Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FEAR IN FOUR COLORS: LOVECRAFT IN THE COMICS (PART 5)


WEIRD TERROR
Vol. 1 No. 1
September, 1952
Publisher: Alan Hardy Associates
Editor: Alan Hardy
Imprint: Comic Media
Cover: Don Heck

Alan Hardy's WEIRD TERROR sought to emulate the success of the grisly and gruesome EC horror titles. While the stories here are pretty wild, they just don't match the -- dare I say it -- lurid lyricism of Bill Gaines' books. Hardy had worked in the office of Harvey Comics and decided to start a comic company of his own. He created the "Comic Media" imprint and hired Don Heck away from Harvey to produce his horror title. Heck created the cover art and logo and contributed much of the production work as well. He later went on to a career with Marvel Comics and was the co-creator of the now world-famous Iron Man superhero.

Other artists in this issue include: C.A. Winter, Rudy Palais and Don Perlin (who later penciled the Marvel title, WEREWOLF BY NIGHT).

Of particular interest to fans of H.P. Lovecraft is the story included in this issue called, "Portrait of Death", drawn by Rudy Palais. Whether by chance or design, the tale told here is undeniably influenced by Lovecraft's short story, "Pickman's Model".

The scan shown here has two pages missing. The pages were photocopied and added later to make a "complete" issue.

 





























Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SCARY MONSTERS NO. 106 SNEAK PEEK


The fearsome folks at My Movie Monsters have just released a look at their latest, upcoming issue of SCARY MONSTERS, a special tribute issue to the PLANET OF THE APES franchise. The spectacular wrap-around cover is by Scott Jackson.

You can pre-order your very own copy right HERE.

In a spectacular, simian-inspired tribute to the 50th anniversary of the original Planet of the Apes film, our Scary Monsters 106th APE-ocalypse Issue includes "The Apes of Wrath," an in-depth look back at the landmark film series, and "Planet of Primates," which is a "behind the cages" analysis of the science underlying the films.

This 146-pulp-page APE-idemic issue also includes: an exclusive sneak peek and "making of" article on the stunning stop-motion short film Denham's Giant Monster. Actor and film producer Patrick Curtis tells the true tale of trick-or-treating at Bela Lugosi's house in "Count Dracula vs. The 'Little" Wild Bunch." The scary spotlight returns to a long line of Northeast Ohio horror hosts from Ghoulardi to Son of Ghoul.

In addition to many other scary articles, this issue will also include our regular features:

  • Weird USA: a visit to "UFO central" Roswell, New Mexico
  • Kaiju Korner: a review of King Kong's "career" since 1933
  • Strange Days: surviving San Diego Comic-Con International
  • Dr. Gangrene's Mad Interview: Scary Monsters cover artist Scott Jackson
  • Collecting Classic Monsters: debut column for classic horror and sci-fi collectors of all ages

... as well as Scare Mail, Scareviews, Scare-News, Scary Stuff catalog, and much more!
Full color wraparound cover art by Scott Jackson and vintage B&W content with 144 vintage pulp pages for Monster Kids of all ages!

Monday, August 14, 2017

R.I.P. FLO STEINBERG (1939 - 2017)


The "Marvel Universe" lost one its original stars last July 23rd. Boston-born "Fabulous" Flo Steinberg was Stan Lee's secretary at the dawn of the "Marvel Age of Comics" in New York. She also was the company's receptionist and fan liaison.

Flo (or rather, her voice) appeared on the Merry Marvel Marching Society's flexi-disc recording that was a part of the club's membership kit.

After leaving Marvel, she worked for three years as the head of Warren Publishing's mail-order department (don't blame her for the late and lost mail -- blame the shipping department and the Post Office!).

Ms. Steinberg moved to the West Coast and became friends with several individuals in the underground comix industry, including Trina Robbins (who designed the original Vampirella costume) and Roger and Michelle Brand. In 1975, she published her own underground title, BIG APPLE COMIX. The 20,000 print run of the title contained text and stories by many "mainstream", above-ground writers and artists, such as Archie Goodwin and Neal Adams.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

R.I.P. HARUO NAKAJIMA


The world of the giant monster film lost one of its best this last August 7th. Haruo Nakajima (1929 - 2017) stepped into the Godzilla suit for the first time in the original Toho production (GOJIRA, 1954), and played the fire-breathing reptilian for the next twelve films. He also had roles in RODAN, MOTHRA, MATANGO, and FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD. His last film was TIDAL WAVE, a disaster movie, in 1973. He was active until his death making convention appearances and enjoying every minute of it.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

'I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE!' REVIEWED


"I lost both hands to the wrists, a slice of my left buttock, and most of my scalp. And the vision of my right eye. That, too. There were a thousand deaths on Arnhem Land but ours was the worst. Not even a cannibal stew pot could quite compare with it."              - Flying Rodents Ripped My Flesh by Lloyd Parker

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE
Killer Creatures in Men's Magazines
(The Men's Adventure Library Journal)
Editors: Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle
Publisher: #New Texture
Publication Date: July, 2017
Cover: Hardback self-cover
Pages: 126
Price: $24.95

My first "exposure" to men's adventure magazines, besides seeing them tucked in the magazine rack at our local liquor store (hey, they had comics there, too!), was at my friend's house across the street. His uncle was living there at the time, and, along with the PLAYBOYs on his nightstand was the odd assortment of men's adventure magazines. With their colorful cover imagery and titles like STAG (what was that?) and the forbidden-sounding FOR MEN ONLY, it was hard for us to resist taking a peek at them whenever said uncle was absent from the household.

Even this 10-year old's near-zero knowledge of the topic could see that, while the "girlie" photos that were sprinkled throughout these magazine were hardly up to to the quality of PLAYBOY, the other stuff that was in them was an entirely different story. Here were full page and two-page spreads of illustrations, many strangely tinted with a dull, pumkin-y orange color (that I would later recognize as a duo tone illustration technique), depicting various scenes of women in bed, in peril, etc., all showing just enough to raise this youngster's temperature as much as the fold-outs in PLAYBOY. What added to the thrill was that many of these illustrations were battle scenes with soldiers in dramatic action poses alongside more women in island sarongs -- or what was left of them. The combination of the girlie magazines and these others, together with my friend's growing collection of monster magazines, always left me with a mixed-up mental panoply of pop culture craziness!

Fast-forward 40 or so years later, to the present, where these very same men's adventure magazines, after morphing in the '80s into the burgeoning "skin mag" industry, enjoy a resurgence when several collections of the covers, stories and illustrations are made available.

Now, editors Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle lead the charge in offering readers a first-hand glimpse into the violent, bloody, tawdry and sexy stories that were contained in the pulp magazines designed for red-blooded males that flooded the magazine racks with dozens of titles in liquor stores and newsstands for well over a decade.

Collected in their latest "Men's Adventure Library Journal" are tales of killer animals, beasts and creatures from air, land and sea, all with the fury, blood-lust and appetite for human flesh. What makes these stories extra shocking (and entertaining) is that the creatures attack without warning, without reason and are willing to fight to the death to obtain their next meal.

It is a current assumption that men's adventure magazines (MAMs) predominantly contained stories about Nazi sadists and Imperial Japanese devils. But stories about animal attacks were more numerous, and many times, more terrifying. In his introduction, Deis explains: "Most animal attack stories in MAMs -- including those that may initially seem like they'd be 'funny as hell' -- are dark action/adventure tales and bloody as hell. In most cases, they are essentially horror stories." 

Doyle opines: "Their horror [animal attack stories] is rooted in primal impulses, rational and irrational fears, and phobias of animals both large and small."

So, what we have here is a collection of the '50s version of When Animals Attack, only served up with a dose of adrenaline-fueled bloodletting and mutilation. The stories are unapologetic and unbridled, and once you start reading them you can't put this book down -- sort of like the text version of driving by a car wreck on the highway.

The line-up of both warm-blooded and cold-blooded killer critters run the gamut from crustaceans, snakes, gorillas, wolverines, and squirrels (!). Included are several picture portfolios that always added to the allure of the story they illustrated.

Obviously inspired by the most famous animal attack story of all time, "Weasels Ripped My Flesh", I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE is essential reading for both the connoisseur and curious who are seeking a few hours of monster mayhem from the golden years of men's adventure magazine. Messrs. Deis and Doyle have skillfully assembled a generous dose of classic animal attack stories that entertain as well as having the capacity of chilling your blood... that is, if the killer creatures have left any of it.

This super-entertaining book is available at Amazon or through Mr. Deis's fabulous blog, MensPulpMags.com.


Friday, August 11, 2017

WHAT SCARED ME: DISNEY MOVIES!


I count myself lucky enough to have been a kid when some of the most famous Disney animated movies were being either newly released or re-released to the big screen. DUMBO, PINOCCHIO, SLEEPING BEAUTY, LADY AND THE TRAMP, all were viewed with an awesome excitement by this guy when he was little.

One aspect of these movies acted on me in an entirely different way -- the villains of the films (and there was always a villain in some form or another) usually scared me out of my little Lee's! Two that immediately come to mind (sorry, Mom) are of the female of the species: Maleficent and Cruella De Ville (one of the most imaginative villainesses in motion picture history, if you ask me). Even Capt. Hook was a little sinister.

What topped them all, however, was the ominously evil character in the segment from 1940's FANTASIA titled, "Night on Bald Mountain". While the other episodes of the film were generally light-hearted in nature, this last part of the film was downright frightening. Paced by the eponymous score by classical composer Modest Mussorgsky, "Night on Bald Mountain" shows what happens when ghosts, witches and other malignant spirits are allowed to roam wild in the night. It could easily have doubled as a Witch's Sabbath or Walpurgis Night. Thank goodness, in the end the Angelus Bell is rung at dawn and the night creatures are forced to return to their lairs.

The great demon who lords over the cursed night is Chernabog (aka Chernobog, etc.), a name given to an obscure "black god" of Slavic legend. It is widely known that Bela Lugosi was invited to Disney Studios to pose for a series of references shots for the character of Chernabog. Not knowing this at the time, of course, the character of Chernabog nevertheless scared the wits outta me!

Following are several very rare examples of original production art that was produced for FANTASIA and were up for bid at auction.


Fantasia "Night on Bald Mountain" Concept Painting by Kay Nielsen (Walt Disney, 1940). Joe Grant recommended Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen (1886 - 1957) to Walt Disney. Walt took the advice and hired him, and Kay worked at the studio from 1937 to 1941. He was renowned at the studio for his dramatic concept art and illustration work. His work and insight was used extensively for the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment of Fantasia. It was written in John Culhane's 1983 book Walt Disney's Fantasia that "Nielsen created a virtually dynamic pattern that responded to auditory pattern of the music." Joe Grant stated, "I'd known his work from books and he was a natural. At the time we were doing Fantasia, and Bald Mountain; he was born for it." This is a rare and outstanding Kay Nielsen original concept/story painting featuring the Chernabog, with bats, skeletons, and flames, all surrounding Bald Mountain. This has to be one of the single most dramatic images of this character we have ever seen. The artwork is hand-signed by Kay Nielsen in the upper right corner. This painting is from the personal archives of Campbell Grant (1909 - 1992). Mr. Grant was a writer who worked on Story Development for the "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria" sequences in Fantasia. This magnificent piece of artwork can be seen in the book They Drew as They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Musical Years, The 1940s Part One by Didier Ghez on pages 40 and 41. One of the most significant Disney pieces of artwork ever to be brought to market. Matted with an opening of 14" x 10" and framed with glass for an overall size of 22.75" x 19.5". Fine condition. SOLD FOR: $59,750.00.


Fantasia "Night on Bald Mountain" Evil Spirits Concept Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940). Early concept artwork of the Evil Spirits that would end up surrounding the Chernabog, from the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment. Story development for this section was done by Campbell Grant, Arthur Heinemann, and Phil Drake, while Art Direction was done by Kay Neilsen, Terral Strap, Charles Payzant, and Thor Putman. Detailed graphite and light charcoal on 12 field 5-peghole animation paper. Gruesome images of 6" and 8". Rare early development artwork from this segment. Minor handling and small tear on left border. Tape marks in top corners and pinholes. Good condition.


Fantasia Preliminary Background Art by Kay Nielsen (Walt Disney, 1940). Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen (1886 - 1957) served as art director for the "Night on Bald Mountain" section of Fantasia. His concept artwork had a profound effect on the project, and his storyboards of the Chernabog shaped this segment into one of the most dramatic pieces of animation ever produced. This is a rare Kay Nielsen original preliminary background created for "Night on Bald Mountain," drawn in pastel on 13" x 11" black paper. It includes a Key Master test cel of one of the ghostly spirits that flies up from the ground as the Chernabog rises. The reverse of the background has a white label that reads, "Concert Feature Seq. 11.0 Sketch # 280" and includes a small signature by Mr. Nielsen, with the date 10/26/39. The test cel of the purple spirit is taped to the bottom of the preliminary background. The detail on the mansion door is breathtaking. A very rare Kay Nielsen setup from the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment! Fine condition.


Fantasia "Night on Bald Mountain" Demon Concept Art (Walt Disney, 1940). Original concept artwork of one of the Demons from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence that features the Chernabog. Demons, ghouls, ghosts, and skeletons all come alive after the Chernabog releases his fire and flames. This is graphite and charcoal on a 12 field 5-peghole animation sheet, labeled Sc 68 Seq 11, 2004 in bottom right corner. The art image takes up approximately 7" x 5". This is an extremely rare piece of concept art from this terrifying segment of the film. Other than minor handling and edge wear, the condition is Fine.



Fantasia "Night on Bald Mountain" Demons Production Cel Courvoisier Setup (Walt Disney, 1940). Extremely rare hand-inked, hand-painted production cel of the "Night on Bald Mountain" demons and flames. This is an original Courvoisier cel setup. The cel is on a Courvoisier hand-painted background. The Courvoisier WDP Stamp is in bottom right. As the Chernabog awakes, flames of red, blue, and green erupt with the demons. Very rare to find this type of "Night on Bald Mountain" artwork in a Courvoisier setup. Matted with an opening size of 4.5" x 10". Small Disney stamp on back of mat. Slight paint separation in green flames with one small paint chip. Overall Good condition.



Fantasia Chernabog and Effects Animation Drawing Group of 2 (Walt Disney, 1940). Majestic 16 field animation drawing of the Chernabog as he stands high on Bald Mountain, created in graphite with green, blue and red pencil highlights. An amazing drawing, with an image size of 8" x 8". Also with this drawing is the matching "smoke" effects drawing. The drawings are labeled 339 and C-339 for the effects. This is from the finale section of "Night on Bald Mountain." Fine condition.


Fantasia Chernabog Animation Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940). Dramatic original 16 field 5-peghole animation drawing of the Chernabog, from the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment of Fantasia. It's an amazing, highly detailed drawing done in graphite with blue and red highlights. Bill Tytla was the supervising animator for this chilling character. He stands 13" x 11" -- the drawing takes up almost the entire sheet. The detail done to his hands and fingernails is frightening and amazing at the same time! Matted with an opening of 15" x 11", framed with glass for an overall size of 22.75" x 19". Fine condition.


Fantasia Chernabog Animation Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940). Impressive original 16 field animation drawing of the Chernabog from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence. This character was brought to life by Bill Tytla. It's an amazing image, done in graphite with red and blue highlights. The image takes up almost the entire sheet with dimension of approximately 12" x 10" The drawing is beautifully matted, with an opening of 15" x 12", and framed with Plexiglas for an overall size of 28" x 24". One of Disney's most terrifying villains of all time! Fine condition.



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