39.99
JUN070287 AME COMI CATWOMAN VINYL FIGURE $39.99
NOV070200 BIRDS OF PREY #114 $2.99
NOV070183 BOOSTER GOLD #6 $2.99
NOV070193 CATWOMAN #75 $2.99
SEP078087 CATWOMAN #75 VAR ED $2.99
NOV070204 CHECKMATE #22 $2.99
OCT070223 CIPHER VOL 10 $9.99
NOV070203 COUNTDOWN SPECIAL THE NEW GODS $4.99
NOV070166 COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS 15 $2.99
OCT070251 DOOM PATROL TP VOL 06 PLANET LOVE $19.99
NOV070205 FLASH #236 $2.99
NOV078069 FREDDY VS JASON VS ASH #1 (OF 6) 2ND PTG $2.99
SEP070219 HARLEY QUINN PRELUDES AND KNOCK KNOCK JOKES HC $24.99
OCT070224 I HATE YOU MORE THAN ANYONE VOL 03 $9.99
NOV070208 JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #17 $2.99
NOV070247 LEGION OF SUPER HEROES IN THE 31ST CENTURY #10 $2.25
NOV070267 PROGRAMME #7 (OF 12) $2.99
NOV070189 ROBIN #170 $2.99
NOV070252 SCOOBY DOO #128 $2.25
NOV070217 SHADOWPACT #21 $2.99
NOV070264 WILDSTORM REVELATIONS #2 (OF 6) $2.99
NOV070272 WORLD OF WARCRAFT #3 $2.99

IMAGE COMICS

NOV072010 76 #1 (OF 8) $2.99
AUG071997 AMORY WARS #5 (OF 5) $2.99
NOV072012 CEMETERY BLUES #1 $3.50
MAY071848 FELL #9 $1.99
OCT072010 GRAVESLINGER #3 (OF 4) $3.50
OCT072011 HAWAIIAN DICK #2 $2.99
JUL071960 SPAWN #174 $2.95
OCT072021 STEVE NILES STRANGE CASES #3 $2.50
SEP072029 WITCHBLADE BASRI CVR B #113 $2.99
SEP072028 WITCHBLADE CHOI & OBACK CVR A #113 $2.99

MARVEL COMICS

NOV072132 AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #16 $2.99
OCT072078 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #547 BND $2.99
NOV072134 AVENGERS CLASSIC #8 $2.99
NOV072189 CABLE DEADPOOL #49 $2.99
NOV072234 ESSENTIAL CAPTAIN AMERICA TP VOL 01 NEW PTG $16.99
NOV072233 ESSENTIAL MARVEL SAGA TP VOL 01 $16.99
NOV072215 FANTASTIC FOUR AND POWER PACK DIGEST TP $7.99
OCT072187 HEROES FOR HIRE TP VOL 03 WORLD WAR HULK $13.99
NOV072208 HOUSE OF M HC $29.99
NOV072212 HULK PREM HC THE END $19.99
NOV072213 HULK PREM HC THE END DM ED VOL 8 $19.99
OCT072100 IMMORTAL IRON FIST #12 $2.99
OCT072102 INCREDIBLE HERCULES #113 $2.99
OCT078499 INCREDIBLE HERCULES #113 VAR (PP #796) $2.99
NOV072148 IRON MAN POWER PACK #3 (OF 4) $2.99
NOV072158 MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS #20 $2.99
NOV072156 MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #35 $2.99
NOV072159 MARVEL ADVENTURES TWO-IN-ONE #7 $4.99
NOV072161 MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #5 $3.99
NOV072117 MARVEL ILLUSTRATED ILIAD #2 (OF 8) $2.99
NOV072193 NEW EXILES #1 $2.99
NOV072194 NEW EXILES #1 GOLDEN VAR $2.99
NOV072168 NEW WARRIORS #8 $2.99
NOV072183 NEW X-MEN #46 MC $2.99
OCT072101 PENANCE RELENTLESS #4 (OF 5) $2.99
NOV072225 THUNDERBOLTS BY ELLIS VOL 1 FAITH IN MONSTERS TP $19.99
OCT078510 ULTIMATES 3 #1 (OF 5) 2ND PTG WRAPAROUND VAR (PP #796) $2.99
NOV078021 UNCANNY X-MEN #493 2ND PTG VAR $2.99
NOV072188 WOLVERINE ORIGINS #21 $2.99
NOV072152 WORLD WAR HULK AFTERSMASH WARBOUND #2 (OF 5) $2.99
NOV072214 X-FACTOR PREM HC MADROX MULTIPLE CHOICE $19.99
NOV078022 X-MEN #205 2ND PTG VAR $2.99

WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT

NOV073221 WIZARD ANIME INSIDER NANA CVR #53 $4.99

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COMICS

NOV078042 ANGEL AFTER THE FALL #1 3RD PTG (PP #797) $3.99
NOV078120 ANGEL AFTER THE FALL #2 2ND PTG (PP #798) $3.99
NOV073636 ANGEL AFTER THE FALL #3 $3.99
NOV073320 BETTY #171 $2.25
OCT073464 BLOODRAYNE AUTOMATON CVR A $3.99
OCT073465 BLOODRAYNE AUTOMATON CVR B $3.99
NOV073422 BONE COLOR ED HC VOL 07 GHOST CIRCLES $19.99
NOV073421 BONE COLOR ED SC VOL 07 GHOST CIRCLES $9.99
OCT073700 BONEYARD #27 $2.95
OCT078534 BTX GN VOL 14 (OF 16) (PP #796) $9.99
OCT073912 CASE CLOSED GN VOL 21 $9.99
NOV073272 CHUMBLE SPUZZ GN VOL 01 KILL THE DEVIL $10.95
SEP073889 CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED DELUXE HC VOL 01 WIND IN THE WILLOWS $17.95
SEP073888 CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED DELUXE SC VOL 01 WIND IN THE WILLOWS $13.95
OCT073455 CRUSHING LOVE GN $12.95
NOV073535 DF GRIMM FAIRY TALES #1 ALT CVR $10.00
JUN073584 DISNEYS DUCKTALES BY MARV WOLFMAN SCROOGES QUEST TP $15.99
OCT073354 DOMINION #4 (OF 5) (RES) $3.99
OCT073542 EC ARCHIVES CRIME SUSPENSTORIES HC VOL 1 $49.95
SEP073280 FEMFORCE #142 $6.95
AUG073352 FINAL GIRL POCKET MANGA VOL 01 (MAR078373) $15.95
SEP073903 FURRLOUGH #178 $3.99
NOV073706 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE HC ALI BABA $26.60
NOV073707 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE HC GUAN YU $26.60
NOV073708 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE HC HERO TWINS $26.60
NOV073709 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE HC PEREUS HUNT FOR MEDUSAS HEAD $26.60
NOV073711 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE HC TRISTAN & ISOLDE $26.60
NOV073712 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE SC AMATERASU RETURN OF THE SUN $8.95
NOV073713 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE SC ATALANTA RACE AGAINST DESTINY $8.95
NOV073714 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE SC DEMETER & PERSEPHONE $8.95
NOV073715 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE SC JASON QUEST FOR GOLDEN FLEECE $8.95
NOV073716 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE SC ROBIN HOOD OUTLAW OF SHERWOOD FOREST $8.95
NOV073717 GRAPHIC UNIVERSE SC YU THE GREAT CONQUERING THE FLOOD $8.95
NOV073516 HEROES ARE EXTINCT GN VOL 03 $12.95
AUG073692 HIKKATSU VOL 2 GN (MAR078244) $10.99
SEP073637 INSOMNIA #3 $7.95
NOV073325 JUGHEAD AND FRIENDS DIGEST #26 $2.49
OCT073904 KAMIKAZE GIRLS NOVEL $9.99
NOV073540 KNOWLEDGE IS POWER THE WORLD ASKEW #4 (OF 4) $2.95
NOV073698 LADY DEATH #0 SUPERNATURAL EDITION $11.99
OCT073506 LAST MUSKETEER SC $12.95
OCT073596 LIFELIKE HC $19.99
OCT073739 LOVE BYTES GN $9.95
NOV073776 MANGA BIBLE SC FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION $12.95
NOV073601 MIKI FALLS GN VOL 04 WINTER $7.99
OCT073509 MOME GN VOL 10 $14.95
OCT073732 NANCY DREW HC VOL 12 DRESS REHEARSAL $12.95
OCT073731 NANCY DREW SC VOL 12 DRESS REHEARSAL $7.95
OCT073242 NINJA HIGH SCHOOL #156 $2.99
OCT073707 OPERATION LIBERATE MEN GN VOL 02 $9.99
NOV073327 PALS N GALS DOUBLE DIGEST #118 $3.69
SEP078073 RUROUNI KENSHIN VIZ BIG ED GN VOL 01 (OF 9) $17.99
NOV073407 SIMPSONS COMICS #138 $2.99
NOV073329 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #184 $2.25
NOV073632 ST TNG INTELLIGENCE GATHERING #1 (OF 5) $3.99
OCT073874 STRANDED #1 $2.99
OCT073585 TRANSFORMERS DEVASTATION #4 $3.99
AUG073869 TREASURY VICTORIAN MURDER VOL 2 JACK THE RIPPER SC NEW PTG $9.95
OCT073362 TWO GUNS #5 (RES) $3.99
AUG073774 ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS VS AMAZONS #2 (OF 3) $3.99

MAGAZINES

NOV073947 ALTER EGO #75 $6.95
NOV073948 BACK ISSUE #26 $6.95
NOV073984 CINEMA RETRO #10 $11.99
NOV073961 COMICS BUYERS GUIDE #1639 MARCH 2008 $5.99
NOV073983 CSI MAGAZINE #2 $6.99
NOV074616 DARK REALMS MAGAZINE #29 $6.00
OCT073969 FANGORIA FEB 2008 #270 $8.99
NOV073970 GIRASOL PULP DOUBLES SPIDER VOL 6 MASTER OF MEN $14.95
NOV073988 HEROES MAGAZINE #2 NEWSSTAND ED $6.99
NOV073989 HEROES MAGAZINE #2 PX ED $6.99
OCT073958 LEES TOY REVIEW JAN 2008 #183 $5.95
NOV073963 LOCUS #564 JANUARY 2008 $6.95
NOV073990 PRISON BREAK MAGAZINE #8 $6.99
NOV073993 SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE #65 $8.95
OCT073881 SHOJO BEAT FEB 08 $5.99
NOV073995 STAR WARS INSIDER #99 NEWSSTAND ED $5.99
NOV073996 STAR WARS INSIDER #99 PX ED $5.99

Details on Lost season 4 opener

UPDATED: SEE a full roundup of the season 4 opener HERE!


Highlight the hidden text below for details on the Jan. 31 season premiere of "Lost."

The ep will follow an hour-long clip fest refreshing us on what happened, ages ago, during season 3. And, if you want even more of a flashback, tune into ABC Jan. 30 for a rerun of the two-hour season 3 climax, "Through the Looking Glass."

Awarded the 2005 Emmy and 2006 Golden Globe for Best Drama Series, "Lost" returns for its fourth season of action-packed mystery and adventure -- that will continue to bring out the very best and the very worst in the people who are lost -- THURSDAY, JANUARY 31 (9:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

After Oceanic Air flight 815 tore apart in mid-air and crashed on a Pacific island, its survivors were forced to find inner strength they never knew they had in order to survive. But they discovered that the island holds many secrets, including a mysterious smoke monster, polar bears, housing and hatches with electricity and hot & cold running water, a group of island residents known as "The Others" and a mysterious man named Jacob. The survivors have also found signs of those who came to the island before them, including a 19th century sailing ship called The Black Rock, the remains of an ancient statue, as well as bunkers belonging to the Dharma Initiative -- a group of scientific researchers who inhabited the island in the recent past.

In the season premiere episode, "The Beginning of the End," feeling that their rescue is close at hand, the survivors don't know whether to believe Charlie's final message that the people claiming to liberate them are not who they seem to be.

The band of friends, family, enemies and strangers must continue to work together against the cruel weather and harsh terrain if they want to stay alive. But as they have discovered during their 90-plus days on the island, danger and mystery loom behind every corner, and those they thought could be trusted may turn against them. Even heroes have secrets.

"Lost" stars Naveen Andrews as Sayid, Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond, Emilie de Ravin as Claire, Michael Emerson as Ben, Matthew Fox as Jack, Jorge Garcia as Hurley, Josh Holloway as Sawyer, Daniel Dae Kim as Jin, Yunjin Kim as Sun, Evangeline Lilly as Kate, Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet, Terry O'Quinn as Locke and Harold Perrineau as Michael.

Guest starring are Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Sam Anderson as Bernard, L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Blake Bashoff as Karl, Marsha Thomason as Naomi, Michael Cudlitz as Mike Walton, Lance Reddick as Matthew Abbadon, Grisel Toledo as orderly, Steven Neumeier as Lewis, Billy Ray Gallion as Randy, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday and John Terry as Christian Shephard.

"The Beginning of the End" was written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse and directed by Jack Bender.

We're back!

Hello new and old readers!

This is John, publisher of Pop Culture Safari and the This is Pop Culture! Web site.

Rather than continuing to operate both sites, I've opted to redirect This is Pop Culture! visitors here to my daily blog, Pop Culture Safari.

There will be lots of news and views on various aspects of pop culture here, plus you can search through the entire TIPC! archives as well.

If you're really looking for a nugget of info and can't find it, send me a note. Maybe I can help out.

Thanks for reading!

James Bond stamps go on sale in UK

A series of stamps commemorating the 100th birthday of James Bond creator Ian Fleming has gone on sale in Britain.

The series depicts classic James Bond book cover art. Here's a pic from Bond fansite MI6:

Super vans!

Bat-Blog's posting of Mego's Batman and Joker vans yesterday inspired me to put these up: Spider-Man's Mobile Crime Lab and the Hulk Van. It seemed like, in the 70s, every hero had a van! The idea of the Hulk driving one, though, cracks me up.



DVD new releases Jan. 8, 2008


3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Edition)



Gunsmoke - The Second Season, Vol. 1



The All-New Superfriends Hour: Season One, Vol. 1



Cary Grant 4-Disc Collector's Set (Indiscreet / Operation Petticoat / The Grass Is Greener / That Touch of Mink)

CD new releases Jan. 8, 2008


Juno Original Soundtrack


The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter - Five Years of Music from the Wire

Liverpool 8 [Single] by Ringo Starr


In the Vaults Volume 4 by The Ventures



Rock 'N' Skiffle - Brit Beat Beginnings by Various Artists

Vintage Marvel Comics buttons

More great Marvelmania:









Pop links

"Asterix at the Olympic Games," the third live-action film based on the popular series of French comic albums, is one of the most-expensive movies ever produced in Europe, reports Variety. It premieres Jan. 13 overseas. How come none of these films are available in the U.S.?



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Via Bat-Blog: Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah Batvan!



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From Booksteve: What is the Penguin's sinister plot?

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Today in sharity:



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British actress Gemma Arterton is the latest Bond Girl.

Arterton will play Fields in the Marc Forster-directed movie, which is still known only as ''Bond 22'' and is currently filming in London for Columbia and MGM for a Nov. 7 release.



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Thanks Fred Hembeck for the kind words about this here blog! As a teaser: Fred has promised me an interview about his upcoming new book. Look for it here in coming weeks!

Mighty Marvel merchandise!

Ads for various Marvel Comics products from the company's glory era. I had that cool "Here Comes the Hulk" t-shirt...








Merry Marvel Marching Society ad

To go along with the Stan Lee post below.

When Marvel mattered--in defense of Stan Lee

I spent the past weekend reading and enjoying immensely the latest issue of Alter Ego, one of my favorite mags and one I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone fascinated by comic book history.



I enjoy pretty much every issue of this Roy Thomas-edited mag a lot, but this issue was special, being a tribute to Marvel Comics' publisher/editor/scribe Stan Lee, who celebrated his 85th birthday a few weeks back.

Now Stan, somewhat rightly, gets criticized for being a shameless huckster and self-promoter and most new interviews with him reveal essentially nothing--he trots out the same old stories and anecdotes time and time again.

But, perhaps realizing all that, this Alter Ego yields some fascinating interviews with Stan--the difference being that these are all vintage chats from the late 1960s and early 70s when he and Marvel were at their peak.

Stan, with the considerable and too frequently overlooked contributions of artists Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others, had helped revitalize the superhero genre.

The new approach--dynamic, powerful art, superheroes that argued with one another and who had "real" problems--plus Stan's hyping of such was generating lots of outside-the-genre interest, yielding coverage in the mainstream media. These more sophisticated comics were attracting not just young kids, but college-age readers, too. And Stan was getting invitations to speak on campuses nationwide.

It was a pretty remarkable time, and these interviews--mostly from comics fanzine and hippieish alternative mags of the period--do a great job of capturing it.

I'm an instinctive defender of underdogs so, typically, I'm one of those people who immediately starts touting the contributions of Kirby, Ditko, et. al., any time Stan's name comes up. Too often, he gets sole credit for the creation of multi-million dollar-generating characters others had an equal share in creating--the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Hulk, etc. And it's important that people speak up to put the record straight.

But that said, Marvel wouldn't have been Marvel without Stan. Just as much as Kirby or Ditko's art, his dialogue and over-the-top narration and cover blurbs made those comics come alive. His Bullpen Bulletins and Stan's Soapbox columns and Marvel's fan clubs--first the Merry Marvel Marching Society and later F.O.O.M.--made readers feel like they were part of a movement to make comics more meaningful and fun.

While Stan may have not solely created the Marvel characters, I believe he should get credit for creating the Marvel Universe.

Sure, it was on one level shrewd cross-promotion with the aim of selling more comics, but by establishing that all the Marvel heroes inhabited a shared world and that they regularly encountered one another in each other's titles and were living out a shared history was pretty cool.

For many years, that imaginary, imaginative world was a pretty special place to visit. Unfortunately, like the real world, it's lately become over-populated, chaotic and confusing, but it was great while it lasted. And Stan deserves the credit for creating it.

So, happy late birthday Stan! And thanks!

Underrated pop groups of the 60s: The Move

Born in Birmingham, UK, in the 1966, The Move started out mod, drifted into psychedelia and eventually became a forerunner to power pop. There was also some prog and chamber pop mixed in there as well.

Led by vocalist/songwriter Roy Wood, other members of the band included vocalist Carl Wayne, bassist Chris "Ace" Kefford, guitarist Trevor Burton and drummer Bev Bevan. Former Idle Race singer/guitarist Jeff Lynne joined the band in the early 1970s, following a personnel shakeup.



Notable tunes included the 1812 Overture-quoting "Night of Fear," a #2 UK hit in 1967; the mod/psych "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" (#5 UK hit 1967); the lovely "Flowers in the Rain," (#2 UK hit 1967) and the Beatlesque "Blackberry Way" (#1 UK hit, 1969).

Later on, the band charted with the rocking pop of "California Man" (#7 UK hit, 1972), which was eventually covered by Cheap Trick.

Right around the time that song was released, however, the band split up, with Wood, Lynne and Bevans leaving to form the Electric Light Orchestra.

ELO fans may be interested to know that band's hit "Do Ya," was originally recorded during the Move years and then remade in 1976 by Lynne and company, becoming a major hit.

The Move's original UK albums were recently remastered and expanded and are well worth checking out.

The Move CDs


The Move


Something Else...Plus


Shazam


Looking On


Message from the Country

The Move on YouTube

The Move - California Man

THE MOVE - Night Of Fear

THE MOVE - I Can Hear The Grass Grow

the move - blackberry way

Move - Flowers in the rain

The move - Tonight (German TV 1971)

The Move - Down On The Bay

Pop links

Cartoonist John Byrne is doing a couple of Star Trek comics for IDW Publishing. Newsarama has pics and an interview.



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Golden Age Comic Book Stories presents a whole buncha beautiful Tarzan comics pages by Burne Hogarth.



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The Guardian profiles "Doctor Who" companion Billie Piper.



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The Associated Press spotlights the new (and last) season of the best TV show in the history of mankind, "The Wire." Really, if you haven't seen it, you need to...

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Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Ringo Starr played a secret charity gig together on New Year's Eve.

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Deal alert: Amazonis doing a "buy-one, get-one-free" deal TV on DVD box sets, including "Seinfeld," "Bewitched," "I Dream of Jeannie" and more.