Saturday, January 29, 2011

Science Fiction/Double Feature Presents: Mutineers of Ganymede! (Ziff-Davis;1951)

We are continuing with the wonderful stores from Amazing Adventures #4 (Jul-Aug 1951); originally published by Ziff-Davis. "Mutineers of Ganymede!" is beautifully illustrated by a sure-fire combo of classic artists, Dan Barry & Murphy Anderson. This was one of the specific tales that prompted me to run the entire Amazing Adventures series in the Catacombs. Just looking at stuff like this drives home the sad fact that too damn many current artists - even some of the most celebrated - lack basic composition skills. I don't at all mean that newer fanboy artists can't draw, but their "storytelling" talents are built primarily around selling a single page of splash panel-style art - post-production, of course.

Look at this lush story by Barry & Anderson. Every...single...panel is a self-contained gem that effectively moves the reader on to the next one; plus each page has a clear beginning, middle and end. This simple feat is lost on most of todays illustrators and don't even get me started on what passes for writing (yes, I'm talking about guys like you Bendis).

The second feature today is the text filler, "Written on the Rocks." Be here next Saturday for further golden age edification (and thanks for stopping by).

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Gal" Friday! Denise Bidot

Denise Bidot is a Plus Size Model, originally from Miami, Fl. She is half Puerto Rican and half Kuwaiti, giving her a very unique look.

After moving to the west coast at age eighteen, and unsuccessful efforts to break into show business, Denise enrolled in makeup school and while working in that capacity for a segment of the Tyra Banks Show about self image, Denise met a Plus Size Model who asked if she would do makeup for an upcoming photoshoot she had. Eager to work, Denise accepted and it was there that she met the photographer who would change her life. That photographer was Sita Mae Edwards, who was very well known in the plus modeling community. Sita asked if Denise had ever considered plus modeling. Up until that point, it was one of the only things that she hadn't attempted.

Denise agreed to do a test shoot with Sita, figuring she had nothing to loose. Unknown to Denise, the photographer posted the images from the shoot on a well known bulletin board and they generated a huge response. Within no time, Denise was approached by clients asking her to model for their lines, and soon after Brand Model and Talent signed Denise. She has fronted campaigns for Kohl's, Forever 21+, Torrid, Leg Avenue, Kiyonna, Intimate Attitudes, Hips and Curves and graced the pages of magazines like Glamour and Plus Model Magazine. You will be seeing much more from this young lady.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tiger Girl in "The Mysterious Tusk Men" (Fiction House;1946)

As promised on Tuesday, here is a second classic adventure starring Tiger Girl from Fight Comics #46 (Oct.1946); originally published by Fiction House during the golden age. Since this story also lacked a titled, I've given it one. Watch as Princess Vishnu, and her trusted companions, Abdola & Benzali encounter "The Mysterious Tusk Men", in a story written by Allan O'Hara and illustrated by Matt Baker & John Forte.

The Catacombs is grateful to Don "Zu-Gogo" Falkos for providing the scans for this story. Note: The copyright for this issue, its contents and artwork belong to the original publisher and/or creators and is reproduced here solely for entertainment purposes.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Retro-View: Sabre #2 (Eclipse Comics)

Sabre #2 (Oct. 1982) was written by creator Don McGregor and drawn by artist Paul Gulacy. This issue reprints the second part of the original “Sabre" graphic album of 1978 – published for the first time in full color - by Eclipse Comics.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, “Slow Fade of an Endangered Species” has Sabre awakening in the Synchronization Center of the Overseers lair, where he undergoes brainwashing attempts to subvert his own identity and thus make him an effective drone to serve the greater needs of this society. Various snippets of his past life are obliterated via the nefarious machines, and once Sabre appears to have been broken by the ordeal, the Overseer orders his female aide, Misty, to test him. A nearby monitor shows mercenary, Blackstar Blood’s men beginning their planned rape of Sabre’s lover, Melissa Siren. Blackstar Blood, who believed his captured foe to be an honorable opponent, is disgusted by this display and stalks out of the room.

The Overseer, grown confident that Sabre’s non-response to this stimulus indicates compliance, frees his prisoner from his shackles. However Sabre has barely managed to resist his conditioning and immediately lashes back at his captors. Unbeknownst to everyone, Melissa has already slain the worst pair of her defilers and successfully talked the remaining mercenary, Willoughby, into freeing her.

As the battle between Sabre and the Overseer continues, Misty draws a deadly bead on the unaware Sabre, intending to kill him. Before she can pull the trigger, she is shot to death by the returning Blackstar Blood, in payback for Sabre’s earlier injury at the hands of his men. Blood now makes a play for Sabre himself, pleased that his foe has escaped the Overseer (and grateful for a chance to confront him again).

Melissa Siren has released all of the imprisoned Settlers and during the tumult that ensues, she races to assist Sabre. Blackstar fires a blast that violently destroys a closing monorail car, throwing Melissa from her stallion and also distracting the Overseer enough for Sabre to blow his brains out. Sabre and Melissa are reunited, and since Blood is suddenly unemployed, their conflict is ended as well.

A brief epilogue, set two months later, shows Sabre leaving the pregnant Melissa behind even as the militias remaining forces are drawing close to the couples current location. This sets up elements that will continue into the following issues all new story material.

The Eclipse issues which reprinted the original graphic album in color, also featured many comic book firsts including a graphic childbirth and a kiss between gay men. The lead characters, Sabre and Melissa Siren, were a revolutionary pairing for comics back in 1978. He was a strong leading black male hero, and she was a blond white female. These days that would barely rate a ripple in the news media. The subsequent Sabre comic book series ran for fourteen issues, but with artists Billy Graham and Jose Ortiz, instead of Paul Gulacy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tiger Girl in "Thunder on the Veldt" (Fiction House;1946)

Tiger Girl (aka Princess Vishnu) faces strange goings on in her neck of the jungle in an untitled tale that I have christened "Thunder on the Veldt" from Fight Comics #42 (Feb.1946); originally published by Fiction House. The story is credited to Allan O'Hara and the art is by Matt Baker.

The Catacombs is grateful to Don "Zu-Gogo" Falkos for providing the scans for this story. Note: The copyright for this issue, its contents and artwork belong to the original publisher and/or creators and is reproduced here solely for entertainment purposes.

The color palette on this particular story is much more muted than many of the other Tiger Girl adventures that I have on file, so come back this Thursday for another example of this golden age classic strip.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

In Memorium: Johnny Storm

Fantastic Four #587 hits shops one day earlier than the other new comics this week. That allows everyone a chance to see which member of the "first family" of Marvel Comics bites the dust. For those of you who may remember, the Catacombs made a prediction on December 26, 2010 and while I'm not gonna say I told you so, click here to see that post, and then head to the stores early Tuesday morning.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Charlotte Minicon!!

Hey folks, I spent the day in Charlotte, NC, cozying up inside the historic Palmer Building at Fireman’s Hall (which is just half a mile from the host store, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find) for the Charlotte Minicon. For the admission price of just $3, not only did the large (huge) crowd get to check out this cool, old building; you also got to hang with special guests including Rich Barrett, Chris Brunner, J. Chris Campbell, Sanford Greene, Dustin Harbin, Jason Latour, Budd Root, Bridgit Scheide, Andy Smith and Chrissie Zullo. Scoring a sketch from one of these talented artists was only part of the fun. There was a room full of dealers from all over the Southeast selling their comic wares.

As a special bonus treat, the Charlotte Mini-Con featured pony rides for the kids for an additional small donation to the Latta Plantation Equestrian Center. All funds raised will go to erect a covered area at the center. There is probably not another convention that can boast that they had pony rides!

It's always fun to attend Shelton Drum's events along with my brother David and our buddy, Burt Dellinger.

Thanks to Dave Shankle, I picked up the classic treasures (pictured; above), plus a nice stack of Crossgen books from another dealer for $1 each.

Science Fiction/Double Feature Presents: Adonis 2 PX-89 (Ziff-Davis;1951)

This week kicks off the assortment of tales from Amazing Adventures #4 (Jul-Aug 1951); originally published by Ziff-Davis. The GCD attributes the painted front cover to Murphy Anderson, but I'm not so sure. The inside front cover piece "What Is The Answer?" contains six amazing facts that may or may not be true and the lead feature, "Adonis 2PX-89" concerns two aliens who plan the destruction of Earth even as their robots fall in love. Finally, "This Actually Happened" details weird events that have no explanation.


Friday, January 21, 2011

"Gal" Friday! Sarah Shahi

Here is an awesome new "hottie" who is well worth checking out!

Sarah Shahi (Aahoo Jahansouzshahi) is an American actress of Iranian and Mexican descent, but the former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader is probably best known for starring on Showtime in The L Word as Carmen de la Pica Morales and Life as Detective Dani Reese. She just began starring as "Kate Reed" in the new USA Network drama, Fairly Legal. I'm a pretty tough sell on start-up programs, and was surprised to find her performance engaging enough that I may give this show a chance. If nothing else, Sarah's phenomenal good looks are worth the price of admission alone, and she has nice acting chops to boot.

She is apparently a great-great-granddaughter of the 19th century Iranian king Fath Ali Shah Qajar. In fact her real given name, Aahoo, is Persian for deer. Shahi has a brown belt in karate and is married to actor Steve Howey, whom she met when she guest starred on Reba.

Lucky bastard!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Princess Pantha in "M’Gana, Dread Overlord of the Savage Wilds" (Nedor;1947)

Well, since it appears that I stumbled into a "cat girls week", with Marga the Panther Woman (on Tuesday) and Anne Hathaway (late posting originally meant for Wednesday), let's just go with the flow.

This is the final portion of the "M'Gana" serial that pitted Princess Pantha against the large gorilla, from Thrilling Comics #60 (June 1947); originally published by Better/Standard/Nedor. I have to mention that seeing Princess Pantha repeatedly upstaged by her white hunter-boyfriend, Dane Hunter, really irritates me. As I look ahead to subsequent Pantha tales, that aspect seems to lessen somewhat, and since she IS the lead hero, why it took the company a while to realize that is beyond me. Ralph Mayo is the featured interior artist and Alex Schomburg provides the cover art for this golden age classic.

The Catacombs is grateful to Don "Zu-Gogo" Falkos for providing the scans for this story. Note: The copyright for this issue, its contents and artwork belong to the original publisher and/or the creators and is reproduced here solely for entertainment purposes.