Showing posts from 2017

Sunday Morning Op Shop Find: Fifty Years Of The Port Adelaide Institute (1902)

Believe it or not, this ad is actually for clothing.  There's not a stitch in sight, but the aim of the ad was to show that Famous Hercules Clothing, in 1902, was just as strong as the legendary German bodybuilder Eugen Sandow.

Or perhaps not.  I mean, who knows now?  All the same, it's a great ad, from a book that is now 115 years old and still fully intact.

I found this copy of the book at an op shop, of course, and was delighted to discover that it was the original owner was one Arthur Lipson, the grandson of Captain Thomas Lipson, R.N., who was the first Collector of Customs at Port Adelaide.  How good is that?  He got this book in 1902 and it remained in the family, I presume, until the point where it got dumped out, for whatever reason.  The photos and sketches of Port Adelaide from the mid 1800s through to 1901 in this book, alone, are worth the price of admission.

And then there's Eugen Sandow.  Pride of place at the front.  That's history for you.  Bring it o…

Sunday Morning Op Shop Find: Orson Welles

Ain't it a stunner?  The Lives Of Harry Lime, complete with non-fiction stories by none other than Harry Lime himself, Orson Welles.  I tell a slight fib though, this book wasn't an Op Shop find, this one was a few bucks at a book fair here in Adelaide last week.  It was worth heading out in the cold and rain, just for this one.  And there were other books to be found, including an extensive study of the Bounty mutiny dated 1884.  Can't complain.

I was fascinated by the film The Third Man from the time I first saw it on TV.  It just bewitched me, and the speech Harry Lime gives on top of the ferris wheel about morality is still utterly chilling.  If you've seen the film, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If not...
Holly Martins: Have you ever seen any of your victims?
Harry Lime: You know, I never feel comfortable on these sort of things. Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots st…

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Vampirella!

My guess is that this poster made it to more doors and walls in the early 1970s than paint.  Hell, I still want one!  I mean, how could it get any better than this?  The poster was drawn by Jose Gonzales and first appeared on the cover of Vampirella (Warren) #19.  Frankly, who cares where it appeared.  Along with the giant Frankenstein's Monster poster drawn by Jack Davis, this was essential and anyone who had one was to be envied, and cursed, but admired until the day their mother/wife/girlfriend/all of the above had enough with looking at it and ripped it in two.

Jealousy.  Bloody awful thing really.  I mean, if you can't fall in love with Vampirella, then what can you do?

And yes, I still want one.  And yes, if you have one, you're a bastard, but well done.  Very well done.

They Don't Make Comic Books Like This Anymore: Alien vs Arachnid

The first team up of the major superheroes, and, frankly, still the best.  Easily.

'Nuff said.

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Amazing World Of Superman

So.  This.  In 1973 the town of Metropolis, Illinois, had a Superman themed exhibition.  The whole town turned out to celebrate, and DC Comics were right in there with them.  To really get into the swing of things, the local newspaper, The Metropolis Planet (I mean, what else would you call your newspaper) issued a special edition, the cover of which is posted below.  And yes, I am still very much digging my new A3 scanner, thanks for asking.

The newspaper is full of ads for various local businesses, all cashing in on the Superman name and brand.  There's photos of special events, packed with facts from the TV show and the comic books.  Look! There's Carmine Infantino!  And Sol Harrison!  Both at different events, proudly hoisting the DC flag.  There's the Reverend Charles Chandler.  And some guy named Mike Forbes, who dressed up as Superman and wandered around posing for photos for the occasion.  In fact, anyone and everyone you could think of, related to Superman and hi…

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Frank Miller's 1981 Marvel Ad

Now I have no idea if this ad ever made it to any American publication, as the only place I've ever seen it is in the Panel Power Comicon III programme.  The Comicon was held in Sydney that year, and the programme is packed with illos by Barry Windsor-Smith, Jack Kirby, Mike Royer, Gray Morrow, Carl Barks, John Dixon, Glenn Ford (who drew the cover), Paul Gulacy, Gil Kane, Frants Kantor, Peter Ledger, Paul Power, Bill Stout, Paul Wheelahan, Colin Wilson and a pack of other luminaries.

Good luck tracking it down.  It's well worth it, if for the sketches and drawings alone.  And no, before you ask, you can't have my copy.  I fluked it at a comic book store in Melbourne years ago and have held it close to hand ever since.

Mind you, if you went to the 1981 Comicon, and can remember it, then by all means, share your thoughts in the comments section.

Now, just what was Daredevil doing with those binoculars?

Australian Gothic: Dracula Down Under - Now On Sale

Australian Gothic can now be purchased at Amazon.  Go, run and buy it, and tell your local bookstore to stock it.  You'll not regret it.

Sunday Morning Op Shop Find: Seduction Of The Innocent

Since I first heard about this book I've wanted one, but each time I bid on a copy on auction sites, or enquired on book sites, I missed out.  I had resigned myself to the fate of only having an electronic copy, never a physical one.

Imagine my shock and horror when I walked into an Op Shop (or charity shop for you overseas folks) and found this edition mixed in with some old books, priced at a whopping $4.00.  I picked it up and opened it, yes, it was there.  The British edition, missing the bibliography, but with the introduction by Randolph Churchill, son of Sir Winston.

As I held it in my hands my first urge was to run as fast as I could out the store, never to return.  I quickly came to my senses, handed over a $5.00 note and told them to keep the change.  I left, so very happy to finally have this in the collection.  I know that the work has been largely discredited, mainly by my excellent friend Dr Carol Tilley, but that doesn't lessen the thrill of the find.

You see, …

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Evolutionary War

No real reason for this one, other than it was drawn by the utterly brilliant Walter Simonson.  Who then took the trouble to sign it.

I just bought a new scanner, an Epson Workforce, to replace my old, old Mustek.  I scanned this image because, no matter how many times I tried on the Mustek, it always came out looking like crap, lines, bad colouring, you name it.  Now it looks perfect, with all the dings and wear and tear on show.  As it should be.

Now someone will tell me how shitty the Epson Workforce scanners are.  Go for it.  It was cheap, like the budgie, so I'm not overly fussed.  It's working well so far, and the scans look great, so shove it up your jumper.

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Howard Rogofsky

Even in Australia we've heard of Howard Rogofsky.

His reputation certainly preceded him, and not always in the best light.  The word was that you could get what you wanted or needed from Howard, but condition wasn't always a priority.  I knew a guy who had a nickname for him, but I won't repeat it here, I'll let others utter that dreaded word, if they dare.  He sold high and bought low, and while that might annoy a lot of people, that sounds like good business sense to me.

One local dealer I knew absolutely hated Howard.  He hated that Howard charged high grade prices, but then this dealer would routinely order comics for his customers, get them into the store and switch them over, keeping the high grade for himself and giving the customer the lower grade comic from his personal collection.  Not that he told anyone what he was doing.  But he would do to his customers what he accused Howard of doing to him.

Quid pro quo I guess.

You see, I never had any dealings with…

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Addams Family House!

I mean, seriously!  This would stop anyone from sniffing glue, if only because you'd need all the sticky stuff you can squeeze to finish this magnificent model kit.  Surely someone out there has one of these, fully assembled and painted?  Show us the pictures!!!

I wonder if it came with a free Morticia Addams?

Years ago I had the good fortune to meet John Astin in Adelaide.  We started talking about television when he asked, "Who did you prefer, Lily Munster or Morticia Addams?"  I thought about it for a second and replied, "Lily was the one that I always wanted to tuck me into bed, but Morticia was the one that I always wanted to climb into bed with."

Astin roared with laughter.  "Me tool, old man, me too!"

Love the Addams Family!

They Don't Make Ads (Or Clothes) Like This Anymore: Battlestar Galactica

Seriously?  Would any disco, ESPECIALLY in 1980, let that guy in??  The girl, possibly, but the dude?  Most people would have lined him up as a nark, and if he was wearing those clothes....

You know that this ad was drawn, mainly because there'd be no way known, even in 1979/1980, that you could hire a family to wear those outfits without the photographer facing charges of child abuse and crimes against fashion.

Having said that, I just know someone out there actually bought and wore one of these jackets, and they're probably selling for thousands on sites like eBay.  Oh well, I couldn't stand that show anyway, but the spaceships were kind of cool.

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Zombie Mask

I can't help but wonder just how many banks were robbed by people wearing one of these.  Mind you, at $40 in 1973, it would have been the rubber mask of choice for the discerning bank robber.  You know the kind, the ones who really think the job out and spend a bit of time, effort, and money, and consider their activities a good investment.

I still want one. After all, who doesn't want to be the death of the party?

Australian Gothic: The Untold Story of the Australian Dracula Stage Tour of 1929 - Coming Very Soon

My latest book, published by Wildside-Kronos, will be ready to ship in the coming week.  If you have any interest in theatre in Australia, or horror movies, or plays or just history in general, then you'll want to read this.  Complete with an introduction by the legendary Stephen Bissette and original (and amazing) illustrations by Steve Lehman, this is shaping up to be beyond my wildest expectations.

I'll post the links when they're ready, so you can rush out and buy this.  As always, I'm more than happy to talk about the topic, just ask and you'll find it difficult to shut me up.

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: The Miracle Man

Despite being released in 1919 in America, this Lon Chaney classic wasn't released in Australia until early 1920.  It's as good an ad as you're likely to see, and with an image that I'm pretty sure was created by a local Australian artist.

And, you never know, a complete copy of this film might well still exist, sitting in a box in an attic somewhere...just waiting to be discovered.

100 Years Ago: The Great McEwin - Would Make A Cat LAUGH

100 years ago today I'd be buying tickets to see The Great McEwin, and if that cat didn't chuckle on it's own accord, I'd be throwing fruit at the stage.  I mean, just look at those reviews.  If McEwin wasn't your tonic, then I don't know that anyone could have helped you.

A few weeks later The Great McEwin was reviewed.

McEwen at the Town Hall. McEwin still holds Adelaide laughing at mystified. For three weeks he has drawn great crowds to the Town Hall, for few can resist his magnetism, and those who do are missing one of the most interesting a and amusing shows seen in Adelaide. Many people have gone over and over again to see him, and are still reserve seats ahead, for it is impossible to tire of the entertainment.  If anyone want a laugh cure, McEwin is the best physician and he never fails. Sceptics have only to see his performance to be convinced. Hypnotism is a science, beneficial to the utmost degree, and McEwen is a worthy exponent of that science. His sh…

The Guyra Ghost Mystery - Solved?

What would you say if I told you that, after nearly 100 years, the mystery of the Guyra Ghost has been solved?  Well, that's exactly what I'm about to reveal, later this year.

Since I wrote about the long, lost, Australian film, "The Guyra Ghost", for Monster! #31, I became interested in the event itself.  So I immersed myself into the mystery and felt, as always, that there was far more to this than what we've always read.  And I was right.

For, you see, I believe I've uncovered the person responsible for at least part of the so called haunting.  I won't name that person here, or why I suspect them, but, suffice to say, the book that I will be publishing as a limited edition will explain all.

Watch this space...

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Starlord


They Don't Make Ads like This Anymore: Marvel Preview


Uncle Stan Says, "Happy 4th of July!"

Ok, so it's the 5th here.  And I'm not an American.  But I am amused by the amount of Americans who, over the years, have expressed their amazement that we Australians don't celebrate their Independence Day.  My standard answer, I'm sure we will, on the same year that Americans celebrate Australia Day.  But plenty of Americans have wished me well on Australia Day, so allow me to return the favour.

Enjoy your day of days and try not to shoot yourself or anyone else for that matter.

Comic Book Censorship: 1974 – 1988 Banning The Underground

Comic Book Censorship: 1974 – 1988 Banning The Underground
The following piece of work is taken from a larger body of work titled ‘Horror Comic Books and Censorship in Australia 1950 – 1990’.This is currently a work in progress and covers the history of the horror comic, the origins (and complete history) of the Gredown line, how it was connected to K.G. Murray, the Spanish and American connections along with the Yaffa Syndicate, Horwitz and much more.The work will also cover how comics were banned and censored in Australia, beginning with the banning of Detective Comics in 1937.Some of this work will be appearing in a publication yet to be announced, and other parts will be appearing either here, on this blog, or in other publications as time progresses.
I am open to debate and discussion on this topic, so feel free to email me at any point in time.Until then, here is an abridged version of a chapter titled…
1974 – 1988 Banning The Underground
Out of all the comic books and related magaz…

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