Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kikaida 50

for my 50th post this month (this will taper off, what with working again and all now) I thought I'd talk a little about Jinzo Ningen Kikaida.

this is where I first learned of Kikaida.  it's a nice little article telling the readers of Famous Monsters how popular the show is in Japan.  there are lots of photos of our hero and some of the early villains (Carmine Spider, Green Mantis/Mammoth, Blue Kong, etc).

due to the main thrust of the issue, I thought that Kikaida was similar to Ultraman, a giant hero defending Japan against various other giant monsters.  several years later I learned he was not that, but a human sized hero defending Japan against robots of the Dark.

it wasn't until the 90s that I actually got to see an episode of the show (and the sequel, Kikaida 01).  these were unsubtitled and were a lot of fun.  by then, I had learned Kikaida had been shown subbed in Hawai'i and was a huge hit there.  naturally, I wondered if it would ever be shown again, in the age of VCRs.

well, to the surprise of many, it was! 

the subs turned out to be only adequate and the sequel was never re-aired.  the quality of the tapes tended to be less than stellar, but at least I could understand what was going on.

and again, several years later, Generation Kikaida brought the show back, both shows in fact.  then released them on DVD with loads of great extras (most by August Ragone).

I never would have thought it possible in 1976 that I would ever have seen this show.

Switch On!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

8 Man

a dramatic pose.  that is all!

Tiger Spark!

P Productions sure liked their cat heroes.  so do I!

Iron Man Tiger Seven is a really cool show. the Creature from the Black Lagoon even shows up, sort of.  would have loved Tiger Seven to take on Octoman (which certainly would have helped that movie)!
I do think this is a possible inspiration for the Aquabats song "Tiger Rider vs the Time Sprinkler", an awesome song whatever the source!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Secret Impossibles, man!

I used to hate "funny heroes", but these days, I love the Impossibleshere's a great musical tribute to them!

their debut was recorded for posterity in comic books of the day!
I don't remember them battling "Bratfink" but I'll watch the show again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tarantula (1956)

another great movie I saw as a kid on a Friday night, after "The Outer Limits". I think Leo G. Carroll was scarier than the tarantula took to the hills.
I'll tell you, almost anything that followed "The Outer Limits" was automatically scarier than it should have been.

he came to us from a star

M78 to be exact!

Ultraman 80 is one of my favorite Ultras, a lot of it being due to his fighting style (only surpassed by Megaloman in kyodai heroes). the theme song here is pretty great as well.

Buckle Beam!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MOTW - Arise, Megalon!

anyone who knows me know I unashamedly love Godzilla vs Megalon (1973).  I saw it in the theater on October 9th, 1976 when it made it to CO (I recently looked that up, gotta love micro fiche!).
age 11 (and a half) was the perfect age to see four giant monsters slugging it out in the Japanese countryside.  since there was no home video, the stock footage wasn't quite as evident, nor as noticeable to group of excited kids.  even if the awesome US theatrical poster lied to us a bit, we really didn't mind.
it's nice to see a great looking print of the movie.  my only wish is that AIP had dubbed the voices, not that I hate the HK voices, but Titra would have been nicer.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

more reasons why The Brave and the Bold rules

these are all from "The Siege of Starro" part one.  they actually make Starro a pretty creditable menace, due to the Silver- er, Faceless Hunter helping Starro along.

here we see four reasons why this is a great cartoon.  four different Batmobiles, including the early roadster. 

that is all shades of awesome.  the rest of the battle in the Batcave features a giant dinosaur and many other trophies, though I certainly wish the giant penny had come into play somehow.  trophy rooms just rock.

here we have a Starro spore controlled Vixen as she battles her fiance` Bwana Beast.  yes, he has always looked this silly.  but that's not really the point here.  he is riding Kaboobie, from Shazzan

again, that is too cool for words for any cartoon, especially one with Batman.

I do have to take exception to Wiki's calling Captain Marvel of all heroes a "C-list" hero.  I mean, really?  maybe NOW, but he sold more comic books than Superman back in the day.  that's just a bad thing to write, period end of story. and I'm not even a huge fan of the big Red Cheese, especially him placed in the DCU proper.

finally, there's this shot.  I don't think I need to explain it much, especially if you have clicked on the first Starro link.  without Starro, there's no JLA, without the JLA there's no Fantastic Four and so on...

Quest Files 037

I love Jonny Quest.  I can't remember how old I was the first time I saw an episode, or even which episode was the first one I saw (might have been the Lizard Men episode, or the one with the seven gargoyles, very creepy) but it's just always been there in my life.

so I found this documentary made by fans of the show.  it's really good, and thoroughly exhaustive.  it runs two hours and 21 minutes, which is almost TOO exhaustive.  there's a lot of good stuff here, but there's a some repetition that could and should have been edited out.

still, I can complain as it's really well done and well researched.  there's a lot of unauthorized material in here, but since it's a labor of love, who cares?

what a great show.  here's the ending piece that got cut out of the doc- all action, Quest style!

thanks to Jonny Quest and my pal Shonokin the info.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kamen Rider Hibiki & The Seven Senki (2005)

I can't believe I've owned this movie for 4 years or so. or that I've only watched it once, before I ever saw any of the series.

I started watching Kamen Rider Hibiki about a year ago (see this post) and enjoyed it then.  now that I have seen 39 episodes (only 11 or so left) I really like it.  very different than most "Rider" shows.  though as I said last year, it's not really any kind of Kamen Rider series.

anyway, since I have to wait for the last set of episodes to be delivered, I decided to watch the movie again.  it's kind of the "Seven Samurai" done Oni style, and in 75 minutes.  it's an alternate version of how Hibiki gets his final "Soko" form and sword.

anyone who has watched Japanese fantastic cinema is aware of these styles of movies (see Mazinger Z Vs. Devilman if you want another example).  the main makamo is interesting, but in making it such a huge sea dragon (and all cg) it loses a bit of, oh, how shall we say, credibility, and looks a little silly with it's legs running the way the do.

good movie.  and for fun, here's Hibiki in Kamen Rider Decade with a great piece of music:

the Iceberg Monster

here's a sneak at something that will be featured in Xenorama #15... this is a great example of the cartoon, and features two menaces even!  this cartoon never gets talked about too much, probably because of the rather silly premise, but dang it's a lot of fun.

here's the coloring book I own (actually, have two copies of it, the original I had back in the day, and the one I bought on eBay several years ago).  it's just as much fun, and has even more underwater dangers than the cartoon!

plus one odd looking sea monster!  super scary!

Doc vs Ray

been reading Doc Savage books since I was very young (including various comic book versions) but I sure would have gone for books like this big time.

if you want to see more, go to this blog, Colossa, for more great Doc Savage adventures that never happened, all featuring Ray Harryhausen's creatures.

wonder if Doc ever got to Japan then?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giant Robo rocks- runch!

this is from episode episode #7- "Our Enemy, Scalion".  thanks to hulu for showing this awesome series.  now if we could only get a legit DVD set...

anyway, Spider of the Gargoyle Gang has a scheme that involves lots of death and killing, mostly of the Unicorn Agents.

we also find out that Gargoyle Gang members play chess, though apparently not very well.

I like the way Scalion looks though, he's one bizarre monster.  most of the monsters in this series, and in Japanese monsterdom are oddball looking critters.  that's part of the appeal.

as I mentioned, this is one action packed and rather violent show.  Scalion spits acid and >spoiler warning< completely disintegrates the rather hapless Spider at the end of the episode.  right down to a pool of soap suds.

sad way to die, and the hands of your own monster!

Johnny's about 12 or so in the show, and handles a gun and drives and has no compunction against blasting away enemy Gargoyle Agents.  his parents are mentioned, but the producers never bothered with them, or much with his school life.
here's the monstrous foe.  what would you think he was?

where was THIS Spider-man?

I think I remember seeing this promo, or something like it, back in the day.  I wish the show had lived up to even this much potential.  I mostly remember wanting to like it more, but always wishing there was more Spider-man and more action. 
they can't all be this fun, I suppose!  and the lame 70s pseudo-jazz soundtrack has gotta go!

the ghost who walks

the Phantom! possibly the first costumed hero (standard superhero style, that is) in comics (strips or books).
here's Tom Tyler as the Phantom in the 1943 The Phantom serial of the same name.  it's a pretty good serial overall, and relatively faithful to the source material (something that was hit or miss back then).  later on there was an unsold pilot for a tv show.  it was also faithful, and would have been an interesting show in 1961, long before the Batmania slight superhero craze five years later.

then there's the Phantom 2040 cartoon, from 1994, which I didn't like at first but then later on enjoyed.  it was successful enough to run for two seasons, which is a pretty good run for a cartoon.

there have been some other adaptions (I hear Sci-fi has one) and an alleged movie being made called "Phantom: Legacy" which will feature another update.

still the 1996 The Phantom is all you really need to see for the real Phantom.  it's quite a good movie, full of adventure and suspense.  a great cast and score rounds it out, and Billy Zane, who plays the Phantom is a huge fan.  no padding in this costume.

it's a shame it didn't do well in the theater.  apparently the home sales are quite good.

I think I'll watch it again!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Japanese Marine Boy opening/closing themes

I love the Japanese opening theme to Marine Boy.  I prefer it to the US one, it just has great vim and vigor!

it's been quite some time since I've posted about Marine Boy.  yes, I am still planning on a book, or perhaps a large issue of Xenorama about the show.  all in good time.

MechaGodzilla vs MechaGodzilla 2

watched both MechaGodzilla films the last two days (in case you couldn't tell).  I think I prefer the first one to the sequel.

they are two different movies, with two completely different tones.  the sequel is sci-fi monster adventure, whereas the sequel is far more sci-fi monster tragedy.

it loses points for the 30+ minutes there is no monster action at all going on.  in the 60s this could work, but by 1975, when your main audience is children, it's not a great idea.  at least it's not a retread of the 1974 movie, and MechaGodzilla looks like it's been rebuilt, with some different weapons (though we see most of the same ones, due to some stock footage).

they are still two very good films, possibly the best of the 70s.  and this MechaGodzilla is the only one worthy of the name.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

pro wrestling star Aztekaizer

here's a cool and wild show by Tsuburaya Productions and Go Nagai-

it combines wrestling and monsters and cartoons. 

JLA/Avengers #3

perhaps the greatest cover of all time
it would be really easy for me to just post the cover to this issue.  go ahead, try to name every hero on it.  I can't. oh sure, I can name most of them (and there are some interesting choices- Giant Man, Yellowjacket and Goliath and lord knows how many Hawks) but I don't know all of then. 

the issue deals with the attempted merging of the two universes, the crossovers that make me want to read them so much- who wouldn't want a Roy Thomas/Jerry Ordway Invaders/All Stars series like this? and the realization by two heroes that something still isn't quite right.

and then they get the truth.  after about 30 years of "continuity" lots of bad things have happened to our favorite heroes.  and I mean LOTS.  insanity, possession, divorce nervous breakdowns and finally death far outweigh the good things that happen to them.  they have to decide if they want to defeat Krona and make things return to where they should be or try to maintain what they have.

and they are heroes tried and true.


here's a poster from the Korean movie Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967).  though perhaps it's a blurb for the tv guide?  I know those exist as well.

I think it's pretty cool.  I nicked it from this cool blog- Coming Attractions of the Past, which I highly recommend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Starman vs the Atomic Rulers!

I first saw Starman (or Super Giant, if you prefer) early in the morning on KWGN Channel 2 in Denver.  it was listed as "Atomic Rulers of the World" with "sci-fi" as it's designated genre.  that was all it said.

so I set the alarm for 2 or 3 A.M. and duly woke my brother Eric up so we could watch the science fiction movie.  we had no idea it was an actual Japanese superhero movie!  for years I remembered Starman bending the gun the gangsters were using to menace the children in the movie.

we had never seen anything like him before, and it took years for me to find out there were three more movies starring this hero.

the opening was even more iconic and surreal. it's really cool. who knew one day you could buy all four movies for about $20? for more info, look at the Blacksun blog on it!

Fighting of Shaolin Monk AKA Killer Priest (1981)

I enjoy Netflix movie viewer, since it allows one to watch movies from the comp and all, but trying to watch some of the lesser known kung fu movies like this one can be a trial.
one of many titles
the picture is not good and the sound is non-existant.  it gets decent reviews, but the first 30 minutes are pretty boring (after a good start).  it supposedly tells the story of Da-mo (Tamo, whatever) the priest who travelled from India to China and developed the five animal styles of kung fu.

I didn't think the fights were that good either, and it's full of the US style of "chop-edit" so you don't actually see much real fighting. meh.

crabs have teeth!

well, giant martian crabs do, anyway! they also drool.
crab vs crab
there is nothing that isn't improved by any kind of giant monsters, crabs or not.  this is from

Pinocchio in Outer Space (1965), a really cool movie that  Fred Ladd produced. hmm, I have no idea what I did with the font! LOL. here's  your clip!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Devilman opening and closing

this 1972 cartoon series is pretty cool, and has great opening and closing theme songs.

I like that this version is still pretty demonic, but not overly gory or bloody like the 90s cartoon version was.
Devil Wing!
and yet also very superheroic looking.  Go Nagai is something else.


while I am on a MechaGodzilla kick, let's have an informal vote.  which poster do you prefer?

this is the original Cinema Shares poster complete with the "Bionic Monster" title.  I watched the show, I know it was a big hit, but it's not nearly as exciting as this movie is.

this one shows you everything the movie is going to offer you, three giant monsters and one giant robot version of Godzilla.  it leaves out one very cool Interpol Agent played by Shin Kishida.  there's also a great score by Masaru Satô.

I also really like the inclusion of a new mystical guardian monster in King Shisa who has some neat powers of his own, reflecting MG's eye rays.

hmm, I seem to have gotten a little off tangent here.  OK, onto the next poster, which is very famous!

this one showed up on Famous Monsters #135, which I immediately purchased.  there were never enough Godzilla articles in that magazine for me back then (though when I look back, there were more than I thought, though bt the 70s most of them were reprints of older articles).

the cover is by the great artist Basil Gogos, and it's really good.  one would never know there were two other monsters in the movie, but it looks pretty exciting, and the monsters themselves are well represented.  this didn't happen in a lot of US Godzilla posters (DAM, Megalon, etc).

FM #135 also stated that King Ghidorah was in the movie, as one of the GOOD monsters!  back then, mistakes like that were understandable.  but really, who would make a movie with the villain's villain Ghidorah as a hero? 

no one would buy that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

rare MechaGodzilla (1974) trailer

probably the best Godzilla film from the 70s:

this is sourced from a Finnish rental tape, must be the "international" trailer.  I had never seen it before.  amazing what you can find on youtube!
Italian lobby
there will be more on this movie later.

they slimed us

just a shot of the title card of a cool movie that deserves a proper US DVD release.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Southern Knights #2

in our second issue we meet the first super powered villain the Knights will face... Dread!

after rescuing millionaire Johnny Barl, Barl wants to sponsor the "Crusaders".  meanwhile, the girls don't want to wear costumes or have codenames, and Electrode/David finds out some team in NYC already is using the "Crusaders" moniker (that would be Archie Comics Group, "The Mighty Crusaders" protecting their rightful trademark).

Dragon has a great aside about the original Crusaders as well.

Barl hosts a party for the Knights, but moves their police scanner (wow, no cell phones or anything back in 1983) so no one can hear it.  that's when the mutant Dread makes his starts using his fear power to rob banks.  finally the Knights find out about the crime spree and go into action against the villain.

it's a better issue than the first, the personalities come out more, especially Kristin and David.  Kristin is the one who names the team at the end, with the comedic comeuppance of Johnny Barl.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thunderbird 2 is go!

Thunderbird 2 is an awesome ship.  that is all.

Johnny Cypher opening

one of the rarer cartoons I saw as a kid. didn't see it again for many years. here's the intro:

lots of familiar voices. Johnny has a cool power, I think. nice looking toon, as well.

you know the name of King Kong

I can't believe I have never written about King Kong yet.  let's fix that.

the first version of King Kong I saw was the cartoon. it was at my friend Charles' house, he had one of those little hand cranked movie viewers which had maybe 30 or 60 seconds of some given film.

he had a cartridge of King Kong in "The Thousand Year Knockout" which is not on either of the DVDs that were released in 2005 to capitalize on the needless remake.  it's an episode where a stone gargoyle comes to life and Kong has to stop it.

pretty cool, and who would make a movie or tv show about gargoyles returning to life, that would never work! this show also boasted one of the best theme songs ever.

also notable is the series' main villain- Dr. Who.  he shows up in a number of the episodes, including one where he makes a giant mechanical ape version of Kong.  boy, I bet that would have made a great feature film!

yes, yes it did!

in more recent years it's become fashionable to for some overly silly fans to try to differentiate this Dr. Who from the other one by spelling his name as "Hu" or "Whu" or something else, but really, what's the point?  the one from King Kong Escapes is based on this one.

Billie Mae Richards provided voices for some of the characters, and she recently passed away on September 10th of this year.  she was a talented actress, known to most of our ears as Rudolph. RIP Billie.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Zigra DVD (R2)

doesn't this make the movie Gamera vs Zigra (1971) look like it would be just a great movie?

thus making the viewing experience even not as good.  Zigra was for many years one of the Grails of Japanese fandom over here in the States, since it was never released to tv by AIP.  a Titra dub could only have helped, and maybe some judicious editing.

the widescreen presentation does make it look a lot better than one might think.

Zigra does look pretty cool, overall.

8 vs 8th

here's a fun credit comparison between the Japanese 8 Man and the US 8th Man:

I think these are pretty fun and cool.

Meet Austin Idol (2009 shoot interview)

"shoot" interviews are interviews done by wrestlers where they talk about what really was going on behind the scenes while they wrestled.  they are pretty common now.  I find the older stars the more interesting ones that I have seen.

I got this interview from Highspots, and it's very interesting.  Austin was apparently a "most wanted" shoot, as he had disappeared from the scene many years ago.

turns out he was hiding in plain sight!

Austin comes across as really humble and likable.  he's funny as he tells his stories, especially his reason for leaving the WWWF in 1974. he has a lot of integrity about his reasons for being in so many territories.

"easiest to hire, easiest to fire" was his motto, especially in Tennessee.  seems like it kept him fresh with many places, which turns out to be a good idea overall.  he looks about the same, and is in great health.  he discusses his diet and such as well, and the book he is writing.

yes, that's a real autograph on the DVD cover.  fortunately the sound on the interview is good, as sometimes it can really be poor.  nicely lit as well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

cover idea for Xenorama #15

cover idea
just goofing around with mspaint and this came out.  I love the poster for Gigantis, The Fire Monster (1959) (and since Toho doesn't seem to think this movie exists any more, it should be safe, LOL) and thought it would be fun to try something like this with that poster.

of course, this wouldn't be exactly what I would do, but since I don't have photoshop (or really the skills to do anything cool) it's just a rough idea.  I'd probably take off the title complete, and center "Xenorama" at the top, so's people would know what they are reading.

of course, that means I probably should have an article in the zine about the movie, right?  I don't know that I have ever written about it before.  that could be kind of fun.

naturally, this may not happen at all, but it's kind of cool to consider.  if anyone else has any ideas please let me know!
original title card

Monday, September 13, 2010

a Derby Crisis!

this is too good a picture not to enjoy here, and possibly explain it a bit:
as some of you know, I have been doing some officiating for the local San Diego Roller Derby since January (which is amazing to me, in and of itself).  I've made a lot of new, good friends there and have been having a great time.  and losing weight, which is a bonus!

one of my new friends is Allison Ross, who goes by the name "Wonder Whoop'em" when she is in her derby gear.  this has led to some small discussion about Wonder Woman, here and there.  in fact, I called her youngest daughter "Wonder Tot" earlier today.  I am sure Allison just thought it was cute, without knowing there actually used to be a "Wonder Tot" in the past.

anyway, this past weekend there was an away bout in Huntington Beach (up in the "OC", if you will).  lo and behold, there was a skater up there going by the nom de guerre of "Wonder Roller".  naturally, this was a bit of fun for my comic book guy mind.  so of course I had to have a picture taken with both women.

now, I have no idea which one is from Earth 1 or Earth 2, since Southern California is kind of it's own little world in and of itself.

still, one more reason I love derby!

all crazee!

heard this version before I ever heard Slade's original. and let's just forget about Quiet Riot's completely.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Barugon poster

not the best poster out there
here's a cool poster for the second Gamera movie.  they sure don't weigh very much, as far as giant monsters go.  I would think Barugon was the 80 ton titan.

I wonder if there are more "international" posters made for the rest of the Gamera movies.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

of mountains and octopi

half sheet
I first saw this movie in the mountains of Colorado, probably in the late summer of 1977.  my family had gone up to a cabin despite me telling them the movie would be on.

had a good time anyway. 

fortunately, there was a small black and white tv that we brought with us or was at the cabin.  I set the alarm (no vcrs yet) for something 1 or 2 AM, and went to bed.  it was the local NBC affiliate (channel 4 at the time) and that was THE ONLY channel that came through in the mountains.

when it went off, I thought I had missed the movie.  I'm not sure why, but being woken up suddenly can be disorientating.  luckily I set the clock just right, and then got to see the entire movie.  it was really cool.    an octopus makes a great monster.

Friday, September 10, 2010

a serious serial book

a much needed book
there have been lots of books about serials (and I'm surprised that this is my first post about them) but never a book about some of the geniuses behind them.

now there is, and it looks awesome.

but here's a much better blog post about it from my pal Dan Ross.  thanks Dan, for all that info!

I've got it in my wishlist at Amazon.

Southern Knights/Crusaders #1

a cool cover
after recently re-reading these stories, I think they are good and do not deserve to be forgotten.

so I'll be going through them, once in a while.

here we have the origin issue, which is one of the few comics to introduce four new heroes in their own book right away (well, up until the b/w independent explosion happened).  it was very unusual at the time, anyway.

our heroes all meet up in a rainstorm in Atlanta, GA, and yes, they do think the dragon is the bad guy, so there is the fight scene there between the heroes.  then they have a meeting a form a team- The Crusaders.

it's a good first issue, overall.  the dialog needs some work, and the art by Jackson "Butch" Guice is nice, but it improves in the next issue.    the late Sam Grainger inks really helped out there (Sam has always been one of my favorite inkers, a nice clean line).

anyway, it's a good start, and only got better.