9/18/14

In 1980, Spidey Would Come to Your Birthday Party!

He will come to my birthday party? Oh crap, I'm too late...but if you did win this contest, Spidey would bring you and 20 friends special "mystery" gifts! I wonder what they were? I imagine they were the pens also pictured here, which were second prizes......but more likely, it was a tube of AIM.
I say this because this unique ad is from the back of a unique comic, which was "FREE WITH THE PURCHASE OF AIM" in 1980.  I was all over grocery stores during that time, but I never saw this, or I would have been begging for AIM.  There was also a second AIM-Spidey comic a couple of years later, featuring Doctor Octopus, that I also have.

As much as this comic should have been hilariously bad (I was expecting "Spidey Super Stories" with dental hygiene), it wasn't.  It was written by Marv Wolfman (who was no slouch), and sort of plays out like a silver age Batman story, as the Goblin, intent on stealing a "laser drill" from a inventor dentist, flies around leaving various clues for Spidey to figure out.  The art is by Alex Saviuk, who handles the many lines of the Spidey costume (which gave even Jack Kirby fits) very well.

I think the creators had just the right awareness of the subject matter's hilariousness to keep it from going campy (or worse), and while it's 32 straight pages of story with no ads, it was very enjoyable.
Oddly, it seems to take place in a weird universe, even for 1980, where the Green Goblin doesn't know Peter Parker is Spider-Man.  In fact, we aren't even sure which Goblin it's supposed to be, because he's never out of costume.  Peter Parker is commanded by JJJ to take Jameson's nephew to the dentist, and the fun goes from there.  Later, they visit a dental "convention" of some sort, featuring giant teeth, fancy exhibits, and other bizareness.

Things really were so much easier back then!

9/17/14

Wha? TARO?!

Internets, you are supposed to keep me informed about these things! Accidentally on E-bay (which is a Bob Dylan song title I think), I discovered this newly-released DVD set, hot on the heels of the last one (so much so that it's almost running right over poor Ace).  And I haven't finished the first disc of Ace yet.

Of course, I ordered it. 

But, Malaysians, you have got to slow it down, just a bit.  Just give us a few months to get caught up on our tokusatsu-binging.

Ugh, I just broke one of my own rules, and used "binging" to describe watching TV.  I hate that word...next I'm going to be calling my screenshots "screenies." 

Taro is unusual, because up to this point, it's actually been "totally" "available" in English-but-not-really-English.  In other words, it's one of the early Ultra shows that was dubbed by Malaysian TV into really terrible English.  The sound is muffled, uses some words that aren't even real, and at times is impossible to understand, resulting in lots of rewinding, which is often futile.  I'm assuming they just took people off the street, asked them if they spoke "English," had them read some lines, gave them a Big Mac, and sent them home.
The strange thing is that all 53 episodes are available this way, which wasn't true for the earlier shows.

Now, I have endured all of these episodes in the past, and here are some random memories I have about Taro:

1) In the first episode, we see him being born.  I think.  The Ultra Brothers stand around a large glass dome in a darkened room, there are some noises, and a fully-grown Taro appears inside the dome.  (Years later, in 1983, came the ULTRA STORY movie that showed us Taro's delightful childhood, so make sense out of that.)
2) Taro is about as silly as it gets, taking the series full-circle from the early days of hard, Tsuburaya-controlled sci-fi/horror/mystery to giant floppy alien turkeys and lots of sped-up film for "comic effect."
3) Taro is a simpering dolt, and is constantly getting his red and silver backside handed to him.  When this happens, he invariably has to be healed (sometimes resuscitated) by his Mama...at one point she has to restore him from a decapitation.  Imagine Ultraseven in such a position.
4) Taro's human host is a boxer, and, if I understood correctly, just gets tired of having to deal with Taro (but then again, I might also), and just asks to be un-united so he can go do something else.
5) Taro's human team is ZAT, and their uniforms and helmets follow the tradition of growing more garish and ridiculous with each series.
6) In recent movies, Taro has been portrayed as a caped past-master of Ultra badassery, but in the last completed series (Ginga), he was relegated to a goofy talking action figure.  I kid you not.

All of this results in one good thing:  Leo is next.  Leo (whose personal trainer is Ultraseven!), in all my years of trading and scouring the Internets, has never been available in English, dubbed or otherwise, so this should be exciting.

9/12/14

Engrish With Ultraman Ace (part one)

I'm afraid I've been slow in my progress through the new Ultraman Ace boxed set...in fact, I'm not quite 1/3 of the way through.  But let's get right to what's important here.
This set doesn't seem to have as many "bwa-haaa!" moments as Jack, so far anyway, which means one of two things:  the subtitles are getting more coherent, or my brain is just finally accepting the mangled English and substituting a meaning.  (I'm leaning toward the second possibility.)
While this is still an amusing sentence, once again we have Malaysian Engrish teaching us an archaic word.  "Complot" is indeed a real word, from the 1500's, although today we would say "conspiracy."  As a side note, one can even be a "complotter" or participate in a "complotment."

Nothing to see here, just a long-lost father coming home and tucking his son in to their floor-pallet-bed....then leaning over and asking him nicely to, in the name of all that's holy, please control his bladder.
You can figure this one out, but the lady was just asked how she was feeling about her important job launching a missile.
Supposedly, girls will distract our hero from his work....I couldn't find a definition for "deliquium" and instead got, "Did you mean DELIRIUM?"
This is quite simply the funniest sentence you've seen this week.  What's even funnier is that it is exactly, precisely, and perfectly accurate with regard to the episode's plot.  I kid you not.  Also, if MST3K taught me anything, it's that there's always a Kenny.
While this....just makes no sense whatsoever.

9/8/14

Scalpers Can SUCK IT...

You aren't funny, whoever you are.

This was the scene moments ago, at my closest Walgreen's.  As you may, or may not, know, Walgreen's has several "hot" action figure exclusives this year, which are currently showing up, giving some of us a reason to finally go in there.  They have one Spider-Man, and one Star Wars, both six-inch, overpriced figures.
Now, I don't give a tinker's dam about comics that Jack Kirby didn't do. (That is actually a bit of artistic hyperbole...what I mean to say is, I am not familiar with modern comics.)  I didn't know what an "Agent Venom" was, until my ten-year-old told me, and I still don't exactly understand...but he wants one, super badly.
So, instead of finding one, this is what I see on the pegs.  Now, for the benefit of the uninitiated, here is what it's supposed to look like:
Notice any differences? Oh yes, you do.*  

Some scumbag switched it out with a black Spider-Man, and returned it.

Now comes the really great part of the story.  I decided to do two things: 1) report my findings to the store employees, and notify them that they had been ripped off, and 2) use the good deed to ask if there were any more in the back somewhere.

So yes, I had motives, but at least they were honest motives.  

Well, proving the maxim I live by, which is "NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED," I was reminded why people get away with these sorts of things.  Quite simply, it's because retail employees can be new kinds of exceedingly stupid.  Not only did I wait 20 minutes for the manager to look and not find anything, but while I'm waiting, the worker decides that it simply CAN'T be a switcheroo, because after all, people don't DO that, right?
My energy and stamina to deal with doltery rapidly depleting, I gave it one more try.  I told him to compare the figure to the photo on the back.  Then I told him to notice how the figure didn't even fit into the tray properly, and left unfilled space.
Suddenly, he decides it must have been some kind of factory error.  "See, they just forgot to put the shell on," he said.  The SHELL? The WHAT???! Godfrey Daniel! Shades of Ninja Turtles!?

My friends, if we learn anything from this debacle, let it be two things:

1) Every day, people are leaving the school system in this country unable to write their own names, or form sentences with actual words.  For these people, there is retail.
2) Walgreen's is completely unqualified to sell exclusive action figures.


_________________________________________________________
*Don't notice any differences? Don't worry, just click here.

8/15/14

View-Master Show Beam Cartridge (GAF, 1980)

Here is an earlier version of the later version that we saw a while back....note that even two years later, the poor boy child was still having to operate as a screen! Couldn't the family afford a bedsheet or something?
Also, I'm not sure about the line "Flash your favorite characters," even in 1980.
You will also notice that the list of other available cartridges is a bit different (wait, KISS? Really?).  There was an "I Can Learn By Myself" series for ignored or abandoned kids, to teach themselves Numbers (I prefer Exodus), Alphabet. Time and Colors...although the more I think about this concept, it makes no sense.  A literate child doesn't need the "Alphabet" cartridge, and one who can't yet read would just be all around screwed.  Talking View-Master might work better for such an endeavor.  No word on whether Morris Day appeared in the "Time" cartridge.
Also, I don't think we have to wonder too much why the "Party Games" category disappeared by 1982.  It's hard to imagine a game called "Dunce Cap" that didn't end with someone in tears, or a trip to the emergency room.  There was also a little-known Southern version of the cartridge called "Hey Y'all, Watch This" that caused several deaths.  Okay, I made that up.

8/12/14

View-Master Monster Gift Pak (GAF, 1978)

Well, we all knew it would happen, at least I sure did...but I finally scored one of the elusive MONSTER GIFT PAKs made by View-Master in 1978.
There were several themed gift "paks" offered by View-Master in the late 70's, and it gave kids a good jumping-off point into the world of 3D viewing, as well as handy storage for loose reels that tended to pile up.
I was surprised that the canister was the size of a large coffee can, because I had seen auctions that included more than one View-Master viewer (turns out it came with just one).  So this left plenty of room inside the can for storage.
Included is a viewer, as well as a useful plastic box containing seven reels of Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein ('s  Monster), and Godzilla.  The only drawback, as I've mentioned before, is that only one reel from the "Godzilla's Rampage" set is included, so you'd still have to seek out that set to see the entire story. 
I believe this completes my Godzilla View-Master collection.  Up next is an earlier version of something we've already looked at!

8/10/14

Popeye's Songs About...Health Safety Friendship Manners (Golden, 1961)

I'm just going to go ahead and apologize for this right now.  I love Popeye.  If I saw this on a blog, I'd be downloading it.  In fact, I have several other Popeye albums, and stories, that I've gotten from other places.  When I saw this at my local thrift store, I snatched it up.  Add to that the fact that the originals, Jack Mercer and Mae Questel, are present, and it makes it all the more desirable.
There's just one problem:  it's awful.  I mean really, eye-gougingly awful.  I hate to just throw superlatives out there with no explanation, so I'll do my best.
First off, for the most part, it matters not that it's a Popeye album.  It could be Captain Kangaroo, Donny and Marie, or Baby Snooks singing horrible, musically identical songs about washing your hands and not playing with matches.
Secondly, Mercer and Questel were icons, and defined the characters they represented, but they can't sing seriously in character....think about it.  In the cartoons, there may be a line or a brief tune here and there, and Popeye always could handle his theme song, of course, but this is different.  The songs are not only rotten, but they are obviously having trouble at several points...and Olive Oyl's shrill warbling is downright painful.  
Also, it's kind of lame that Wimpy and Swee'pea are present, but have to be voiced by Mercer and Questel also (even though I believe that was exactly the case in the KFS cartoons, which were done during the time of this LP, but I still don't like it.)  There are points where you can't tell if it's Olive or Swee'pea that's singing, or even if it matters why.  Even the title of the record is a grammatical mess.
You would think there would be more moments that were funny if taken out of context, but I only found one.  There is literally a line where Popeye says "I try to always be a good influence...now just let me light my pipe," that cracked me up for a moment, before the pain of the next song began.

You've been warned: LINK.


8/9/14

GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND ad slicks (alternate set, 1978)

Here is a second set of ad slicks for GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND.  The first set I posted a couple of years ago is 8.5" x 11", and this set is 11" x 17".

Detailed scans:







7/31/14

Baby Snooks & Friends (Capitol, 1977)

This is one of those album covers that make you do a double-take, when you are flipping through LP's at your local thrift store.  This is a weirder team-up than that time Spider-Man was paired with the first cast of Saturday Night Live (in MARVEL TEAM-UP).
But of course, this is a compilation album, and the only thing shared between Baby Snooks and the Warner Bros. characters is the cover.  In fact, the contents of both sides of this disc were first released by Capitol's "Bozo" subsidiary in the 1940's and 50's.
I have to confess, even though I grew up listening to OTR, and heard my share of Fanny Brice, Baby Snooks is somewhat lost on me, and it makes it all the worse to have her cloyingly sing to me about not crossing the street, or taking a bath...and, why in the world is her name "Baby Snooks," when she is old enough to attend school, and has a baby brother who is an actual infant?
Also, there are a few interesting moments where she receives more than one earnest spanking from her father. And if that's not awkward enough to listen to, see if you can keep from squirming when her father wrongfully accuses her and allows himself to be the recipient of a spanking...wow.
Some of the original artwork (which, as you can see, is where the art for Baby Snooks was lifted from).
Side 2 has three Looney Tunes adventures,voiced by the incomparable Mel Blanc, and the last two were new to me.  Interestingly, at least one other uncredited voice artist shows up (for one, as the uncle of Yosemite Sam, which according to a website was Pinto Colvig)...which reminds me, I swear that Arthur Q. Bryan (voice of Elmer Fudd) appears on the Snooks side, as a man who nearly runs over Baby with his car (too bad he missed)!



7/29/14

Godzilla Puffy Stickers (Medium sized, 1979)

I recently picked up two unpunched examples of another size of the "Godzilla Three Dimensional [sic] Stickers" made to promote the Hanna-Barbera animated series.  These measure 3.5 x 8.25" and have header cards of two different colors.

7/24/14

Canned Kaiju (E-bay Ephemera: part five)

Concluding our tour of the backwoods of Ebay, here are a few final Godzilla items that you probably haven't seen before.  First up, a weird series of "Canned Kaiju," made by Takara.  You will note that they come in a sealed metal can, complete with can opener on the lid! My understanding is that there was a plush kaiju inside, but anything is possible.

Here are two photos of another one, canned Godzilla.  You can see from the box that there were six! Anybody knows what was in the cans, post it here....it would be hilarious if it was potted meat, but then again, I'd rather have a stuffed animal.
This is a poster that's a very clever ad for a "Cup O'Noodles" product.
You've seen these "swinging character" toys.  I even have a Mickey Mouse one from the mid-to-late 70's, when I was small.  There's an Ultraman one on Ebay also, that is equally adorable.
Oh, Hello Kitty, ambassador of Japan.  She really deserves the credit for bringing lots of Japanese pop culture to the West.  She's the Marco Polo of kawaii.  (Wait, that was China.)
Here's an interesting sheet of stamps, issued at the time of TOKYO SOS...Kind of a rip-off though, as they only used half of the available space to place movie images.
From 2011, here's a sheet of stamps dedicated to the work of director Honda! They are awesome, and from...........Mozambique? Wait, what?
Here's a full-page ad for Aurora monster models that appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES in 1966.  Godzilla only gets a tiny appearance at the bottom, but it was too cool not to include here.
And finally, anyone on the Internets knows that there's a huge market for fan-made, gray-area products, especially T-shirts, and there are several out there with excellent art!  Here are just a few.
It's this last one, though, that I want to really spotlight.  I even ordered one for myself.  This amazingly awesome shirt is my vote for T-Shirt of the Year! I LOVE this shirt:

Godzilla vs. King Kong Cartoon (circa 2002)

I was cleaning up some old posts on The Sphinx, and wanted to re-add this cartoon I did years ago.  I watercolored it, and ended up using it as the cover for one of my compilation discs.

7/15/14

King Ghidorah Book! (Japan, 1984)

Fresh out of the mail, comes this amazing "Godzilla vs King Ghidorah" book from Japan.  Printed in 1984, it was the third volume of a series, as we shall see on the inside back cover.  It measures roughly 7.5 x 8.5 inches, is 40 pages, and is printed on sturdy, thick, glossy paper, stapled together like a magazine, and then glued into a thick cover.  Very well made, and a testament to this is that it's still pristine after 30 years.
Besides great photos from his movie appearances up to the time, there are three works of art in this book that were so amazing, I had to get them onto this blog somehow.  Luckily, I have one of those backwards, top-down scanners with a transparent glass lid, which made it easier to know I was pressing firmly enough to capture the image.  Stitching them together is never fun, but I think you will enjoy what you are about to see:
First up, a cutaway diagram of King Ghidorah anatomy! Pictures like this were a mainstay in Japanese kids' magazines and books since the 1960's.  The next time your school-age kid needs a science project, feel free to use this diagram.  And let me know what happens; the description of the look of frightened befuddlement on the teacher's face will be enough for me.
Next up is this gorgeous painting.  The battle described is from GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER, which is one of my very favorites.  The one problem I have with this painting is that poor Mothra is experiencing a serious injury to its shell, and that really bugs me--which is weird, I know, especially upon noticing that Godzilla is taking a Ghidorah lightning-blast to the crotch...!
Another sweeeeet painting! I love Godzilla's red eyes here.  It's hard to say exactly if this is supposed to reference a specific movie, but I know what I like, and I like this painting.
The inside of the back cover, which at least gives us publication date, and shows us all five volumes in this series.  No doubt the word balloon over Godzilla's head is telling us to buy all five volumes.  Would if I could, Godzilla.
The glorious back cover of this glorious book!