Sunday, February 11, 2018

It´s Spider - Man Week with John Romita Jr

We are making one more jump in my reminiscence of Spider - Man´s past glories as we have to go even further back in time since our last entry .

Now as longtime readers know I haven´t covered this period in Spider - Man´s history yet - but I already made a special folder with selected art by John Romita Jr. Well, in preparation for this post I did the usual internet research and found a few new original art pages by John Romita Jr which predated the stuff I had collected so far. Which made me go back to the SPIDER - MAN BY ROGER STERN OMNIBUS hardcover only to realize that a lot of my favorite John Romita Jr issues are not included in the omnibus.

And the reason for that is simple : those issue were written by Dennis O´Neil ( who is credited as Denny O´Neil on some of them by Grand Comics Database ) who did issues 207 , 208 , 209 , 210 , 211 and 212 , 213 to 215 , 216 to 218 , 219 , 220, 221 and 223 of AMAZING SPIDER - MAN.

Which means that we have to go back to my pre - US comic book reading days, when I had to rely entirely on the issues I could get a hold of during my endless Summer vacations in Spain ( at least they seemed to go on forever ) and what was published in Germany for the rest of the year.

With DC comics that meant following Ehapa´s output and Marvel Comics was covered by Condor Comics. Now I have written at length about the disastrous condition and production values of their pocket books so I will not go into more detail - especially since any german comic reader from my generation already knows it and all others probably couldn´t care less.

But besides those pocket books the Condor Verlag did a lot of other regular - sized comic books and to their credit they tried to publish as much as they could trying one new format or series after the other.

And speaking about the format, besides what we will talk about in the main part of this post many of the publications were not in the usual US format but rather magazine sized like the french BD albums or magazines.  

I hate to have so many throwbacks to older posts in this introduction ( yes, we´re still making our way to the main topic ) but we have to go back in my personal comic reading history to one of the big highlights : March 1980, when the first issue of DIE SPINNE hit german comic outlets.

That doesn´t sound very dramatic but you have to keep in mind that the last issue of DIE SPINNE by the german publisher Williams Verlag came out on Mai 1979, which was the last title they still published. In its heyday Williams had over a dozen monthly titles - of which some even came out twice a month ! - but the numbers had been decreasing until DIE SPINNE was the only one that held out. Okay, you might say that from Mai 1979 until March 1980 does not sound that long. And it wasn´t. But this was in the pre - internet days so information was not as readily accessible like Today. And even if it had been - there was nothing to know. The Williams Verlag had ceased all publishing of super hero related material and was concentrating on doing the german version of MAD magazine. Other than that nothing was known. Not in comic circles, conventions - no, wait, those were non existent in those days - or any gossip at your local comic shop - no, again, back in those days there were no comic shops and you had to get all your comic books via stationary stores, newsstands or super markets. So the Williams Verlag was gone, Ehapa was only publishing DC comics and it seemed that the days of german Marvel comics were over.

There were some dark days ahead for german Marvel comic book fans.

Until May 1980, and I remember it like it was Yesterday, when I went to my usual stationary store in Neckarwyoming to buy the newest issue of BATMAN SONDERHEFT, GRÜNE LEUCHTE or THE PHANTOM and was totally flabbergasted to find a new issue of DIE SPINNE. And not only was Condor going to publish the series regularly now, on top of that it was coming out every two weeks. So suffice it to say that I was in comic book heaven.

Despite my non existent allowance I managed to buy DIE SPINNE regularly - with what little money I got from relatives - until issue 25 but after that I started to miss issues and apart from special stories like crossovers with Iron Fist or Captain Britain from MARVEL TEAM - UP that were drawn by John Byrne or anything involving Man - Wolf or the Spider - Slayers I had completely left the title by issue 50. My return to DIE SPINNE came with the issue at the top of the post, Number 55 which had a fight between Namor and Spider - Man. I came one issue too late for the introduction of Madame Web but I just couldn´t resist John Romita Jr´s terrific artwork.

The story with Spider - Man and Namor teaming up against the Frightful Four with Lyrra as their newest member is one I always remember fondly but according to what I could find out it hasn´t been reprinted anywhere yet. So if I want to read it in the original american version I will have to wait until they reach that point in the Epic Collections or the MARVEL MASTERWORKS ( which I would prefer as long as they manage to get the introduction of Madame Web, the crossovers with Namor and Spider - Man´s epic battle against the Juggernaut in one volume ), look for the US back issues the next time I´m ordering something from my online comic shops or visit the Sammlerecke in Nürtingen ( which will not be that soon since it´s almost a trip around the world to get there, but more about that later ) or get out my german issues of DIE SPINNE. In any case, that is enough of an introduction for Today as I´m sure you´re already bored to death with the history of german comic book publishing so here is more amazing Spider - Man art by John Romita Jr ( pun intended ). By the way, initially I wanted to include the introduction of the Hobgoblin in this post but I am trying to make these posts shorter so that will get its own post.

Also, my plan was to include the original american covers with the german covers alongside the original black and white art but again, that would make the post too long so this time I will only include the german covers.

As you might have noticed I had to do a bit more research on this post than usual - although a positive side effect of it is that I was able to include the introductions from the german issues of DIE SPINNE which I just might continue provided there is enough reader interest and I can find more - so we get right to the usual thanks and kudos with MARVEL COMICS OF THE 1980s which not only provided the original art for the cover of Amazing Spider - Man 214 but also has the original art for the covers to issues 226 and 284 as well as tons of other fantastic stuff from that era. For more Spider - Man fun SCANS DAILY has more pages ( as well as the original covers ) from Amazing Spider - Man issues 213 and 214 and 215LOWBROW COMICS presents the fight between Spider - Man and Hydro Man from Amazing Spider - Man 212 and Mark Ginocchio at CHASING AMAZING takes a look at a story that you CAN find in the Spider - Man By Roger Stern Omnibus, a sad tale about the doomed romance between Spider - Man and Black Cat in issues 226 and 227 of Amazing Spider - Man.

I really need to spend more time reading the blogs in my blogroll - which is something I sadly can´t do that often lately because I don´t have the time - so I don´t miss any posts that have to do with the ones I´m writing.

Case in point : while I was busy with getting my birthday post about Rich Buckler finished our trusty friend Old Groove over at DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND did his own birthday salute with a lot of nifty splash pages.

My last link is only for a small part of my audience - or it might be the main part who knows - and those of my german readers who lived through the times of the Condor Verlag may remember Hajo F. Breuer. He was the main translator back then who wrote a lot of articles in the Condor publications ( one of them a bitter rant about how you can´t earn a living with comics in Germany that had a very negative impact on my life, otherwise I may have become a very successful comic book creator at this point ) and for all others it might also be interesting to read Monty Arnold´s article " Ich las genug ! " - Übersetzungen aus der Negativ - Zone on MONTY ARNOLD BLOGT in which he compares the oftentimes catastrophic translations from the Condor Verlag with the new translations for the newer versions you can find in the Hachette collections that are coming out now ( which also are far from perfect, let me just state that for the record here ).

Now this is a subject I have written ad nausea about and I have always said that either you follow the instructions of your boss about font size and do the best translation you can do within these limits or you do it right and probably get into trouble with your boss. Don´t get me wrong, the boss is the boss and what he says goes because ultimately he pays your salary but either you swallow the bad translation or you accept that the translator is the expert and you let him do his job. Because I think if the publisher could do the translation himself he would do it. And then probably complain that it is impossible to do a correct translation if you have to follow a strict font size. IF he´s not one of those bosses who can´t do no wrong and is convinced of his divine personality. Anyway, there is a reason why comics have been lettered by hand for decades.

Now before we come to the entertainment section I want to tell you more about my last visit to the Sammlerecke in Esslinge as I promised in the introduction of this post. As longtime readers know the journey is a rather long one which has not become easier with all my health issues.

It used to be that I went there at least once a month but due to the long time it takes with public transportation and my always shorter pull list thanks to the evil machinations of DC and Disney I now make the trip every three or four months. Otherwise there is not enough in my pull box.

Well, I decided to go there on Friday because I had checked the online comic shops I use and they had three new issues of Erik Larsen´s Savage Dragon. And if you have read my latest post on that book you know how much I like it that Erik has finally gotten rid of all the inhibitions that slowed him down and embraced the awesomeness that is Savage Dragon.

Lately I have trouble sleeping at night so I should have waited a day until I had some rest but I was just too anxious to get those new issues. In hindsight it was not that clever because the ordeal left me out cold for a few days which is one of the reasons why it took me so long to write this.

However the trip was not a complete waste because I bought a few german comics that I was excited to read although not all of them. Ever since my trips to the Sammlerecke have become so hard it has become a habit to order the more heavy tomes online. There is only so much I can carry and there is also the additional bonus of getting one FREE COMIC BOOK DAY comic or GRATIS COMIC TAG comic for every 10 EUROS I spend.

There also were the usual issues of Usagi Yojimbo and Jim Balent´s Tarot - Witch of the Black Rose ( my brother made a huge mistake when he quit this book ) but I still was a bit disappointed. It´s not every month that I can make the long and grueling trek to Esslingen which means I will have to wait at least until April before I can get more issues of Savage Dragon.

So I did what I always do if I have a little money to burn - go to the catacombs in search of rare comics that I am missing in my collection.

Three artists I am always looking for are George Perez, Gil Kane and Gene Colan. So last year I found an issue of Silverblade at an online comic shop, a series I´ve never heard of let alone seen an issue. There are still books by Gene Colan that I have to hunt down like Night Force ( which thankfully has been released in one complete hardcover and which is the next item on my Gene Colan shopping list ), Nathaniel Dusk or Clive Barker´s The Harrowers but I really didn´t expect to find any issues of Silverblade.

Well, to my big surprise I did not only find all the rest of the issues - numbers 1 to 10 and 12 - they were also in very good condition ( apart from a few issues that were labeled as mint I would say they are near mint with crispy clear colors and no yellowing of the pages) and for a price of 2.50 EUROS each I really can´t complain. Especially when you keep in mind that you pay between 4 and 5 bucks for Today´s drivel by hacks and untalented artists. No Sir, 11 issues that I have not read drawn by the master Gene Colan himself at a measly 27.50 EUROS that´s not half bad.

The only negative thing I can say is that now my issue 11 looks shabby compared to the other numbers and it took me quite a while to find it because I completely forgot where I stashed it. So I really took a beating on this one but I think at the end it was worth it. I hope I can write a review of the series when I have read it and if you don´t want to wait that long you can consult your local comic shop. By the way, thanks to CARRY - ON BOOKS in Waterloo, Ontario who sold the Silverblade issues to my comics dealer. And people say nothing good comes out of Canada.

But before you rush off to the nearest comic pusher you might want to read Steve Miller´s Silverblade review at CINEMA STEVE and I don´t know if I included them in my post about the passing of Gene Colan but there are tributes on HEROES IN MY CLOSET and SMALL PRESS BIG MOUTH .

Man, that really was a lot of comic related stuff which is good since the entertainment section is almost entirely about hot babes - in one way or the other. So if that´s not why you are here - and I know from comments that there are readers who would prefer it if this was a blog only about comic books - you might just scroll down to watch any video that strikes your fancy or skip this section entirely. For the remaining readers we are starting Today´s roll call of celebrity birthdays with ex - Destiny´s Child member slash turned successful solo artist Kelly Rowland who turns 37.

Which makes me feel really old. When Destiny´s Child first hit the scene Kelly Rowland was the first one of the group that really caught my eye with her sultry hip movements in Get On The Bus and I always thought that we were at about the same age or at least that I was the younger one. As it turns out I even back then had a thing for younger women.

Where I was fully aware of my creepy tendencies was Brandy Norwood - or as I always knew her just Brandy - who was a pretty big star in the r & b scene back then through all her sexy music videos and her appearances Arachnophobia, I Still Know what You Did Last Summer and Moesha. The strange thing is that I always figured she was younger than me which is why I still can´t wrap my head around the fact that Brandy is actually two years older then Kelly Rowland and is celebrating her 39th birthday Today.

For me she never really lived up to her last name because she always gave me ten out of ten wood even wearing those tight sweaters in her music videos that could not hide her blossoming bosom. In The Boy Is Mine, her duet with Monica I didn´t know which one to pick and I would have done it with both of them. Brandy got even sexier with age and in her Full Moon video you could definitely appreciate HER full moons almost spilling out of her top. Like Monica I haven´t followed Brandy´s career over the last decade but it seems she is still active. Now with Kelly Rowland I would have loved to include a music video with her or one of the auditions for The X - Factor but I wanted to save my music video for Brandy Norwood.

Next up we have Damian Lewis who turns 47. I have seen him in the first season of Homeland - I dropped off midway during season two - and the complete series Life where he starred alongside sexbomb Sarah Shahi although she didn´t get to show what she is capable of on that show.

Of course she also appeared on Person Of Interest and Old School where she showed that she has been holding out on us in regards to her skills.

Coming back to Damian Lewis and Homeland, the reason why I´m not watching the show anymore despite being engaging with a lot of suspense and unexpected plot twist is that there is one character who is written exceptional bad. Maybe that was just SJW writing before SJWs became a thing but if this are really the kind of people in whose hands the fate of the free world rests it´s no wonder that everything is f - worded up. Now I could go on a whole rant here but the guys from Saturday Night Live make the point much better than I would. By the way, how is it that Anne Hathaway treats everything - even the smallest appearance in a skit - more professionally than her role as Catwoman ? I´m smelling a bias here.

Man, I completely forgot about Raven and unlike Homeland I watched every episode of that. Thankfully Jeffrey Meek celebrates his 59th birthday Today which brought it back to my attention. And that´s why I love writing this section. It´s true, I have to be careful not to turn this into full blown porn - and I don´t always succeed in that regard - but it always brings back those old forgotten tv shows that I used to love. I also forgot that Lee Majors appeared on that show and I surely mentioned him enough times on the blog or The Fall Guy. Although to tell the truth a big part of that shows appeal were sexbombs like Heather Thomas and Markie Post who didn´t appear nearly as often in a bikini as I would have liked.

Well, Heather Thomas did since that was her main purpose on the show but Markie Post´s appearances in bikinis on The Fall Guy were very few .

80s Power Girl Markie Post is probably the best known cult siren on the entire blog because not only have I done many re - posts of her original post I also keep mentioning her in other posts and her original post is in the Top Ten Posts widget that appears on every post. Since I have done so many different versions it is not so tragic that I did not do a re - post this year even though I did the last version of her cult siren entry in 2016 .

Coming back to Jeffrey Meek, since I already posted the tv movie Remo Williams : The Prophecy in a previous post here is the first episode of Raven. If you have followed the blog these past days you may have caught on to the fact that I always come back to the same people and if you are one of the readers who also watch the videos you may recognize Cary - Hiroyuki Tagawa ( I swear, my brother is one of the few persons on earth who doesn´t need to look his name up ) who was the bad guy in the last Thunder In Paradise video I posted. Fun fact : Cary played Shang Tsung in the original Mortal Combat movie and the Mortal Combat : Legacy tv series ( where sci fi cult siren Jeri Ryan played the part of Sonya Blade ) while Jeffrey Meek was Rayden in the Mortal Combat : Conquest series.

Writing this section can be a real roller coaster of emotions and I had a huge sigh of relief because at first I thought that I had to start the Dearly Departed section with Burt Reynolds but then I found out that is alive and kicking and turns 82. He was one of the big movie stars of my generation who really deserved that title and he was the standard for what a manly man was. Which makes it not very surprising that he worked with the Who´s Who of Hollywood sexbombs like Raquel Welch in 100 Rifles.

Another silver screen seductress he starred with in Sam Whiskey was Angie Dickinson and if that´s not a porn star name then I don´t know. By all rights she should have been in the adult movie business since she not only got the right name going for her but also the corresponding body.

Speaking about bodies made for nude scenes I also have to mention Cannonball Run which featured such movie massitas like Farrah Fawcett, Adrienne Barbeau and the uncredited Valerie Perrine and Vickie Reigle .

Other fan favorites that appeared in Burt Reynolds movies are Rachel Ward in Sharky´s Machine a movie they are constantly trying to remake and constantly failing. Nobody who has seen the original version can forget Rachel´s hot scenes. Burt also did his straight to video flicks later in his career like Raven - not the tv series with Jeffrey Meek - which I´m only mentioning because Krista Allen appeared in it who later became famous for her roles in Liar Liar, Baywatch and tv´s version of sex doll Emanuelle.

Apropos, one movie I still haven´t watched besides having the DVD is The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas with Double D Dolly Parton and speak about perfect casting. With a first name that is just short for blow up sex doll and the corresponding body she was predestined for a career in porn movies and it is all the more astounding that she managed to have a clean and wholesome image despite having the Guiness World Record for actress with the biggest boobs in a non r - rated movie - Nine To Five - and her massive melons have been reported as anything from a 38C cup to a 48E.

But my all time favorite movie with Burt Reynolds is Striptease with Demi Moore which will not surprise longtime readers. And no disrespect to Burt Reynolds, while his portrayal of the sleazy politician is a hoot and a half the real pull of the movie is Demi´s spectacular performance as formerly mousy single mother turned stripper superstar ultimate MILF Erin Grant.

Originally I wanted to include The Making Of Striptease but since I already put that in another post I´m just including the link for those that missed it the first time around. Nevertheless I have found another clip from one of the various cult films Burt Reynolds starred in among my bookmarks.

We DO have an entry in our Dearly Departed section with Leslie Nielsen whose list of series and movies he starred in is just too long to mention.

Today he is of course best known for his comedy roles and especially as Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun tv series and the subsequent movies which also starred Playmate Of The Year 1993 Anna Nicole Smith. She was a prime candidate for my Search For Power Girl series at my old boob blog.

She did get naked in her PLAYBOY videos and the skin flicks Skyscraper and To The Limit but I would have loved to see her giant gazongas in a movie with Dolly Parton. That would have been pure double Dee boob heaven.

Well, there are not a lot of comic related videos in this post and more about hot sexbombs so I wanted to at least end with a cartoon video. I was looking for episodes of the Filmation series about Namor but all I found in english had really low quality. This one has the best picture quality but it is with the latino or better argentinian dubbing. Don´t let yourself be fooled because the first few minutes have the original sound.

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Das sagte Nuff !

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