10/18/17

Strange Arabic Pirate SUPERMAN Comic! (c. 1980'S)

Ugh, look at that smug face.  "Hello, ladies..."
Today, another odd mystery. I recently stumbled upon a hardcover book, which is the same size as a children's storybook (think of any Dr. Seuss book, for example).  There is no printing on the spine, and the book reads backwards (right to left). It's packed with dozens of comic stories, printed in pairs of pages, alternating in green or blue ink.  What's more, the stories are from both DC and Marvel! Oh, and it's completely in Arabic!

The very oddly-designed back cover. They couldn't even pirate enough art to keep from re-using any.
Before we go any further, here is what I have learned through research:  In the 1960's, a deal was struck between DC and Illustrated Publications, a publisher from Lebanon, to bring Superman comics to the Arabic language (here is one article that tells the story).  They renamed Clark Kent as "Nabil Fawzi," and all of the printed artwork was reversed, for the same reasons that Japanese comics are reversed when they are translated into English.  (Note that on the front and back covers, Superman's "S" is not reversed, which is the only time in the entire book this happens!)

The few examples of these comics that can be found online are completely in color.  This book is not.  Furthermore, most of the artwork appears to be obviously traced, as you shall soon see.  The pages are printed on a cheaper, thinner paper than normally done.  All of these factors, including the odd mixture of Marvel stories that are included, add up to my conclusion that this book is a bootleg, a pirated edition.  And to that, I say............. Hooray! That's even better than finding a legitimate foreign comic!

I'm not a Superman expert. I have much more experience with Spider-Man comics, and I can point out a few sources for the stolen material as we go along...

Title page of the book...
Our first story is a Golden Age one.  Take a look at that third panel. Good grief, can you even tell what is going on there?
More craptastically traced Golden Age Superman...
We then switch to a Spier-Man story (any splash pages are skipped herein), where a crow brings Spider-Man a note (as they do).  I can tell you that this story was cribbed from SPIDEY SUPER STORIES #21 (February 1977).
By the next pair of pages, our ink is green again, and Kraven the Hunter has captured Spidey and the useless character Tigra.
The next page is a one-page feature illustrating Spidey's powers (probably also from SSS).  Just take a minute and soak in all of the artwork.  It's pretty amazing, especially this panel:
I'm not sure what to say here...even the pirates didn't bother to fill in the balloon, which should probably say HELP ME. Is Spidey coming or going here? You decide.
Next, one of the myriad Superman origin stories.
Next, we...wha? Puzzles and games? What is this, HIGHLIGHTS suddenly?
As we progress in the book, the artwork becomes a little more solid...perhaps better-traced, maybe with an actual lightbox this time? This looks Curt Swanish to me.
Next is another Spidey story, where Iron Man helps him at an auto show.  This story is stolen from SPIDEY SUPER STORIES #43 (November 1979).
Next, there is suddenly an odd Western story, where an Indian youth tames a horse...? No idea.
Next, a weird sci-fi story about a guy with an alien mask.  No idea.
Then, a cowboy Western story (looks Marvel to me) that must've confused lots of readers.
This is another one-page SSS feature, explaining who "Captain Britain" is to some more confused readers.  I wonder if they still translated his name as Captain Britain?
Whoops, another missed empty balloon here...
Aha, the Captain Britain nonsense is from SPIDEY SUPER STORIES #56 (January 1982), where he helps Spidey fight the still-Steve-Ditko-syle Jack O'Lantern!
I've always been partial to the Jack O'Lantern.  He's no Green Goblin though.
So there you have it.  I don't have much to go on, but at least we can laugh at the artwork.  Besides--if this blog has taught me anything--once you have been though the entire SUPER DICTIONARY, you can handle anything.

10/5/17

GODZILLA Promotional Television Film Frames (Hanna-Barbera, 1978??)

Here is a cool item, but it is a little confusing.  What I have is a strip of two adjacent 35mm film frames, bearing a cool promotional-art image of Godzilla and Godzooky.  One frame includes the title, and the second doesn't.  
The seller had examples from several other shows from the same time period, including THE NEW SHMOO, CASPER AND THE ANGELS, TV movies, game shows, and even a MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE.  In each case there were two frames, one with and one without titles. I am not sure that in every case, the two frames were connected, but they were in this example.

According to the seller's description:  "these would be projected onto the TV screen while the announcer commentates."  
Kick him off the cliff! Now's your chance!!!!
I recall these sorts of things being used on shows, but usually they were syndicated shows, where the local station was in control of the timeslot.  ("BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, at 3:30 today, on Super Station 7.") Also, they would add their own station information to the stills.

I don't believe that the Hanna-Barbera Godzilla was ever syndicated, (back in the day) but someone please correct me if I'm wrong on that.  It seems like that their agreement with Toho allowed for two Saturday morning seasons, used for a while (repackaged a couple of times, grouped with different other shows)...and then the show disappeared for several years, until Turner was able to show it again in the mid-to-late 90's.  

So, lots of questions here:
1) Would these frames really be sent out to tons of TV stations, or would it make more sense for these to have originated from the source, such as NBC (via HB)?
2) Are they 35mm format specifically so that they can be made into slides? And why?
3) Is it suspicious that the two frames are together...meaning that they could have been clipped from a continuous piece of film, perhaps a short film of a bumper? Or, perhaps instead meaning that  this was the procedure for mass-production, and that two-frame segments were cut and sent out (going back to the theory that tons were sent out to local stations)?

Any insight into 1970's television production techniques, or any other relevant ideas at all, are greatly appreciated!

10/3/17

When Godzilla Isn't Godzilla (continued)

Do you remember Scholastic Book orders? If you don't, they were book order forms that elementary school kids would take home.  They would then choose items, beg their parents for those items, and order them.  One of the joys of elementary school was the day that your Scholastic Book orders came in.  Scholastic had a regular magazine called DYNAMITE that you could get this way.  It ran for several years, and covered all sorts of entertainment (and more) stories that a young kid would be interested in.  Occasionally, it included a pull-out poster, which is where we find ourselves today. 

From a 1976 issue, this poster occasionally appears on Ebay, and I'd wondered if I needed to add it to my collection of vintage American Godzilla items....until I looked at it a little closer:


Okay, we've got the Incredible Shrinking Man, the cabbage-headed aliens from INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN, The Fly, the monster from IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, something from THE REPTILE, what I assume is King Kong, and...yeah, that's not even Godzilla at all!
In fact, it's another old friend.  Take a look at this photo:


Poor Gorgo.  It's not the first time he has been mistaken for Godzilla...but keep in mind, somebody purposefully airbrushed out his fins, and added a "beam" coming out of his mouth.  That's a little devious, DYNAMITE!

It's no more Godzilla than this....oddity.  Take a look at this photo of a monster-themed deck of 1970's "Top Trumps" cards from the UK:


I know, the whole thing is pretty dodgy, but all I can compare the "Godzilla" to is Reptilicus...and that still doesn't explain why he is wearing a purple bow tie!