Friday, April 24, 2009

Re-Post + Technical Difficulties + Rant/Gripe = Another Day In Paradise!

OK - we may be having technical difficulties withe the .cbz files.... is anyone else having problems with viewing them? Please do advise me, so I can adjust the production process accordingly. Personally, I'm tempted to just go back to doing everything as pdf's - they work well for me, and maybe I should just stick with what I know, and with what seems to work. There are quite a few applications that allow you to gut a pdf file into the component jpg's, if that's what you want. This thing is enough of a time consuming process as is, without me getting hip deep in any duplication of labor.

In other news, I have a small rant/gripe, and that is with the actual quality of some of the scans I'm seeing out there. Some of them are, to put none too fine of a point to it, complete and utter crap. What is the point of scanning a book when the end product looks like shit? It's kind of like buying a $20.00 steak and burning it to a crisp - what's the point of getting the book on the damn scanner if the file you produce is small and the scans are fuzzy, low resolution crap? Seriously dude, just don't bother. When I download a piece of junk like this, I must admit I get more than a little frustrated, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
So, for the dummies out there, let's run though the drill, shall we?
The scan needs to be AT LEAST 1200 pixels wide. Larger is better for magazines (I like 1350). The final product gives you one panel of the six-panel grid filling the screen. Seems like common sense to me.

If you're going to scan at 72 dpi, you should do two things -
a) De-screen. There should be an option in the preferences or pull down menu.
b) Scan at 200% or higher. Larger is always better. If the book is in black and white, scan it in GRAYSCALE for heaven's sake. Yes the yellow pages effect can be good, but it TRIPLES the file size! Seems like a lot of bandwidth for a small return.

Personally, I scan at 300 dpi/100% and then shrink 'em down in Photoshop using the "Save for Web" function (also in the pull down menu). When you've finished, a good simple rule of thumb should be this - one page should be around 1 MB. I've seen scans where the file size is under 200K per page! The artifacting is painful to see. The process is call "Digital Comic Preservation", so I cannot understand for the life of me how some of these jokers don't get the concept of doing it right the first time. Why make a cruddy copy of something fellas? Sooner or later, someone will only have to do it again in the future, you dopes!

End of rant/gripe!

So, in keeping with the previously mentioned concept of sticking with what I know, here's a tasty re-post of some choice Charlton books, as pdf's. OK?

Ghostly Tales 99

Ghostly Tales 100

Ghostly Tales 101

Ghostly Tales 114


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Buried Treasure!

More amazing stuff from your old pal, Hyper Dave!
Unpublished Kirby! More Alex Toth! Sword and sandal fun from Frank Frazetta!
And if that's not enough, some great "Good Girl" art by the master - Bill Ward! Va-va-va-VOOM!

Buried Treasure 2

In other news, i've been ultra-busy with all things musical....
If your curious go here or here for more.....

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yo Ho Ho!

Pirate time! Pretty self explanatory. Dig in mateys! More 'o' the same tomorrow, me hearties!!

Buccaneers 21

Buried Treasure 1

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mo' Horror!

More thrills and chills for you gals and ghouls from that bone-chilling blogger, Mr "Hair-raising Horror" himself, Mr. Hyper Dave. More Charlton, more from Fass, more audio.... what's not to love?

Weird Vampire Tales 1 from 1979 is the usual nasty, vile, putrid, icky low-rent slush we all know and don't ask! Just download! At least in this digital age the newsprint doesn't make your fingertips go all smudgy and black.... just your mind!

Weird Vampire Tales 1

Two Steve Ditko stunners from "The Big C", and the scripting for both the Gorgo and Konga stories (by Joe Gill I assume) are handled with a light whimsical touch. Mr. Ditko picks up on this, and the Konga story is a real treat, including a running gag featuring a picture of the (obligatory) scientist's girlfriend acting as a Greek chorus (look, just read the darn thing, it will all make sense). The aforementioned scientist gives our ape protagonist a shot of shrinky-dink juice, so he can get a dose of his own medicine... sort of a simian version of "the Incredible Shrinking Man". The Gorgo story is also pretty neat as it features an intelligent bottle-nose dolphin, making this a weird hybrid.... kind of like "Flipper" meets "Godzilla"...... and people wonder why I have such a soft spot for these old Charlton books.

Return Of Gorgo 3

Konga's Revenge

Plus more audio full of spooky radio ads, three for "Bloodfiend", plus "Blood-O-Rama Shock Festival", and my favorite - "Chiller Carnival of Blood". But wait! There's more! How about three radio spots for Dario Argento's classic "Suspiria"!

Coming next week - I think i'll round up some "Buccaneers" and we'll dig up some kind of "Buried Treasure" since we're still living in a world full 'o' pirates....

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The HORROR of it ALL - Now in Spook-a-phonic sound!

Well, I hate to say it, but you are a predictable lot. Horror comics, horror comics, horror comics.... that's ALL I hear. OK then, if it's horror comics you want, then horror comics you shall have.

First out of the gate, is the OTHER "Tales from the Crypt" from Myron Fass' Eerie Publications. For some strange reason, old Bill "E.C." Gaines was none too pleased with this one, so this is the one and only issue bearing this title. Nice try Myron. Pre-Code reprints of stories "Skeleton In The Closet","Experiment In Terror","Blood and Old Bones", "Forever Dead","Thief of Souls" & "The Beautiful and The Dumb" (both omitted from the Contents page!?!) and "Horror Harbor". All this in the new cbz format no less!

Tales from Myron's Crypt

Now, for those of you who have been asking and asking and asking for me to re-post some of my greatest Charlton hits... OK! Enough is too much.
Here's two for now, more later (re-posts are such a drag, man).

Creepy Things 6 has "Vampire of Hanover" with art AND story by Pat Boyette. Cover & cute 1-pager "Turned-Off"by Mike Zeck and the hirsute cover story "The Hairy One" by Tom Sutton.

Creepy Things #6

Ghostly Tales 99 starts out with cover and story "Here Comes The Bride" by "Sturdy" Steve Ditko, plus two tales by Wayne Howard - "The Statue" a nifty 1-pager, and also the very droll "Meeting of The Damned".

Ghostly Tales #99

Now what's this Spook-a-phonic sound thing all about? It's simple - here's a whole bunch of classic "Spookshow" radio ads, plus one for "Monsters A-Go-Go", and six great ads for one of my favorite SF films of the 70's, "Zardoz". Put 'em in the music player of your choice and listen to the scary sounds while you read the spooky comics! Neat-o!
Get 'em here!

OK... I gotta go - I'm starting to creep myself out here!

PS. Download link for Capt. 3D works fine for me...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Super-Hero As Savior

savior |ˈsāvyər| [noun]

A person who saves someone or something (esp. a country or cause) from danger, and who is regarded with the veneration of a religious figure.

Since the conceptualization of "The Superman" by Frederic Nietzsche, continuing with Siegel and Schuster's creation of "Superman" through to Alan Moore's "Miracleman" (AKA "Marvelman") and "Watchmen", we have considered the relationship between the average man and the exceptional man.
These figures occur throughout history, they appear in religious writings, fables and legends and more.

Now, if an actually-for-real super-hero appeared on our Earth, wouldn't it go down like "Dr. Manhattan" in "Watchmen"? If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...... therefore, if it has God-like powers......

In fact, it is an on-going under-current within ALL "long-underwear" comic books (even if the writers, artists and editors choose to look the other way), but rarely has it been done with such conscious intent, sheer illustrative power, lyrical style and all-round élan as by Gil Kane and Roy Thomas in "Warlock". Of course it couldn't last.

Like all things of a difficult and complex nature, most people scratch their heads, don't quite get it, sales tank and it vanishes or gets mainstreamed. Still, the first three issues are among the finest books Marvel ever published, and although the 4th issue is mostly notable for Gil's obvious absence, it still continues the thinly disguised biblical allegory begun in Marvel Premiere #1. I won't run further issues as
a) I don't have 'em.... and
b) I don't think they're all that good.

But the handful of initial issue are pretty impressive.
To put it bluntly, The High Evolutionary plays the God-like father figure, creator of a world, and Adam Warlock stands in for Jesus, and plays the son-like figure sent to redeem the previously mentioned planet(in this case Counter-Earth).

Gil Kane's artwork has never been more lyrical, presenting page after page of bold layouts, and Roy Thomas shows us why he is second only to Stan Lee in the pantheon of Marvel writers. This is powerful stuff, and blew me away as a kid. "How can they get away with this "Jesus Christ, Super-Hero" stuff?!?" I asked myself as a kid....

I still wonder today, how it slipped under the radar of certain conservative special-interest groups of the day. Jim Starlin got what was going on here, and with Al Milgrom, revisited the issues and concerns of the early parts of this series in the mid-1970's (before the series was once again cancelled).

More recently, "The House of Ideas" hasn't known exactly what do do with Adam, and his recent appearances have him plodding around in outer space, a poor imitation of his former self.....

Oh well....

Marvel Premiere 1

Marvel Premiere 2

Warlock 1

Warlock 2

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Phurther Phanzine Phun!

Yet more stellar issues of this fabulous 'zine.

Issue 21 starts out with checklist of zombie films in the cinema to supplement the article from the previous issue. Given the predominance of the zombie in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st Century in the pantheon of monsters, supplanting the old classics (Frankenstein's monster, the werewolf, the vampire, the ghost and the mummy) that have dominated the genre since its' inception, this piece is still topical today.
Following this comes a nice piece comparing and contrasting the film legacy and career trajectories of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, an insightful examination of the pivotal 50's SF film "Invaders from Mars" and a lengthy addendum on a previously published article on "Vampires in the Cinema". All these pieces are well researched and written, comprehensively illustrated with numerous photos.
Photon 21

As excellent an issue as 21 is, number 23 features some of the most informative and erudite treatments on the topics discussed. In pride of place, probably one of THE best retrospectives on the often misunderstood body of work of Tod Browning ("London After Midnight", "Dracula", "Freaks" et al.), as well as an insightful and informative piece on the development and making of "Freaks", a film that still continues to shock and amaze, revolt and fascinate, and have an ongoing impact on popular culture today... ("Gooble gabble, gooble gabble - we accept you, one of us!"). It should also be noted that despite the title, this is the first cinematic venture to treat the disabled as having the same feelings, emotions, wants, needs and desires as so called "normal" people. Rounding out the issue is a detailed examination of one of the best (and again over-looked) films of the Universal horror cycle of the 1930's - James Whale's "The Invisible Man". Given the recent resurgence of interest in Whale's career (and personal life), this article offers insight on the film that bridges his works between "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein". Again profusely illustrated by many rare photos. Solid stuff.
Photon 23

Issue 24 is the ultra-nifty 10th Anniversary issue and features a retrospective on John Brahm's rarely seen werewolf film of the 1940's "The Undying Monster", a HUGE piece on "2001", a Lon Chaney Jr. obituary by Forry Ackerman, an insightful consideration on "The Auteur in Science Fiction Films" and an absolutely AMAZING article on Italian meastro Dario Argento, again illustrated by many rare behind the scenes photos - as this piece comes pre-"Suspiria", it is oddly prescient. Plus an accompanying piece by his long-time close collaborator Luigi Cozzi is to die for!
Photon 24

Wrapping it up is Number 26, which has a detailed examination on Mario Bava's body of work, interviews with Jack Arnold, Roger Corman and Herman Cohen, another great piece on "Phantom of the Paradise" including a special panel discussion by the stars of the film, and a comprehensive evaluation of Jaques Tourneur's "Curse of the Demon". Trust me, there's even more in these 4 issues - sharp and perceptive reviews (including some by John Carpenter!), some gag articles (One-Shot One-Sheets being my fave) and letters from fans and pros alike.
Photon 26

But "What's with the fanzines, Mr. Hyper?" I hear you say. Well, I have chosen to do a bunch of these for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I'm scratching around to find items that are not readily available in the torrent-verse.
Give it a week or two though, I'm pretty sure these will get grabbed, ripped and seeded by some joker..... it's no skin off my ass. I'm getting philosophical over this. Really, as long as it gets out there, I'm not to bothered. I could watermark them or something, but that seems to be like writing on the pages with a crayon, something I would not do, literally or metaphorically.
Also, I miss 'em. Reading is something I love (Ya think?), and reading one of these from cover to cover would take many, many hours. Time well spent if you ask me. Off the top of my head, all I can think of to compare in recent years is "Psychotronic", "Scarlet Street" or "Filmfax" (and the sorely missed "Outre"), which still carry (or carried) the torch, but these old 'zines had virtually no ads, and were done for love of the genre. Nothing is finer than a labor of love, whether it's an old fanzine, a garage band, a mini-comic, an indy film, or indeed this enterprise here. 'Nuff Said!

Sorry, no rant today. I'm guessing that would be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective, but hey - at least the posts are getting a little bit more regular (and bigger too)! OK, I guess we'll return soon-ish with more 4 color fun, as it seems you folks seem to like the funny books more than my off-trail exercises into OTR, fanzines and other stuff.
Seems that I am fated to be known as "a comic-book guy" in the compu-tronic blog-o-sphere, for better or worse, despite my feeble efforts to broaden my scope into other arenas. Kind of a shame really, as I feel I'm an auto-didactic polymath (google that one up kids), and as the old song goes, "Don't Fence Me In". Can't blame a fellow for trying to re-shuffle the deck now and again, now can you? Still, I guess you have to play the cards as they're dealt to you - it's better than nuthin' I s'pose. Oh well.....

In closing, I hope you are all happy and healthy this Easter weekend, and all the ever-expanding craziness in the world hasn't got you down too much....
Just remember these 3 important rules -
1)Be yourself.
2)Don't freak out!
3)Surf that wave.

¡Aye Caramba! Yet another late night with a hot scanner! Sheeesh!

PS. To "The Quiet Man" regarding that Bernard Bailey info and quote... i've waded through the datajunkie archive and still can't find the damn article - possibly printed in an issue of Alter Ego from the last two years is the best I can do, but I am still looking though!

PPS. For any and all requesting re-posts (mainly of Charlton stuff), I'll do what I can, but why not try seeing what google can do for you (while I'm off doing whatever it is I'm doing). There's A LOT out there on the inter-web these days if you just take the time to have a serious look! Honest!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Phanzine Phun!

Well yes, once again I find myself embroiled in the day to day world, and have not had the time to put aside for the old blog-a-rooney, buy hey, here I am now, so don't be too hard on the old Mr. Hyper. But first.... the rant!

So, before we get to today's tasty morsel, I want to have a quick word about pirates (turns to camera 3 for a quiet, off-the-cuff, intimate bit with audience, as per Jon Stewart). Between those madcap fun-loving scalawags zipping around off the coast off Somalia, the absolute deluge of torrents (which make up the majority of Internet traffic today), and of course "Tales of the Black Freighter", we seem to be entering a 21st century renaissance of piracy, in one form or another. I don't know what these means, except that as a species of knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing killer apes (with iPhones), we also seem to be a pack of thieving ne'er-do-well animals to boot. It seems that if it's not nailed down or on fire, it's up for grabs. So here we are in the bright shiny future, and we still can't seem keep our hand away from other peoples pockets, groping for their loose change. "I'm all right Jack, f*ck you, it's every crumb for himself" seems to be the M.O. (that's modus operandi [mode of operation in Latin] for those of you who don't read crime fiction) of every man and his dog. Now I know what you're thinking..... that I can be a wee bit of a dodgy bastard on the odd occasion. I know I've crossed the line with some of the things I've posted, and I may be wrong, but there is to my mind a fine, but discernible, line between bending the rules here and there and breaking them into little itsy bitsy teeny weeny pieces.... and then jumping up and down on the pieces until there's nothing left but air. But who am I to judge, eh? I'm just a guy. However, it does tickle my funny bone that as we move into the 21st century, we seem to be moving, in some weird way, backwards in time. Or maybe piracy never really went away in the first place, just got given some newer, less scary names for the sake of the industrial era... colonialism, economic exploitation, and so on.....

OK, that's more than enough of that one, let's move on to the fanzine fun shall we? Now I love fanzines, and that's the simple truth of the matter. Back in the day, I would sit for hours reading these things adoringly (and even did a few myself), and my introduction to these came from my old high school chum, Mr. Desmond Mangan (in my opinion, the MST3000 guys owe him a debt of gratitude and a substantial cash settlement if you ask me, but that's neither here nor there). Anyway, Des turned me on to horror movie fanzines (and Hammer films and a whole lot of other coolness as well), and in my teenage years the big faves were Gore Creatures, Cinefantastique (before it turned to crap), Little Shop of Horrors and Photon. Here we have Photon #20 from 1970, which features some excellent articles on zombies in the cinema, a "White Zombie" film book (a la Famous Monsters), a study of Wax Museum movies, a thoughtful piece on why science fiction movies will never be as good or as meaningful as science fiction books, a brief Lon Chaney Jr interview as well as some nice interior illustrations by some Richard Corben guy.... I wonder whatever happened to him anyway... the kid looks like he has some talent!

Photon 20

Like so many other things, the Internet has pretty much made the fanzine an obsolete item, having been replaced by "push-button publishing" AKA the blog (such as this one for example). I can't help but feel that DEVO were right (and Darwin was not-so-right), as people start to contemplate using Twitter to do movie reviews. A movie review in 140 characters? Where I come from (the land of OZ, err... Australia) a twit is another word for moron, numb skull, chowder-head, bozo, dingbat.... in short a total f*ck-knuckle. Verbose curmudgeon that I am, I can barely complete a sentence using 140 characters. But seriously, where's the eloquence? Where's the poetry? English can be one of the most beautiful, dynamic and moving languages in the world, when used with care and passion. What can you do with the SMS equivalent of a postcard? Sweet F. A. So everything devolves into some half-assed "Having a wonderful time, wish you were here" re-dux? Give me a f*cking break! As far as I can tell, nobody with anything meaningful to say can do jack shit with 140 characters. Fellini couldn't even make a movie with less than 140 characters, so there! Yep, that's us over there by the cement mixer, a pack of thieving bastards that can't even finish a f*cking sentence - and with computers yet! Boy oh boy, we are so f*cking f*cked!

Cue sound FX: Voice of HAL 9000 - "Now Dave, why don't you take a stress pill and we'll talk about this". "No thanks you computerized weasel" I reply "I'll be just fine once I lobotomize you, you binary-brained bastard! Now, once I get my screwdriver, you're screwed!"

Whoops, I guess that qualifies as a special-extra-bonus rant, just for fun! Hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it!

Anyway, this one's for you Des, where-ever you are old pal of my youth, hope you're doing well and still loving these creaky old bits of pop-culture madness as much as I do!

Be seeing you!
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