Saturday, May 20, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #82

Primary PAT BARRINGTON (not shown) is primary only for a bit part in a MAN FROM UNCLE episode.


Primary DON "RED" BARRY acted in episodes of WILD WILD WEST (2 characters), SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, THE IMMORTAL, and BATMAN (2 characters).




Primary GENE BARRY, best known in meta-film circles for his perf in WAR OF THE WORLDS, squeaks into primary status with THE PURPLE MASK.




Primary PATRICIA BARRY, in addition to a GREEN HORNET TV episode, played a flamboyant villainess in a GIRL FROM UNCLE episode.



Primary GEORGE BARROWS, famous for "going ape," acted in episodes of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, BATMAN, THE WILD WILD WEST, THE MAN FROM UNCLE, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, THE LONE RANGER (2 characters), and CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, as well as small roles in SON OF SINBAD and TARZAN AND THE SHE-DEVIL.





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #81

Peripheral MONA BARRIE acted in THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR RX with--



Primary ANNE GWYNNE, who has a handful of relevant roles but is first up for DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME.

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Peripheral WENDY BARRIE (right) acted in the 1939 HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with--



Primary RICHARD GREENE, who played "Nayland Smith" in two Fu Manchu films, BLOOD OF FU MANCHU and CASTLE OF FU MANCHU.



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Primary EDGAR BARRIER (third from left) acted in THE GIANT CLAW, TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD WOMAN, and a couple of TV shows like ZORRO.




MONSTER MASHUPS #15

Though I've been focusing a lot of traditional "movie monster" types, "monster mashups" should also include narratives in which either a hero or villain gathers together a bunch of distinct creatures, as one finds in this Legion story, which has a fuller writeup here.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

THE 100 GREATEST CROSSOVERS OF ALL TIME #60

In this essay I defined the "static crossover" thusly:

The STATIC CROSSOVER is characteristic of both Homer's Iliad and Apollonius' Argonautica.  In such works, the author assumes an overall cosmos in which all of the myth-characters he invokes are capable of encountering one another at any time.

In the static crossover, then, there's not as much emotional impact about seeing characters of diverse origins appear in one another's company, because it's become a regular occurrence.  Many of the "Silver Age" Superman stories constantly associate the characters in that mythology with one another, sometimes for no more than a few panels. And another such mythology appeared in Disney comic books of the same period.

Disney cartoon shorts had already displayed some minor crossover aspects in their classic period, bringing together separately conceived characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck into the same narrative terrain. The "Duck Universe," particularly due to Carl Barks' talents, built up Donald's retinue with characters like wealthy Uncle Scrooge, incredibly lucky Gladstone Gander, and inventor Gyro Gearloose. And in some of the giant-size efforts, like MICKEY AND DONALD AT VACATIONLAND (Dell Giant #47, 1961), the unbilled writers and artists sometimes went whole-hog on the crossover aspects.



This one puts together not only Mickey, Donald, Goofy and several members of the "Duck group" and the "Mouse group," but also several villains from disparate sources. While the good Disney-spawn are on their way to the fabulous "Vacationland"-- a stand-in for Disneyland itself if there ever was one-- they manage to honk off the Wicked Witch, who somehow survived her apparent death at the end of SNOW WHITE. The Witch, who had already been laying plans for a villains' convention, promptly sends various Disney villains to harass the vacationers. Three villains are still well-known since they came from feature films or shorts-- Captain Hook from PETER PAN, the Big Bad Wolf from THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, and Black Pete from assorted Disney cartoons and comic strips. By dumb luck, every time one of these villains encounters the vacationers, the finks become seduced into having vacation-fun instead of making trouble. Only the Witch's last group of pawns-- the Beagle Boys, who alone debuted in comic books-- aren't technically won over by fun-fun-fun. Rather, they bang their heads and forget that they're hardened crooks, and begin careers of honest labor at Vacationland.

Whoever wrote the story had a fine sense of character continuity. When inventor Gyro sees the Witch do magic, he boasts that "magic is no match for science." Later, Mickey manages to undo the sorceress' source of power by stealing her hat, drawing on his past experience as a "sorcerer's apprentice."

MONSTER MASHUPS #14

I've devoted this review to the 1985 comic BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT, which crosses over "supernatural monster" Dracula and "real monster" Jack the Ripper.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #80

Primary MAJEL BARRETT acted in numerous STAR TREK parts, chronologically starting with "Number One," eventually seen in the recycled episode THE MENAGERIE.


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Peripheral NANCY BARRETT, known for numerous DARK SHADOWS roles (one of which she reprised in HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS), acted in HOUSE with--



Primary ROGER DAVIS (right), who appeared in an episode of WONDER WOMAN.

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Primary BARBARA BARRIE acted in REAL MEN and voiced "Alcmene" in 1997's HERCULES.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #79

Peripheral SANDY BARON acted in VAMP with--



Primary GRACE JONES (bottom), whose first relevant credit is her role in A VIEW TO A KILL.



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Primary ELIZABETH BARONDES acted in the TV shows BRISCO COUNTY and LOIS AND CLARK.

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(Possible) Primary SACHA BARON COHEN is slated to play the character of MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN, but will only register as "Peripheral" if that doesn't come to pass.

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Primary DOUGLAS BARR (not shown) has but one relevant credit in an episode of SUPERBOY.

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Primary ROBERT BARRAT (not shown) acted in one relevant film, the Tarzan imitation KING OF THE JUNGLE.


RAR #24: LAKOTA RAINFLOWER



Lakota Rainflower was a supporting character in most of the issues of Gold Key's 1970s series THE OCCULT FILES OF DOCTOR SPEKTOR. In keeping with her first name, this secretary to the supernatural sleuth--  beautiful enough to have made more money modeling clothes than filing papers-- was dominantly Sioux, but had a smattering of Apache heritage. Once or twice writer Don Glut made reference to her "fiery Apache blood," but this was surely intended as a compliment.

The page above comes from Lakota's only solo story, a backup tale taking place before she met Spektor. In the early issues of the comic, she functioned as a skeptic who couldn't credit her boss's wild stories, but that routine faded after she's had a few encounters with mummies, vampires, and so on. Lakota had no real depth but writer Glut and artist Jesse Santos gave her courage and style.

MONSTER MASHUPS #13

The 1970s Gold Key series THE OCCULT FILES OF DOCTOR SPEKTOR proves pretty rich in mashup scenarios, though not all of them qualify according to the categories I laid out here.

The main character is an expert on the supernatural who runs around investigating spooky stuff, even though he's not really a man of action and has no supernatural powers himself. After meeting versions of Mr. Hyde, the Frankenstein Monster, and the Mummy, and an "original" vampire antagonist named Baron Tibor, Spektor has an encounter with a group of vampires. Technically this can't be a mashup since all the vampires share similar origins, but it's worth noting simply because it teams up the best-known literary vampire, Count Dracula, with three others from prose lit: Sir Francis Varney (VARNEY THE VAMPIRE, Mircalla Karnstein (CARMILLA), and Lord Ruthven (THE VAMPIRE). Baron Tibor gets involved, but on Spektor's side.




The first true "monster mashup" in the series is issue 9, but it's an illusory one in which a witch causes Spektor to dream that several of his foes are attacking him (the "vampire" listed on the cover is the series' original creation Baron Tibor).


In issue #11 Spektor is afflicted with a werewolf curse, and in #12 he has a fight with the Frankenstein Monster that's clearly an homage to FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN. I can't consider this a strict "mashup" though, since Spektor is in the position of the main character and he's only temporarily a werewolf.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS #12

Nice cover to this teamup of the Jack Russell Werewolf and Morbius the Living Vampire. Unfortunately, the interior is just another Marvel "meet and beat" routine.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS #11

For curiosity value only: LUNATIC FRINGE was a (deservedly) short-lived 1989 comic book, lasting only two issues, concerning a dull group of "superheroes for hire." Doppelgangers for Godzilla and Rodan appear briefly in the story, and though only Godzilla's foot dominates the front cover, the Rodan-copy shows up on the back cover as well.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #78

Primary RONNIE BARKER has one relevant credit in the British AVENGERS series.

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Primary STEVE BARKETT (not shown) acted in WIZARDS OF THE DEMON SWORD and ATTACK OF THE 60 FOOT CENTERFOLD.


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Primary ELLEN BARKIN acted in THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI.


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Primary BINNIE BARNES (left) has one credit in the Zorro-like costumer PIRATES OF CAPRI.


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Primary JOANNA BARNES (right) played "Jane" in the 1959 TARZAN THE APE MAN.



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Primary PRISCILLA BARNES acted in LICENSE TO KILL and about four relevant TV shows, including WONDER WOMAN.




Friday, April 28, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #77

Primary LYNN BARI (not shown) has one credit in THE GIRL FROM UNCLE teleseries.





Peripheral CLIVE BARKER (right) acted in SLEEPWALKERS with--








Primary ALICE KRIGE of THOR; THE DARK WORLD.





Primary LEX BARKER acted in the 1960s DOCTOR MABUSE series, the TARZAN series (beginning with TARZAN'S MAGIC FOUNTAIN) and even appeared in DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME.










MONSTER MASHUPS #10



This 2000 episode of SABRINA also featured a mummy and cyclops in additon to the above "Gruesome Twosome."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #76

Primary TREVOR BARDETTE had roles in TV shows like SUPERMAN and LONE RANGER and serials like 1941's JUNGLE GIRL.

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Peripheral BRIGITTE BARDOT acted in SPIRITS OF THE DEAD with--


Primary TERENCE STAMP from SUPERMAN I and SUPERMAN II.

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Peripheral MIJANOU BARDOT (not shown) acted in SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE with--



Primary VAMPIRA from THE MAGIC SWORD.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #75

Primary JOAN BARCLAY  acted in BLAKE OF SCOTLAND YARD and SHADOW OF CHINATOWN.

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Primary ROY BARCROFT racked up a few dozen relevant credits, of which the best known are serials like RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, FEDERAL AGENTS VS. UNDERWORLD INC., MANHUNT ON MYSTERY ISLAND, and DEADWOOD DICK.


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Primary JAVIER BARDEM qualifies only for his forthcoming role in the next PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN flick.



LITTLE FRENCHMAN..., HOW TO WRITE/BLACKWOOD, DEVIL/BELFRY, MAN WHO WAS USED UP (1837-1838)

As arranged in the Running Press book, the next four Poe tales are all pretty humdrum humor-stories from the author.

"Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling" is little more than an excuse for Poe to indulge in dialect-humor, in which a boastful Irishman competes with a "little Frenchman" for a maiden's favor. Even if one didn't know the story's title, Poe telegraphs the story's "surprise" from a mile away.

"How to Write a Blackwood Article" is narrated by "Signora Psyche Zenobia," who gives a snarky account as to how a writer can sell short stories to the popular fiction magazine Blackwood's. In the original publication Poe this supposed instructional essay with one of the Signora's stories, "The Scythe of Time," in which Zenobia herself is beheaded by a giant clock-hand. Unlike the slightly later "Pit and the Pendulum" that contributed to Poe's notoreity, "Scythe" is presented as a tale that did not really take place, so that the paired narratives conform to the naturalistic phenomenality.

"The Devil in the Belfry" is a marvelous story in which a devilish being enters a Dutch community, one obsesses with orderliness, and upsets the citizens by causing a clock to strike thirteen o'clock. The satire probably worked better in 1838.

"The Man Who Was Used Up" is the only story with any substance. An unnamed narrator meets a famed war hero, A.B.C. Smith, at some party. The narrator is immediately fascinated with the man's physical comeliness-- indeed, in modern times readers would assume that the narrator has formed some sort of "man-crush," if not outright homosexual lust. But as the narrator hears strange rumors about Smith, he becomes consumed with curiosity. He finally seeks out Smith at the man's home, only to learn that the great war-hero has lost most of his natural body-parts to duels and battles with Indians. Smith's manservant has to put the "used up" hero together out of false legs, false arms, a false palate, etc. This too I rate as "naturalistic" even though it is certainly an exaggeration of what the prosthetics of the time could produce.

Monday, April 17, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #74

Primary CHRISTINA BARANSKI voiced two characters in the 2002 cartoon SPEED RACER X, both "Trixie" and "Spritle."

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Primary OLIVIA BARASH plays the very important role of "Girl at Lake" in the INCREDIBLE HULK pilot film.

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Primary ADRIENNE BARBEAU scores multiple roles in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORKGHOST ROCK, SWAMP THING, and many TV shows, including several voicings of "Catwoman"
or various Batman episodes.


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Primary GLYNIS BARBER (not shown) acted in an episode of HIGHLANDER THE RAVEN.

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Primary URBANO BARBERINI put the "bore" in GOR and its sequel.

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Primary LISA BARBUSCIA has one role in HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME.