Saturday, July 31, 2010


I am uploading covers for "Plop!", a comic book DC put out from 1973-1976, and is only remembered now by cultists of DC and humor comics.

It would be nice and I've said it before if DC would do a "Showcase" book reprinting all 24 issues, the "Klop!" story from "House of Mystery" and the "DC Super-Stars" salute to Sergio Aragones (as pictured above).

I've probably written this blog request before, and since the book STILL hasn't appeared, I will probably write it again

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart"

So, I finally purchased the "Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart" collection on CD. It is an OK album, but lives on as the missing link between "Changes" and "That Was Then, This is Now" on the brief "Monkees" reunion of the 1970s.

One reviewer on Amazon claimed that the sound quality wasn't that good on this CD. I don't know what they're talking about. It sounds fine. I think the original LP didn't have that much dynamic range, anyway, and was kind of quickly put together, explaining the need for covers like "Along Came Jones" and "Teenager in Love" from a group that boasted TWO writers who wrote most of the Monkees hits.

I think the biggest problem with "DJB&H" is their name. Too long and cumbersome. I know that they didn't have the rights to the "Monkees" name at the time (1976), but they should have come up with something more dynamic than this like "Monkmen" or something.

There is also a long out-of-print live CD of "DJB&H", which I have as well that originally appeared on LP in Japan.

Though not the greatest album, songs like "You and I" (redone later by the Monkees on "Just Us"), "You Didn't Feel That Way Last Night (Don't You Remember)" (which sound suspiciously like "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"), "Savin' My Love For You" and "Remember the Feeling".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Comic Con International Part 3

Picture #9: "Sonambulo's" Rafael Navarro (center) and friends.

Picture #10: Comic dealer extraordinaire Ron Murray strikes a pose...

Picture #11: The incomparable Neal Adams signs for his fans.

Picture #12: Len Wein and Maggie Thompson.

Picture #13: Harvey editor Sid Jacobson.

That's it for this year. See you next year...

"Mad" Paperbacks

There was a time in the 1970s and 1980s where pocket-sized paperbacks were all the rage. There were cartoon collections of "Peanuts", "Dennis the Menace", "Hi and Lois", "B.C.", "Crock", "Broom Hilda", "The Wizard of Id", "Beetle Bailey", "The Family Circus" and many others.

Among those were multiple collections of new and used material from "Mad". At the time, I didn't pick up every book, because I figured that they'd be available forever. How wrong I was!

By the 1990s, the pocket-sized humor cartoon paperback faded from view. In 1993, the final "Mad" paperback "Bristling Mad" rolled off the presses and the rest of the line soon disappeared from view.

I decided to start buying them at that time, and of course, since the final books had lower print runs, they are consequently harder to find and sometimes pricier.

Eventually, I will get them all, even with the alternate Signet covers. Currently, I have 51 more to go. Of those, 12 of them aren't truly "Mad" paperbacks, but rather Al Jaffee paperbacks that he issued under his own name roughly around the same time as his "Mad" paperbacks.

For the more casual collector, I would definitely recommend the earlier Don Martin paperbacks, the earlier "Spy vs. Spy" paperbacks, most of the Al Jaffee and all of the Sergio Aragones paperbacks. The magazine reprint books are kind of a waste of time nowadays since every issue of "Mad" is available in DVD-Rom format.

The rest are a grab bag, but some like "Clods' Letters to Mad" and "The Mad Cradle to Grave Primer" are just classics in their own right, with the ones by Dick DeBartolo tending to be the better non-artist based books.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Caught a Cold!

Too much fun driving to and from San Diego, that I caught a cold. When I am back to "normal", I will write more blog entries. Gotta catch up...

Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 Comic Con International Part 2

Picture #5: The legendary Ralph Bakshi signing autographs.

Picture #6: The original artwork for "Cracked" #91, March 1971.

Picture #7: Dark Horse's Shawna Gore with writer Tasha Lowe-Newsome.

Picture #8: Archie Comics FINALLY had a booth at Comic Con for the first time in almost 20 years!

More pics tomorrow...

Still Buying My Beatles

When The Beatles FINALLY remastered their CDs and released them last September, I decided that I would only buy them used. For the most part, I have lived up to that claim, but I did buy "Magical Mystery Tour" and "The Beatles" (White Album) new.

I also decided to buy them slowly over time, so my latest acquisition is "Sgt. Pepper". "Sgt. Pepper" is either my fourth or fifth favorite Beatles album depending on my mood at the time.

#1 Beatles album for me is "The Beatles", followed by "Revolver". #3 is "Magical Mystery Tour". #4 is either "Pepper" or "Abbey Road". These are all great albums!

Anyway, at this point I still need to get the remastered "Please Please Me", "A Hard Day's Night", "Beatles for Sale", "Rubber Soul" and "Yellow Submarine", plus the mono versions and the apple-shaped flash drive. Give me time...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2010 Comic Con International Part 1

Since I have a few photos, I figured that I would do this in segments.

The first picture is of Dan Goodsell, the creator of "Mr. Toast" and a Facebook friend, and has uploaded a lot of interesting stuff on his blog.

The second picture is of William Stout, who designed the Rhino Records label among other things and has done some great prehistoric animal pictures. A true living legend.

Pictures three and four are of the "Emily" booth. My friend Anne is a HUGE "Emily" fan and these pics are for her.

More pics tomorrow....

"Something for Everybody" Is!

Remember a few weeks ago when I did a review of DEVO's new song "Fresh"? Well, I've now purchased the entire new DEVO album and it follows suit as being a great album; much better than their last REAL album "Smooth Noodle Maps".

This is more on a par with their GREAT albums, but not the greatest, but not an embarrassment, either. Why this album is greater has something to do with DEVO allowing their fans to decide what should go on it.

If you haven't listened to DEVO in a long time, I suggest trying it. It still has Mark, Gerald and the two Bobs, and the always replaceable drummer.

This is DEVO for the 21st last!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comic Con International where I will be for Friday and Saturday, so I may not get a chance to blog until I get back.

If you happen to be going yourself, and see me there, please ask me for your free "Cracked" magazine book post card...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Love "Stuff"

I finally found out that one of my favorite albums came out on CD, but in Japan of all places. The New York session group Stuff with their debut album "Stuff".

"Stuff" first caught my attention on an old episode of "Saturday Night Live" hosted by Eric Idle. Joe Cocker was the musical guest and Stuff was the backing band, and was also Cocker's touring band at the time. At one point, Stuff played an instrumental that I immediately loved called "Foots".

One of the key members of Stuff was a pianist by the name of Richard Tee. Tee unfortunately passed away from prostate cancer back in 1993, but was one of the greatest pianists I had ever heard. He is one of the key instrumentalists on George Harrison's "33 1/3" album released roughly around the same time as "Stuff" in 1976, another album I absolutely love, largely due to Tee's piano.

Anyway, I found the album on CD...used no less...and am very happy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Inception" Ok...just ok...

I was really refraining from reviewing this film because EVERYONE likes it...let me rephrase that...everyone LOVES it!!! and I didn't.

I always have a problem with this because I sometimes feel that I live on a different planet than everyone else because I don't like films that everyone seems to love. Examples that come to mind are the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Avatar", "The Hangover", "The Matrix", etc.

Now, what's equally strange is that sometimes I am truly in sync with everyone else and do love things that other people do like "Raiders of the Lost Ark", the original "Star Wars", "The Wizard of Oz", "Blazing Saddles", etc., etc.

"Inception" is one of those films that one SHOULD like, but it has the same inherent problems that mar "Shutter Island" and "The Matrix", two films this strongly reminds me of. It also reminds me of "Vanilla Sky", another film that I'm not that crazy about and "What Dreams May Come", a film that was universally panned, yet I happen to like!

The inherent problem is basically one of the age old "it was all a dream" scenario. It's such a cop out and it's usually covered up by elaborate special effects to disguise a trite storyline.

What's really sad is that I like Director Christopher Nolan's other work like "Momento" and "The Dark Knight". I thought those were great. Unfortunately, I didn't like his "Batman Begins" at all.

So, what to do? Me feels that I have seen FAR TOO MANY movies in my lifetime, and that skews my opinions somewhat because basically nothing is new under the sun. Couple that with the fact that I usually have HIGHER EXPECTATIONS than most once a film is claimed to be "the best film EVER made"!

So, go see it and enjoy it, because you probably will. I didn't.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman

Ok, at first I didn't like this show, because I thought it was too hyperkinetic, but after watching a few episodes, this PBS children's show really grew on me. The show debuted in 2006, and I sporadically watched it, but I find the animation good and the writing fantastic! It's really a very funny and educational show. So far there are over 80 episodes to date.

The basic premise is that Ruff Ruffman recruits a group of kids to do some sort of task like bake a cake at a bakery or herd cattle in Colorado for fun, prizes and points, so in essence the kids are challenged in a "game show" atmosphere that's actually fun, and surprisingly educational.

I'm highly critical of recent PBS kids shows. I feel that "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company" in their current incarnations are not educational. Same with "Barney and Friends" and "Teletubbies". It's a shame.

"Fetch!" and the previously mentioned on this blog "Between the Lions" counteract this claim and are also fun to watch.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Undercover Brother" Review

I haven't watched this in awhile, but I was going through my DVDs and said, "Hey, here's one I haven't watched in awhile!" I was wanting to watch a comedy that was guaranteed to make me laugh. I almost chose Mel Brooks' "Silent Movie", but this one go the nod, as I've seen "Silent Movie" much more recently.

Anyway, the basic plot is similar to the "Austin Powers" movies, which is a good thing. There's not as much Mike Myers-type silliness and the movie moves along well. Many of the jokes stem from being familiar with the old "blaxploitation" films from the early 70s, but even those unfamiliar should find something to laugh about.

Though the star is Eddie Griffin, for me the highlight is Dave Chappelle. Chappelle as a comedian fascinates me. He is screechingly funny in everything he does. See his "Dave Chappelle Show" for more of what I mean. But for some reason Chappelle is still not as big as I think he should be. It probably has to do with Chappelle walking out on things like his TV show a few years back. He may be a troubled soul, but he sure is funny.

Everyone does well in this movie, even people like Chris Kattan and Denise Richards, both of whom I don't really care for in other projects, except that Richards is always a cutie.

Griffin really shines when he is pretending to be a white guy, and this is probably one of his better acting roles, too.

And I love Billy Dee Williams as the General!!!

It originally came out in 2002. Check it out!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Television Code?

So I'm watching an old episode of "Petticoat Junction" from 1963 and notice this symbol called the Television Code. I remember seeing the code quite often when I was a kid and wondered what happened.

Wikipedia says: "The Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters was a set of ethical standards adopted by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for television. The code was established on December 6, 1951. Compliance with the code was indicated by the "Seal of Good Practice", displayed during closing credits on most United States television programs from 1952 through the early 1970s.

"The code prohibited the use of profanity, the negative portrayal of family life, irreverence for God and religion, illicit sex, drunkenness and addiction, presentation of cruelty, detailed techniques of crime, the use of horror for its own sake, and the negative portrayal of law enforcement officials, among others. The code regulated how performers should dress and move to be within the "bounds of decency". Further, news reporting was to be "factual, fair and without bias" and commentary and analysis should be "clearly defined as such". Broadcasters were to make time available for religious broadcasting and were discouraged from charging religious bodies for access.

"Under pressure from broadcasters, the code was suspended in 1983."

What it doesn't say is why it was suspended and why television has suspiciously sucked more since 1983. I'm talking broadcast television, not cable, which wouldn't have been under this restriction in the first place.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Work, work, work, work Part 2

Again I'm kinda too busy to Draw poker, Spacely's a stupe, have some coffee...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes

This is a great book! Now I say that on a lot of my reviews, but it is, and why review something you don't really like? Sometimes I do, but definitely NOT this time!!!

This is the BEST book on Looney Tunes ever made, except the one that Jerry Beck did before with Will Friedwald called "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies", but this one is better because of the layout and the color. One wishes they did that earlier book like this one, which is solely credited to Jerry Beck this time.

What makes this great is not the knowledge and research and background, which is very similar to the previous book, but the photos!!! There is an excellent selection of both color and black & white screen captures that encapsulates each of the 100 cartoons, perfectly.

My only quibble is that it should have been "The 1000 Greatest Looney Tunes" and that I should have been consulted. Oh well. Jerry's a good friend of mine and I take no offense (but then maybe "A Lad in his Lamp" might have gotten snuck in there...hee-hee).

I welcome every Jerry Beck book and recommend this along with the rest. If you only buy ONE Jerry Beck book, make it THIS ONE!

For a list of all of Jerry's other books, click

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Harvey Pekar 1939-2010

Harvey Pekar passed away. I always found him an intriguing sort of fellow, but had I met him, we probably wouldn't have gotten along. That being said, I have enjoyed his "American Splendor" comics and also the movie based on Pekar and his comics.

I first heard about Harvey Pekar from the movie "Comic Book Confidential", another highly recommended film. I thought the idea of writing comics actually based on personal real-life events of an "everyman" was brilliant, and so I sought out the comics based on that.

Pekar also appeared a lot (for awhile there) on David Letterman's show. They did have a falling out at some point, but this was at the time when I loved Letterman because he would have strange guests like Pekar and Larry "Bud" Melman and Chris Elliott. Those days are long gone, and now so is Harvey.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lewis Black's New Album

Lewis Black has a new comedy album out called "Stark Raving Black", and while I haven't heard it yet, I'm sure that I will enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed Black's six previous albums. I'm sure I will buy it shortly.

Black to me is the only stand-up comedian even worthy of inheriting the throne left by the great George Carlin, and even HE isn't that good. Sometimes Black gets on a rant that doesn't seem to go anywhere, and whereas Carlin sometimes would talk about silly problems with the English language, Black seems to go on and on and on far too much about the nitty gritty of politics, sometimes to the point of no longer being funny and just annoyed.

Granted, in his later stand-up, Carlin fell victim to the same thing, but Carlin's aggravation about politics was only a small part of his act, not the majority of it.

So, ultimately, I would like to see Black fully inherit the comedy throne and by spreading his topic line a little bit, I think he could do it....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flip Wilson

I miss Flip Wilson. Fortunately, his legacy lives on with a number of DVDs and record albums. As a kid, I loved "The Flip Wilson Show" which aired from 1970-1974 on NBC.

There are currently 16 episodes available on three different DVD sets. Of those, only six are presented in their original hour-long length. I would love to see a complete series release, but am happy for what I have.

There were also two Flip Wilson animated TV specials by DePatie-Freleng, the same people who brought you the Pink Panther. This was Wilson's attempt to emulate the success of Bill Cosby with his "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" series.

Wilson's biggest claim to fame in regards to his comedy was his Geraldine character, which made me laugh hysterically as a child, not realizing how daring such a character was at the time.

After the 1974 cancellation of the show, Wilson appeared less and less frequently on TV and by the 1980s was virtually missing from show biz. His biggest comeback attempt was a "Cosby Show" clone called "Charlie and Company" in the mid-1980s. It was not a success.

Wilson died in 1998 at the age of 64.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Facebook Pages for My Books

I put up Facebook pages for each of my books:

"The Best of The Harveyville Fun Times!" (2006)

"Created and Produced by Total TeleVision productions" (2009)

"If You're Cracked, You're Happy" (2010)

"Mark Arnold Picks On The Beatles" (2011)

Check them out and become a fan of each...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hogan's Heroes

I don't know why, but as a kid I didn't like "Hogan's Heroes". I liked other "stupid" stuff like "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch" and "Get Smart", etc., but for some reason "Hogan's Heroes" always left me cold.

I remember watching it as a kid and not liking it and it got to the point where if it came on, I would listen to the theme song (which I loved) and then switch channels when the actual show came on.

What's also funny is that I liked Bob Crane and was saddened when he died in 1978. By then, he was doing various Disney movies like "Superdad" and "Gus" and overall was just a likable fellow.

When "Family Feud" debuted, I recognized Richard Dawson from the show.

I think what it was in my thinking as a child is that I didn't totally "get" the premise. I mean Schultz and Colonel Klink were not just stupid, they were SO STUPID that I didn't understand why Colonel Hogan and the rest were still prisoners, yet they were week after week after week.

At least on "Gilligan's Island", Gilligan was there to sabotage everything the professor tried.

On "Hogan's Heroes" everyone in Stalag 13 was intelligent and yet they stayed and stayed and stayed. For five long boring years from 1965-1971 they stayed.

Klink and Schultz on the other hand were so dumb, it's amazing they just didn't kill each other with their own ineptness.

This initial thought coupled with "Mad's" infamous satire of "Hokum's Heroes" solidified my opinions. In "Hokum's", the final scene shows the characters with shaved heads and striped "pajamas" cracking wise in a Jewish concentration camp.

So, now my dislike for the show was coupled with distaste.

So, why am I writing about it here on my blog? Well, recently I've undergone some revisionist thinking about this show, and it coincides with why I think the 1960s and 1970s were the best times for TV, especially sitcoms.

Today's TV is riddled with "reality" shows, so-so dramas that run too long (one hour and too many seasons and too many variants and on too many nights a week), and sitcoms that all seemed to be based at the workplace or the home with lamer "jokes" than were ever told on "Hogan's Heroes".

About the last two sitcoms I really liked in the past decade are "The Big Bang Theory" and "My Name is Earl".

In the 1960s especially, different settings were tried for sitcoms: islands, monster's homes, nunneries, NASA, secret underground lairs and concentration camps. And wilder premises were attempted like a nun that can fly, a car that was a man's deceased mother, cave men and space men traveling through time, and characters like witches and monsters and secret agents and superheroes and hillbillies.

By the 1970s, it was the writing that matured and there were so many socially relevant sitcoms that were truly FUNNY.

"Hogan's Heroes" falls into this greatness and for that I can revise my opinions and say that it was an incredibly good show...

Friday, July 09, 2010

1950s, 1964 and 1978 Archie TV Pilots

I am helping compile certain data for an upcoming book on the history of Archie Comics and need help with any information you may have about the 1964 Archie TV pilot.

I know this basic info from IMDB, but if anyone else has any further information, please let me know...

There might be another Archie pilot from the 1950s (although it could be the same 1964 one), so if you know about that, please let me know, too.

Finally, there were two Archie specials from 1978, one called "ABC Saturday Comedy Special: Archie" and the other is "The Archie Situation Comedy Musical Variety Show". These are both on IMDB as well.

As I said, any further information would be helpful...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Work, work, work, work

Ever get so busy, you don't have time to blog? I'd blog all day, but my job gets in the way...

Of course, when I'm out of work, I don't always have time to blog because I'm too busy catching up on all the other stuff that I didn't get a chance to do when I was working.

You can't win...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It's Ringo's Birthday! It's Ringo's Birthday!

Alright, everyone reading this, please sing "Happy 70th Birthday" to Ringo!!!

Now go out there and buy his latest album "Y Not"!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Movies Not On DVD

I don't understand movie studios. They sit on a vault worth millions in old movie assets, yet they do not rush to issue things onto DVD.

I know timing is everything as well as oversaturation, but if I owned one of the big 6 studios (Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Columbia), believe me, I would be scouring that backlog to see if there is anything worth issuing, even if it was a bad film.

Warner Bros. is doing it right and I've said it many times before by doing the Warner Archive series. Here, they can release film on a "print-on-demand" basis and many of them feature big stars of days gone by. I wish other studios would follow this lead.

Disney was issuing Disney Exclusives until very recently with their Disney Movie Club, but they still have films out there that have never seen the light of day on home video.

And this shouldn't be limited to movies, shorts, TV shows and cartoons should all be issued. If something doesn't warrant being issued on its own, put it in a box set or something. Just get this stuff out...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

"Out To Lunch" Muppet Special

I don't know if I have posted this before, and if I have, well I'm posting it again.

There was a primetime TV special that aired back in 1974 called "Out To Lunch", that featured the Muppets and members of the cast of "Sesame Street" and "Electric Company".

I have asked Sesame Workshop (formerly CTW) about this show, but they have no plans on releasing it to DVD or reairing it anytime soon.

Does anyone have access to this special? Please let me know. I would love to see it again.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New "Casper and the Spectrals" Out

It only took a year, but the second issue of "Casper and the Spectrals" is finally out. For the traditionalists out there, this is not your standard Casper comic book series, but I suggest giving it a chance. It's different, but still entertaining.

On sale at better comic book stores, everywhere...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Lee's Comics 28th Anniversary Sale Tomorrow!

I will be working at the Mountain View location at Lee's Comics 28th Anniversary Sale tomorrow so stop by and say hi.

Since I have nothing to bring to the table except my charming self, I will copy what Lee says on his website at Lee's Comics.

50% off Bin Back Issues!
50% off all Comics Sets!
20% off New Comics!*
20% off Toys and T-Shirts!
20% off Wall Comics!
20% off on Supplies!
10% off Graphic Novels!*
28¢ Comics!
Free Graphic Novel for the first 28 people per store!
Enter to win a free "Complete Calvin and Hobbes." 1 given away at each store!
Free Drinks!
Fun! Fun! Fun!
*Sorry, no discount on that week's new items or subscriptions.

Saturday July 3rd, 2010
10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Both Legendary Lee's Locations!

Mountain View:
1020 N. Rengstorff Avenue, Suite F
(by Costco)
Mountain View, CA 94043

San Mateo:
2222 S. El Camino Real
(2 blocks south of Highway 92)
San Mateo, CA 94403

Thursday, July 01, 2010

"THFT!" #74 Almost Ready

I just sent the file for "The Harveyville Fun Times!" #74 to the printers. It promises to be the biggest issue I've done at 60 pages. It will also have a flip-cover for the very first time.

Inside the issue will be a lengthy article by my friend Jerry Boyd about Harvey's short-lived venture into teen comics "Bunny". This salute has been demanded for years and Boyd has delivered the goods. Above is the cover to "Bunny" #1 from 1966. "Bunny" lasted 20 issues from 1966-1971 with one more issue in 1976.

The reason for the hugeness of the issue is to remind you that I am retiring from editing and publishing "THFT!" with #75. Ben Samuels will continue with #76, so I am packing my last couple of issues to the top with information before I let it go...