Monday, March 26, 2018

Master Monday with José Luis García-López

This is not the post I had originally planned. Longtime readers of TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN might already be tired of hearing this but as usual I was all set to do another birthday post for Brian Bolland when I realized that Today is also the 70th birthday of one of my favorite artists. So I decided to do something different this year and finally put all these pictures by José Luis García - López I have been collecting to good use.


He is probably best known for doing the illustrations for what insiders used to call the DC bible, the in house style guide for the licensees of DC comics as well as the artists during most of the Bronze Age and beyond.

That´s right, back then they had a special book that each artist had to consult to guarantee that every hero in a DC comic looked like he was supposed to look. Back when there were real editors in comics. So aside from thousands of pajamas, mugs or writing utensil you also might have seen his artwork pop up in the occasional comic book here and there.


While he never stuck to a title for a lengthy period of time every comic he did is at the top artistic level possible and he´s not only an artist´s artist but also a fan favorite among comic readers. I remember that his art had a big impact on me from his first issues of SUPERMAN - which I naturally first read in the german publications by Ehapa like the SUPERMAN SUPERBAND.


Despite his short tenures on most titles and the fact that he has mostly done special projects there is a huge body of work to choose from ( when Marv Wolfman needed an artist to help through the transition of two Teen Titans titles because of the Baxter paper exclusives he picked none other than José Luis García - López to pinch hit for George Perez who later admitted that after seeing his art felt the need to up the ante so they would not replace him with this new guy ) and I could have chosen any number of series for this. But seeing as this is my first post I tried to do something of a greatest hits post - of course depending on which art is available. Going through his career made me appreciate the times when heroes were really heroic and iconic. His guys always looked impressive and his women were always alluring and sexy without appearing sleazy or cheap. Which is something Today´s artists struggle with. Anyway, here is my very personal selection and feliz cumpleaño José Luis García - López.  


As I mentioned I had to scrap my original plans for Today´s post but even though I had a lot of José Luis García - López artwork ready to go there are a few pictures I needed to adequately present an overview of his career - as much as one can hope to achieve in such a short post - so there are of course the usual thanks to give to the original poster without whom this blog would not be possible. Or at least wouldn´t look so spiffy.

IT´S ALL ABOUT THE POWER GIRLS, DARLING or CARRIE ON KEAGAN !

So we start with the wraparound cover just above for Adventure Comics issue 463 that comes courtesy of DAYS OF ADVENTURE ( also check out their post on Adventure Comics issue 462 ). The post features other neat stuff like a Deadman splash page by José Luis García - López, an Aquaman and a Flash splash page both drawn by Don Heck ( people always forget how much stuff he did for DC Comics ) and a Wonder Woman splash page as well as two Justice Society pages drawn by Joe Staton who was the main artist with everything that involved Earth Two. He had a long stint on the Green Lantern books but when I was a teenager and reading comics everything from Earth Two, the All - Stars, The Justice Society of America, The Huntress but especially Power Girl was drawn by Joe Staton.


Speaking of Earth Two heroines, the HELENA WAYNE HUNTRESS website has a few reviews I haven´t posted yet on Batman and Catwoman´s daughter like her introduction to the Justice Society of America in All - Star Comics 69 , 70 and 71 and her subsequent adventures with Power Girl in All - Star Comics 74 as well as her back up stories in Wonder Woman 296 , 297 , 298 , 299 ( issue 300 was an anniversary issue and had no Huntress back up story ), 301 , 302 , 303 , 304 , 305 , 306 and Wonder Woman 307 .

Which would be my segueway to post another Bustice and Power Girl video since Today is Sara Jean Underwood´s 34th birthday but I already posted all of them so the one I´m including is one with Carrie Keagan who embodied Power Girl very convincingly in those videos. Daimn, she surely has no problems filling out the magical cleavage window with her 36Ds.


I think this is the last video with Carrie Keagan as Power Girl. It has a low resolution but so far I have not been able to find one in higher quality.



To compensate a bit for that here is one of her appearances on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson ( for some reason Craig kept inviting her ) which is not only longer but also in excellent quality. Speaking of excellent quality, Carrie was a frequent guest panelist on FOX News where she made the ratings go through the roof with her excellent giant XXL sized double airbags. She really puts the boob in boob tube and with her porn star body she could have made a real fortune in the adult entertainment industry.



From real women we come back to women of the four colored variety and kudos go to Charles D. Shell´s blog which is where I found the cover for issue 7 of All - New For Lovers Only by Charlton Comics. The issue came out back in 1971 so for all those newer readers who think Marvel´s All - New tag is a new idea, sorry, but like most of their current output they are only rehashing old ideas that other creators already did much better.

We continue with Charlton romance comics as OUT OF THIS WORLD brings us Why Am I Here ? from Just Married 75 by José Luis García - López.

A SOLITARY DARK CLAD FIGURE SITS IN THE BOWELS OF A VAST CAVERN

After that it´s back to super heroics on HOMBRE DE TRAPO where you can read the full story Thou shalt Have No Other Batman Before Me ! by Bob Haney with inks by Dan Adkins and Frank Chiaramonte from World´s Finest Comics issue 255. Speaking about the Dark Knight Detective, the first picture in this post is the cover for the third issue of The Untold Legend Of Batman which younger comic readers might not know. But don´t fear as Chris Sims over at CHRIS`S INVINCIBLE SUPER - BLOG tells you all about The Untold, Retold, Ignored And Then Retconned Legend Of The Batman.


The three issue mini series came out in 1980 and was written by Len Wein with art by John Byrne and Jim Aparo in the first issue and Jim Aparo on issues two and three, covers by José Luis García - López. It was a compact retelling of Batman´s origin that included all the trivia that was added to the Bat lore over the decades that made it so difficult to navigate the Bat - universe. While it´s one of my favorite mini series - not only because of the amazing Jim Aparo art - I always felt that it was one of the instances where the right hand at DC didn´t know what the left hand was doing.


Because just a bit earlier that year they had released a similar series about The Legion Of Super - Heroes and there also was one about Superman but when Crisis On Infinite Earths came around all of this became obsolete.


You might think DC learned some kind of lesson from this but no, one of the series José Luis García - López worked on was Legacies, also written by Len Wein and illustrated by such art gods like Joe Kubert, Jerry Ordway and George Perez that reminded readers of the rich and fantastic history of the DC universe by letting you experience the whole story from the beginnings of the heroes that would form The Justice Society Of America through the Crisis and the following events up until then present day.


It´s a wonderful series that has fantastic back up stories by other comic masters like Dave Gibbons or Walt Simonson but you get the impression that the guys at DC don´t like Len Wein ( maybe because he also worked for Marvel Comics ) because they give him projects only to retcon them out of existence afterwards. And so like The Untold Legend Of Batman it was flushed down the toilet rather unceremoniously with Flashpoint and The New 52. Speaking of that abomination, in that particular reality they made a big brouhaha about the fact that when Batman found out who killed his parents it was no big conspiracy, no evil master plan, just some punk who wanted the quick money. Well, that would have been a really innovative story idea - if it wasn´t the original story of Batman´s origin.


You see, all the stuff that the murderer of Bruce Wayne´s parents was Joe Chill and that he did it because Thomas Wayne had angered local crime boss Lew Moxon at a charity party while wearing a bat costume - that came in later. At the beginning Batman´s parents were killed by some unnamed guy because it was not important for the story. It didn´t matter because crime is random and there is not always some motivation. It was only years later that they came up with Joe Chill and the idea that his mother raised Bruce instead of his trusty butler Alfred. Who hadn´t been in Bruce´s employ but was a freedom fighter ( a so called Batman ) who liberated concentration camps during World War II and only took up the profession because of a promise made to his dying father on his deathbed.


Which is just one of the many interesting details that I gobbled up and for kids who are just starting out in the DC universe it might be interesting to read how Bruce Wayne began his crime fighting as the first Robin under the tutelage of a private detective, why he never adopted Dick Grayson, why he didn´t become a cop or who built all those Batmobiles that he wrecked over the years. And of course the Jim Aparo art doesn´t hurt.



It is included in Tales Of The Batman - Len Wein but unless you´re a big Irv Novick fan I recommend Legends Of The Dark Knight By Jim Aparo vol 3.


By the way, that version of Batman´s origin with Joe Chill was adapted for the Batman - The Brave And The Bold cartoon show and it´s one of the best episodes. When I first heard of this it seemed too campy for me but I can only recommend it for fans of Batman in the Silver and Bronze Age.



We are slowly making our way back to José Luis García - López and since he had his most prolific time at DC in the 80s it is no surprise that he has multiple entries in Jason Shayer´s DC COMICS IN THE 1980 like a DC heroes promo poster , a New Teen Titans picture and a Deadman splash page and two very nice pictures of Zatana . A series that has become a secret fan favorite is Atari Force and there is a review of issue 11 on COMICS MATTER but since it is part of Atari Force Month I am sure you can find reviews of other issues as well. There is also a post on Atari Force on GIANT - SIZE GEEK even if I have to correct the author, Richard Guion in so far as that Dynamite has announced in 2015 that it will reprint it. Although as far as I know only the first four issue mini series which was drawn by Ross Andru that was included in some Atari games is scheduled to come out this year.


While I read and still own a lot of issues of Atari Force I never knew what exactly to make of Twilight. It was a three part prestige format series that was written by Howard Chaykin and when I first saw the ads for it inside some of the DC comic books I read I assumed those characters whose stories I supposedly read when I was young were some characters from fairy tales or children´s books. Or maybe they appeared in some cartoon shows because most of them also get their own comic book. So when I found out that the main characters are the protagonists from old 50s and 60s DC sci fi comics like Star Rovers, Space Rangers or Space Cabbie, well you can figure my disappointment since I knew nothing of these heroes.


I didn´t even know they existed. To this day I have no idea why Howard Chaykin thought more than a handful of people would be interested in this radical new take on these old characters. Because the most important part if you want to do a radical revamp of a popular character is that it has to be a popular character. There are some comics like Grant Morrison´s Animal Man, that are a radical new take on the character that still work if you have never heard of said Animal Man because it is still a good story.


But according to the review of Twilight 1 on NEEDLESS ESSENTIALS ONLINE it wasn´t even that. Which may be one of the reasons why I can´t recall anything about this story. To tell you the truth, I don´t even know if I read the complete story, if I have all the issues and if I still have them where they ended up. I am despite all of this interested enough to see how the story now reads that I have a bit more knowledge of DC´s sci fi universe in the 50s and 60s ( which is mostly due to Mike W. Barr´s THE SILVER AGE SCI FI COMPANION that I got for a very reasonable price from amazon´s overstock section and which should by all right be called THE DC SILVER AGE SCI FI COMPANION because it doesn´t mention any sci fi comics from the 50s and 60s that were not published by DC and of which there must have been many ) and have ordered the trade paperback. Maybe having it all in one book will make it easier for me to track down and for those that want to know more about it before buying it Timothy Callahan has written a more lengthy article about it on COMIC BOOK RESOURCES that is full of spoilers and the highest praise for José Luis García - López artwork. That seems to be the one thing that everybody likes about the Twilight book.


Speaking of twilight things, THE HORRORS OF IT ALL has Unburied Alive ! by José Luis García - López from The Twilight Zone issue 67 and my german readers can find Die Gruft der bösen Träume ( The Crypt Of Evil Dreams ) inside the pages of Gespenster Geschichten 110 or Spuk Geschichten 335.

It´s time to wrap up the part about José Luis García - López and one of his books on my to read list is Cinder & Ashe. The series was written by Gerry Conway ( who also wrote Atari Force ) and it´s generally better received then Twilight. I have seen some of the issues online and they look terrific. It was also published in Spain and my spanish readers can find a review of the comic published by Zinco on COMIC BOOK FAN AND LOVER .


We are still not finished with the links because there are a few callbacks to older posts. And since I mentioned Planet Of The Apes in my last post naturally I found a lot of stuff related to that franchise afterwards - like Britt Reid´s post on SECRET SANCTUM OF CAPTAIN VIDEO about From Out Of The Sky, a story drawn by none other than John Bolton for the british Planet Of The Apes 1977 Annual. Marvel Comics did its series based on the movies but the british annuals based their stories on the 1970s tv series.

Speaking of Marvel´s Planet Of The Apes series there is an extensive post on READ UP ON COMICS about the british version that apparently co - shared the pages with the Lord of the Vampires when the british edition of Dracula Lives ! was cancelled. It´s a really interesting read and I learned a few things I didn´t know before, like the fact that when they ran out of material they just used old Killraven stories where they redrew the aliens as apes and rechristened the main character Apeslayer. If this has piqued your curiosity you can read more about Apeslayer on STEVE DOES COMICS and there is a post on READ UP ON COMICS about the Silver and Bronze Age british Pence Price Variants which has a plethora of José Luis García - López covers including Batman issue 318 which I borrowed for this post.

BUSTY BLAXPLOITATION STARS, SEXY PHOTOHOGS & WET REPORTERS 

THE BRONZE AGE OF BLOGS has another great newspaper strip from the 70s, Friday Foster written by Jim Lawrence with art by Jorge Longaron and Gray Morrow and for those that don´t like to read black and white comics don´t worry guys the post features only full color Sunday pages.


Now Friday Foster is known for two things, being the first big syndicated newspaper strip featuring a black female lead character and being turned into a full length feature movie starring none other than the queen bee of blaxplotation cinema, Pam Greer. That´s right, Today when you hear about comic book movies you automatically think about super heroes but there was a time when directors turned well known newspaper strips into movies. Because back then doing super heroes was not easy since the special effects were not very good. So when my generation went to the cinema to watch a movie that was based on a comic book in most cases it wasn´t super heroes and much rather something like Little Orphan Annie, Popeye with Robin Williams or Brenda Starr starr - ing ( sorry for the bad pun ) Timothy Dalton and Brooke Shields. The last one is less memorable for it´s story and more for Miss Shield´s wet almost wardrobe malfunction.


Anyway, I have watched Friday Foster and I have read some reviews that say it´s not a good blaxploitation movie while others say it may be one of the worst Pam Grier movies. And I must veto on that because Pam Grier was also in Ghosts Of Mars and that movie is like in a league of its own where crap movies are concerned. Okay, if you rate Friday Foster only as a Pam Grier movie it clearly has to be rated below such excellent examples of black cinematography like Coffy or my personal favorite Foxy Brown.


But that´s not the right approach I think. Friday Foster is not a Pam Grier movie but the adaption of a newspaper comic strip which happens to star Pam Grier. I mean if I had to cast that movie around that time Pam Grier would also have been my first choice for the title role because, come on.


Who else would you cast ? Even if it meant that you had to tone things down a bit. Because while the story is complicated and intriguing enough to keep the audiences attention Pam Grier is not as much of a kickass character and there is not as much violence as in Coffy or Foxy Brown.


Now I don´t know if it was because it is a comic adaption and back then ( and to some extent still Today ) Hollywood people automatically makes the assumption it has to be geared to kids. What makes this theory unlikely is the fact that there is still a lot of violence in the movie and even the the obligatory shower scene with the bodacious Miss Grier.


It´s more plausible that the director of the movie was more interested in staying true to the source material than doing his own hardboiled take on it ( I know, what a revolutionary idea for Today´s film producers ). And since the Friday Foster in the comic strip was rather a street smart, fun loving photographer who later started a career in front of the camera as a highly paid fashion model than a wronged woman on a revenge trip the movie is a bit lighter in tone. So if you go in with that mindset you will be abundantly entertained as Pam Grier gets to do more as a character then in previous movies where she is reduced to the usual stereotypes. From Today´s perspective there are a few aspects of the movie that make it a real experience like the funky music, the cool fashion and the a - list of afro american actors like Eartha Kitt, Yaphet Kotto and Carl Weathers. I don´t think it was his first acting role but it was very early in his career.


And if you think my posts are long you should check out Dennis  Cooper´s .... well, I was going to say article but it´s so extensive that it´s more of an essay or pamphlet about Pam Grier . Now the reason why I came across this is that the post includes everything and the kitchen sink and Dennis Cooper used one of the animated GIFs I made for a Pam Grier birthday post that I never got around to do. I´m not mentioning this to dis him since I myself rely heavily on material other people post and I have always said that even the GIFs I make myself are free for others to use. It´s more to illustrate why I include where I found the material I use in my posts. This is hard work and it´s always nice to get some small kind of recognition.


As always I checked the availability of the movie - because why include a movie here if you can get it for five bucks online - and for some reason it covets a heavy price. It can´t be because of the shower scene because there is more nudity in her other movies and you can get them for no more than ten bucks. So I guess it´s because it´s a rather obscure one or most reviews are not that favorable. Now part of the sound is missing or low early on in this video but apart from that you can watch it okay.



Since the links section has gotten longer than expected I will try to keep the part with the celebrity birthdays short - or at least shorter than with other posts recently - but I still have to mention mi paisano Pascual Ferry who turned 57 on March 24. Not only is he from my home country Spain but also one of my favorite artists so I thought about doing a birthday post for him but after going over the posts I did on him in 2011 and last year and checking what pictures by him I have left I have to say I already posted the best material. And therefore a new post would only be a lesser version of my earlier posts. I have to confess that I´ve no idea what he´s doing now since I don´t read most of what the big two put out nowadays.


Another birthday I already covered in a previous year is Brian Bolland who celebrates his 67th anniversary Today. I mentioned him in the beginning of the post and I am starting to get the feeling that he always has to take a backseat. He got a belated birthday post last year since his birthday falls on the same day as Leonard Nimoy and I was more interested in doing a special Star Wars comic cover tribute post a special Star Wars comic cover tribute post to one of the big heroes of my youth and this year the same thing happens. In any case, while I wish he would do some interior work again I was a bit surprised the DC people let him do covers for the NEW 52 because they shunned most veteran artists at that time but maybe they wanted to stay on his good side because of the upcoming anniversary of The Killing Joke. They already peed off Alan Moore so it stands to reason that they wanted to have at least one of the creators backing them up. Be that as it may, like last year it doesn´t mean that there will be no Brian Bolland post since it may be only post poned. There are a lot of Animal Man covers where I found the original art that I´m just anxious to post.


As I already did a post on the 26th of May last year I am skipping the rest of Today´s birthdays to include the lovely Abbe Lane. I came across her while looking for videos of Sabrina Salerno and among all the clips with such sexbombs like Maria Abradelo , Norma Duval , Barbara Rey , Angela Cavagna or Regina Do Santos - whom I just featured in my last post - she managed to attract my attention. Even though she is a big star in the spanish community I had to google her and besides her long career as an actress her biggest success was as a nightclub singer who was described in one magazine article as the swingingest sexpot in show business. She also was a successful recording artist and guest starred on a lot of tv shows from The Brady Bunch to Hart To Hart and was known for her suggestive comments and likewise outfits as the actress who was considered too hot for Bella Italia was once asked to wear something different for The Jackie Gleason Show since her costume was considered too revealing. I hope the one she is wearing in the clip below meets the approval of my readers.



You probably expected the spanish language version of Danger : Diabolik next but since we already have a feature length comic movie in the post here is a documentary about the making of the cult classic. I hope that besides saving me a lot of time it also makes up for not having a video for the recent birthday of Stephen R. Bissette who is one of the narrators.



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Jayne Mansfield may turn boys into men but I take them from there.

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