Showing posts with label dinosaurs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dinosaurs. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Charlton Arrow Week! "The Challenge of Mata Zin" by Fred Himes

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! It's Charlton Arrow Week here on the Diversions! I know this is kinda different--and yeah, call it a week's worth of plugs if you want--but I think Fester Faceplant and the Gang behind the new Charlton Arrow comic deserve all the plugs and kudos they can get! I mean, to Ol' Groove, gathering a group of fans and pros to revive Charlton Comics (or as close as legally possible) is a task worthy of great praise! To think that pros like Paul (Life With Archie) Kupperberg, Roger (Captain America, Daredevil) McKenzie, Joe (E-Man, Dick Tracy) Staton, Rick Stasi, Lou Mougin, Mort Todd, and so many others would join such an enterprise out of sheer love for Charlton Comics makes it a mag above and beyond wanting. It's a mag we need! If you don't have a copy (first printing is sold out!!), go here right now and get a copy (Not sold in stores!). Aaaaaand get ready to order ish #2 which promises to be even better (E-Man by Nick Cuti and Joe Staton, anyone?)!

One thing Charlton was well known for back during the Groovy Age was their licensed comics. They licensed newspaper comic strips, TV shows, TV cartoon shows, pop stars, you name it. In 1974/1975, dinosaurs and cavemen seemed to be poised to take over Saturday mornings. Land of the Lost on NBC. Korg, 70,000 B.C. on ABC. And Valley of the Dinosaurs on CBS. Today we're gonna check out Valley of the Dinosaurs #3 (April 1975). Fred Himes was awesome on this strip, as his "The Challenge of Mata Zin" should prove....


Thursday, January 26, 2012

If You Blinked You Missed; Kong the Untamed

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! If you were a kid who was a fan of cavemen and dinosaurs in 1974, you were having a pretty good year. Saturday mornings were filled with 'em: Valley of the Dinosaurs (CBS); Korg, 70,000 B.C. (ABC); and of course Land of the Lost (NBC). I s'pose this came about due to the heavy influence of parent educator groups on the networks to make Saturday mornings more (blech) educational. The caveman/dinosaur shows looked educational enough to satisfy the establishment, but had enough action and sci-fi to hold the kids attention.

Comicbooks are always late to the party when picking up on trends, but they always get in the door. DC made a few attempts to cash in on this short-lived craze. They greenlit Warlord which would almost completely miss the party, but showed 'em all by hanging around for a decade after the party was over. They reprinted Joe Kubert's classic 1950s caveman strip Tor (with new covers and some new material by Kubert). You'd have thought they would have brought back Anthro, created by Howie Post in 1967, but they didn't. They created a brand new character, Kong the Untamed, who bore quite a bit of Anthro (both were aided in their creation by editor Joe Orlando, just so ya know). In today's market, Kong the Untamed would have been a "reboot of the Anthro franchise", but in those days--nope.

Although Kong sported the same basic story as Anthro (young  Cro-Magnon destined to become his tribe's chief during the waning days of the Neanderthal) and a less cool and highly derivative name (King Kong? Konga? Korg, 70,000 B.C.? ), it was still kinda neat. The first two issues (March-May 1975) with their Bernie Wrightson covers, Jack Oleck stories, and Alfredo Alcala interior art were all kinds of far-out. With ish #3 (July 1975), Gerry Conway took over scripting and the cover was by Bill Draut, who's a fine artist, but no Bernie Wrightson. Conway took total control of the writing with #4 (September 1975) while Alcala associates Tony Caravana and Jo Igente provide the art, blending Alcala's style with a style similar to Nestor Redondo's. Surprisingly, Conway doesn't upset the ship, story-wise, but keeps things moving along at an even keel. Unsurprisingly, ish 5 begins to usher in the inevitable "change of direction" that signals a sales slump. The art style has already completely changed as  artist David T. Wenzel makes his pro comicbook debut as penciler (he would soon become one of the top sci-fi/fantasy illustrators ever, natch). Wenzel does a nice job, the storytelling is very exciting, but the inks of cover artist Bill Draut lack the luster and organic feel of the previous issues under Alcala and friends. Kong the Untamed #5 (November 1975) also turned out to be the series' final issue. Oh, well, it was a nice run, and it did, at least, outlive Valley of the Dinosaurs and Korg 70,000 B.C. Small victories are better than none!

Here's the far-out first ish by Oleck and Alcala (complete with Wrightson cover and behind-the-scenes info from the letters page. Who loves ya, baby?)!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sports Sunday: "Tall In the Saddle!"

Groove-dom seemed to take a special liking to Strange Sports Stories, as last Tuesday's post was the biggest hit-maker of the past few weeks! Ol' Groove can take a hint! Here's another Strange Sports Story, this time combining the unlikely trio of horse-racing, witchcraft...and dinosaurs!?! From Strange Sports Stories #2 (August 1973), here's "Tall In the Saddle!" by Frank Robbins, Curt Swan, and Murphy Anderson!


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