Comic Book Ad: 2-Fer

This advertisement in Young Men #4 (June 1950) not only pushes candy but also the recent release of a William Bendix film, in which a character from a Boy’s Town-like youth center visits his sick mother in the hospital and gives her a box of candy he probably nicked from the nearby Woolworth’s.

Has anyone seen the 1949 William Bendix film Johnny Holiday? I’d be interested to know if such blatant product placement as the character giving a box of brand candy to his mother and her delighted reaction actually appeared in the movie.

Once upon a time, people in films often drank from fictional label soda bottles and smoked generic cigarettes. While there would be partnerships among the companies to use their product in films they either owned or produced, with the exception of cars and other items that would be too bothersome to duplicate as props it took a while before someone hit upon the idea of accepting payments for prominently featuring consumer goods in a film. Prior to that bad idea brand name appliances and goods were just props. The actors did not extol the virtues of a self-cleaning, the smooth ride of a particular car or awkwardly hold a bottle so the label would not be obscured in every scene. The camera did not linger overlong on the sleek design of the shiny new refrigerator. Consumer goods were props and background, just incidental scenery.

Overt product placement is a relatively new part of the process of movie making. Becoming more obvious in the cinema of the 60s it increased until such fare as the James Bond movies were little more than 2 hour commercials for boy toy gadgets. Let us not forget the less than subtle, fast-food inspired Mac and Me and the uncredited inanimate cast members in the form of the volleyball and international delivery service in the Tom Hanks vehicle Cast Away.

The Bendix film was not the only movie advertised in that issue of Young Men. Beneath the ad for chewing gum is the promo for classic World War 2 film The Sands of Iwo-Jima.

It’s John Wayne in comic book form!

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Sleestak’s Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 3

I went and saw Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End yesterday. Really, that film stank and it wasn’t from the Squid-Guy. Sitting in the theater I lost track of exactly what movie I was watching. At different times I kept thinking I was watching either Time Bandits or Erik the Viking.

Everyone, with the exception of Geoffrey Rush, kind of phoned the acting chores in, as if they wanted to get done in a hurry so they could go sip drinks on the beach. Even then there were a few scenes where you could tell that Rush had a long day in costume standing in front of a Green Screen with the director instructing him to “Yell a bunch of random piratey stuff and we’ll leave the cameras rolling.” that they would cut and fit into scenes later during editing. I also kept wishing for subtitles so I could understand what the heck the Swamp-Witch was saying.

The only reason I could imagine that anyone would be enthusiastic about the movie was if they were irrationally hot for Depp, Bloom or the Broomstick With Hair. Then the film would be good enough, I suppose. Over all the film was boring, boring, boring.

One positive note: Keith Richards.

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Outside the lines: Tough break, Nick

It’s always interesting to find something from a comic book creator that fans usually know only through their comic book work. Something many fans don’t realize is that usually their favorite artists and authors don’t make comic books 100% of the time.

W. Michael Kaluta is an artist who has pretty much left the comic book industry for other artistic pursuits and is staying busy. He was known and is still remembered for his work on The Shadow comic and Batman at DC and has an impressive body of work. Even while active in comic books, Kaluta had explored other outlets, such as album covers and commercial illustration.

Kaluta is credited as being the artist and animator for the 1981 music video Don’t Answer Me for the Alan Parsons Project. This roughly though cleverly animated piece is a forgotten gem and a good example of an artist doing work outside the familiar venue of comic books. Done in the crime noir style of art that Kaluta does so well, it can be found on the net or by the YouTube link below.

Tough break Nick
Be a wise guy and sock the picture to lay your peepers on the video, ya bimbo!


No mention of WM is complete without including a mention of the clever hat-tip to WM by artist Neal Adams in the pages of Green Lantern!

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Pets: Don’t take your eyes off them for a second

Don’t ever forget that the smartest, most loving, most loyal pet on the planet will still feast on your fresh corpse if you happen to die alone at home.

And don’t wail “But….But…What about Greyfriars Bobby?

Look, he’s a dog. He wasn’t sleeping on his deceased master’s grave every night for years because he missed the old man. Bobby was trying to dig the guy up for a snack.

That is why old people should not have pets. If a senior citizen wants companionship take a shower to get rid of that weird smell and go outside and meet people once in a while.

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Cool Golden Age Page of the Day: Alex Toth

Really. Who knew that a mountain lion had such a wicked right hook? Not Streak the Wonder Dog, that’s for sure! But the great and much-missed Alex Toth pulled it off! Could that guy layout a fight scene or what?

Sadly for comics, Alex Toth put his pen down for the final time one year ago yesterday. You may not be aware of it but you are probably an Alex Toth fan even if you never heard of him before this entry. I was an unknowing fan myself by exposure to the original 1960s Space Ghost cartoon long before I paid any attention to who were the writers, artists, inkers and letterers that created my childhood comic books. You can read more about the modern master over at Comics Should Be Good!

Page from All-American Comics #99 (July 1948).
Art by Alex Toth

Streak was the doggie side-kick of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Shortly after appearing, Streak quickly became the lead player of the Green Lantern titles and much like in this Cool Golden Age Page often was the star of the strip even when appearing with Alan Scott in an anthology book outside of the regular series. Even when Alan Scott managed to get some face time on a cover it was Streak the Wonder Dog who got the doggie’s share of the exposure.

Heh. If that mountain lion wasn’t actually cat-based I could really enjoy that panel a lot more. One out of two ain’t bad, though.

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Rebuilding the Metal Men

I’m looking forwards to the new Metal Men series, mini or whatever it is that DC will be putting out soon. I’m not going to be upset that the characters are not mired in the Silver Age or have moved past the awesome Walt Simonson versions. For all I know the newer takes on the characters could be better than the originals! Who knows?

That said, I’m a little worried about the 2 new female robots that were introduced recently because they are so tough and no-nonsense. In fanboy-speak, they are feminists and therefore poor objects of desire, which will negatively affect sales in the long run. I always liked the old Platinum because she was a product of the Doc Magnus craziness infecting his work. Platinum was so sad and odd. When she felt all domestic and tried cooking some eggs for the Doc she accidentally released a super-amoeba that nearly destroyed the world. Yes, the Doc created the perfect wife/mom in his lab and screwed it up royally. No wonder he needed therapy.

A side note to DC, though. You really don’t have to reboot and start from scratch every single character in your line. Sometimes the old versions work the best, okay? For example, I can think of a recent few attempts where the new versions were vastly inferior to the old series, namely Warlord and Deadman. While you are at it crush the urge to keep making them with that crappy Manga style art. It was unique and fresh in the 70s now not so much.

But a few things have to be clear for me to fully embrace the new iterations of the Metal Men.

One is that Doc Magnus has been long established to be a bit nutty. Having him go off his meds every few issues so he can be the “threat from within” isn’t necessary. What is important is that insanity aside, the Doc has always been a Grade-A Jerkoid much of the time. Keep that up and his character will work out just fine. Being a jerk can cause more damage and catastrophic world-threatening events than just being pure evil, I know.

The other is that if even half of the craziness of the Silver Age carries over into the new series I’m sold!

Look at this page from Metal Men #1 (April-May 1963). An alien robot that self-identifies as a male desires a female robot to share its existence with. Unfortunately, it is unable to deviate from its programming and keeps manufacturing male robots. Repeatedly attempting something and receiving the same results when expecting another is the definition of crazy right there. Eventually the frustrated robot soon has an army of like creations and attacks the Earth, looking for a female robot to take home.

That is just insane. Bob Kanigher was a freaking mad genius and it would be a shame to dump wholesale what he did just because someone has a new vision. So I hope the new versions build on the old, but in a good way and not like the new Warlord did.

Hey, anyone else think that Gold would have made a great member (even maybe leader) of the JLA?

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