Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First Issue Special #1 (April 1975, DC Comics)

I'm currently enjoying the James Robinson run on SUPERMAN, and was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite obscure Jack Kirby creations, ATLAS, featured within the storyline....

Above: The Alex Ross painted covers of Superman #678 & #679

For years, due to a simple misunderstanding over the title of the book, I searched and searched for "Atlas #1", after seeing several in-house advertisements for the book in old DC back issues. For a while I believed that Atlas' title was to have been one of the casualties of the infamous "DC Implosion" of the mid-1970s, a book that had been hyped, yet never produced, because I simply could not find the first issue.

Then, after years of searching the "A" section (for "Atlas") of several comic book shops back issue long-boxes, by ran across 1st Issue Special #1 in an "F" box....y'know...."F" for "first". The truly sad thing was that I was aware of the title "1st Issue Special" due to the first appearance of Travis Morgan, The Warlord having been in one of the later issues and the debut of one of my personal favorite characters from the 1980s, the Mark Shaw incarnation of Manhunter, had been in the fifth issue.

I dumbfoundedly assumed that the "1st Issue Special" section of the cover was a blurb, and not the title logo itself.


Anyways...Atlas has had a few sporadic cameoes in the DCU since this debut book, once as a background character in Waid and Ross' Kingdom Come #2, and this animated bad guy from the Teen Titans Cartoon Network show (from the second season episode, "Only Human"), whose name and character design seems to be influenced by the Kirby creation, though I don't think it was ever acknowledged...

From Wikipedia:

Atlas is a fictional character published by DC Comics. He first debuted in 1st Issue Special #1, (April 1975), and was created by Jack Kirby.

The character of Atlas' first and only appearance prior to Superman #677 was in 1st Issue Special #1. James Robinson brought Atlas back in Superman #678. According to Robinson, Atlas is going to save humanity. "The way I like to look at him is like in the Marvel Universe, Namor is a hero but he really skates the fine line between being a hero and a villain, but he stays on the side of the hero. Atlas, skates that line between hero and villain but he ultimately always falls on the villain side." He continued to say that Atlas will become a major player in the Superman mythos moving forward and there will be some real twists to the character.

Download Link (Hosted by Rapidshare)
First Issue Special #1 CBR file

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Dell Movie Classic #725, 1964)

Quite possibly one of my favorite Christmas films ever, and certainly the one that started me down the path of love for B-Films and Cult Movies...

Some interesting facts I've learned about the film over the years, culled from investigations driven by my insane fascination with the flick:

  • The Martian guns are actually painted Whammo Air Blasters.
  • The Air Force stock footage seen as the military "pursues" the Martians is the same footage used in the opening credit sequence of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
  • Most of the film was shot in an abandoned aircraft hangar on Long Island, New York.
  • Vincent Beck, who portrayed "Voldar" in the film, made his last film appearence as the judge in one of my favoite grindhouse revenge flicks, 1983's Vigilante, directed by Bill Lustig
  • Bill McCutcheon, who played comedy relief Martian Droppo, won a Tony Award portraying gangster Moonface Martin in the 1988 revival of "Anything Goes", and was "Uncle Wally" on Sesame Street from 1984-1992.
  • Pia Zadora's first film role as Martian girl Girmar (age 6)
  • Ned Wertimer, who portrays news reporter Andy Henderson was a staple of 70s sitcoms (he's best known as Ralph Hart on 50 episodes of The Jeffersons), and was one of the "singing gallows pirates" in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (2007)
  • The film was sadly the last role for Doris Rich, who portrayed Mrs. Claus in the film. She would die tragically in a fire 7 years later in 1971 of smoke inhalation.
  • Gene Lindsey, the actor in the crappy polar bear suit, would later go on to be "Randall Drew" in genre favorite soap opera Dark Shadows, and would later appear as Alfred D. Baldwin in All the President's Men (1976)
Download Link (Hosted By Rapidshare)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Dell Movie Classics CBZ file

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Golden Records SLP170, 1964)
Download Link (Hosted By Rapidshare)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas With The Super-Heroes: Limited Collector's Edition C-34 (1974, DC Comics)

These "Treasury"- sized editions (roughly tabloid size) were a staple of 1970s comic book publishing which I sadly miss. Contained in this volume are the following stories:


"Billy Batson's Xmas!" originally presented in CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #69, February 1947.

The real surprise find in this book: A NEW Angel and the Ape story, "The 500,000 Dollar Doll Caper", written by John Albano and illustrated by Bob Oksner and ....WALLY WOOD(!!)

A Swingin' Christmas Carol" Reprinted from TEEN TITANS #13, Feb. 1968.

and, finally- Action Comics #117 (February 1948): "Christmastown, USA"

Like I mentioned, the real treat for me was finding the new Angel and the Ape story (I'm a HUGE fan of both the classic Silver Age series, and the over-looked Vertigo mini from a few years back) that looks to be inked by Wally Wood (another thing...or I should say guy...that I'm a HUGE fan of). I really miss the format, and have been surprised over the last couple years to see these books actually go up in price on the secondary collector's market. Nothing astinishing, but most above the 10 to 12 dollar range.

Download Tip: This CBR file is hosted into separate Rapidshare links, due to size issues. But, you need both pieces to successfully extract the complete CBR.

Download Links (Hosted by Rapidshare)
Part 1
Part 2

DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984, DC Comics)

Around this time, not only was the Last Son of Krypton gearing up for the upcoming CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (1985) and a major continuity overhaul (1986), but it looks as if he's got his hands full during the holiday season helping Santa (who we've to know is tight with Superman and Batman). This time around, replacing deadly toys created by the Toyman that's been distributed around the world.

Ya know...for years since the Byrne revamp, I've always found the tendency to portray the Toyman as a weirdo, creepy child-killer as a bit harsh...but this tale from the pre-CRISIS days just kinda shows ya that he's been bat-shit insane all along.

Plus, I love the fact that the kid that gets Superman involved in all this crazy mess is named "Tim", which I'd like to think was a clever little homage to the "Tim" character from the Golden Age Superman-Tim giveaway comics. (For more info on them, see Dial B For Blog's entry on the promotional giveaways).

Download Link (Hosted by Rapidshare)
DC Comics Presents #67- Superman and Santa Claus CBR file

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Countdown 2008: Superheroes Christmas (Power Records/Peter Pan #8199)

I've owned this record since around the age of 6, and because of it, nothing says Christmas like Wonder Woman beating up a Germanic Nazi type and the image of Batman in a fake beard.

I shared this last year over at our sister blog, ATTACK OF THE B-MOVIE MUZAK, but felt it appropriate for this blog this time around...

Track Listing:

01 Light Up The Tree, Mr. President (Superman)
02 Christmas Carol Caper (Batman)
03 Prisoner of Christmas Island (Wonder Woman)

Download Link (Hosted by Megaupload)