Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #109

Primary HALLE BERRY acted in certain X-MEN films, CATWOMAN, and DIE ANOTHER DAY.

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Primary KEN BERRY has one credit, voicing a character named "Seymour Grey" in an episode of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES.

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Primary MICHAEL BERRYMAN acted in SPY HARD, DOUBLE DRAGON, WIZARDS OF THE DEMON SWORD, STAR TREK 4 and 5, THE BARBARIANS, and assorted TV shows.

Monday, October 16, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS #22

In contrast to the "Swamp Thing-Demon" mashup mentioned earlier, Marvel crossed over two of its more successful monster-protagonists in 1974, each one guest-starring in the other's magazine.

TOMB OF DRACULA began by hosting the "Werewolf By Night"--




And then WEREWOLF BY NIGHT returned the favor.



An interesting contrast to the usual vampire-werewolf mythology, as expressed best in THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, is that for some reason the Count cannot exert any control over this particular werewolf.



MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1840)

If one accedes to the general view that "Murders in the Rue Morgue" is the first detective story, it's interesting that it's also a prime example of an *uncanny* phenomenality, one in which the author conjures forth an irreducible strangeness, despite the fact that the author tries to stay within the bounds of materailistic causality, where no transgressions of natural law take place. The source of the strangeness is, as most readers will know, the culprit in a Parisian double-murder, whom detective Dupin flawlessly deduces to be an out-of-control ourang-outan.

I have to imagine that generations of Poe readers have probably to vault over the first four or so pages of the story, in which Poe subjects readers to a philosophical lecture on his theories of "ideality," by which he seems to mean something like Kant's idea of reason. This lecture in turn leads one to a prelude in which Dupin first demonstrates his peerless ability to divine his roommate's inward thoughts by external observation of the man's physical responses and verbal communicaitons. It's almost beyond question that Conan Doyle copied aspects of Sherlock Holmes from Dupin, even if Dupin was not the only influence on Holmes. But it seems Poe, unlike Doyle, really considered the "mind-reading" trick a bagatelle, since Dupin doesn't even make a point of emphasizing this skill in his last two stories.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS (-2)

As a contrast to post #21, this one offers another comics-cover which also references KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, but is not a mashup.



From what I can tell this fire-breathing dragon-like creature never appeared before, so he has a "negative value," existing only to be an antagonist to the comic's monstrous star, Konga.

Similar negative values accrue to the monster-antagonists in all of the Japanese "Gamera" films. The studio in charge of Gamera, Daiei Studios, never pit the "good" turtle-monster against more than one creature at a time, and so all of the films fail the "mashup" test.



Amusingly, one of Gamera's opponents, "Barugon," copied the name of a monster-antagonist, Baragon, who appeared in just one previous film, Toho Studios' FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD. I assume that the name-copying was nothing but a jape on the part of the Daiei moviemakers, since Baragon didn't exactly set the world on fire, even when he was revived in 1969's DESTROY ALL MONSTERS as a "team-player."

Addendum: I should add that in GAMERA SUPER MONSTER, footage from the older films is recycled to give the impression that Gamera is fighting each of his individual foes in sequence, and that all of the monsters have been sent against Earth by evil aliens. Yet I can't really call a "clip show" a true mashup, especially when it's transparent to anyone in the know that the footage has been recycled.

MONSTER MASHUPS #21

Even before DC's JIMMY OLSEN comic did a salute to monsters in this issue, the writers of the comic tended to play to the "monster kids" amidst their readers. Jimmy became a "wolf man" a couple of times, had a close encounter with Boris Karloff, and filmed his own monster movie.


It should be obvious that this is meant to resemble a famous monster-movie of about three years previous.


However, had KING KONG VS. GODZILLA never existed, this would still be a "monster mashup" by my lights. The same would be the case had Titano and the Flame-Dragon never appeared anywhere before this story, given that the monsters are different enough from one another to create the "mashup" buzz. The situation in that case would be akin to the "Legion of Super Monsters" covered in post #15.  


None of these outer-space creatures are meant to reference earlier creations, in contrast to the majority of mashups I've covered so far. In the case of Titano and Flame-Dragon, their resemblance to King Kong and Godzilla provides some icing for the cake, but the referentiality is not the cake itself.


THE MAN OF THE CROWD (1940)

This is more of a vignette than a developed story, and its premise goes like this:

A bored people-watcher speculates for a while on the comings and goings of the denizens of his city. He spies one particular old gentleman, and decides to follow the fellow, and see where he goes. To the narrator's dismay, the old guy doesn't do anything but follow other people himself, constantly seeking to be associated with, though not to actually interact with, large crowds of people. Hence he is a "man of the crowd," as the narrator dubs the man upon giving up the project.

The story may have had more consequence in the 1840s than it does now, given that for many the experience of big-city American life was relatively a new phenomenon.

Friday, October 13, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #108

Primary DANIEL BERNHARDT had a featured role in the teleseries MORTAL KOMBAT CONQUEST, as well as small roles in LOGAN, THE MATRIX RELOADED, an episode of AGENTS OF SHIELD, and THE HUNGER GAMES; CATCHING FIRE.

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Primary CORBIN BERNSEN made a memorable "Captain Cold" in the 1990s FLASH series, as well as playing roles in MENNO'S MIND and the TV shows THE CAPE and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

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Peripheral OLINKA BEROVA acted in THE VENGEANCE OF SHE with--



Primiary NOEL WILLMAN from KISS OF THE VAMPIRE.


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Peripheral ELIZABETH BERRIDGE acted in THE FUNHOUSE with--


Primary MILES CHAPIN (not shown) in PANDEMONIUM.




MONSTER MASHUPS #20

In my previous post, I stated that the Colossus' go-round with a monster-villain, Granitor, didn't count as a "monster mashup" because Granitor was just a one-shot monster at that point, designed to be nothing but an antagonist to a protagonist. This was in contrast to Colossus, who had enjoyed a couple of starring stories back in The Day.

However, for whatever reason, fandom also embraced another goofy monster from the early Marvel Age, probably because of his extremely silly name:




Fin Fang Foom then supplied the short-lived COLOSSUS series with its only true mashup in ASTONSHING TALES #24 (1974).




Again, it counts as a mashup because Fin appeared just the one time as the focal presence of a story, even if it was only a one-shot.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS (-1)

Here are some examples of works in which more than one monster is present in the narrative, but there's no "mashup" as such.

In the previous mashup post, I said that an issue of SWAMP THING, guest-starring DC's "THE DEMON," qualified as a mashup because both the main hero and his antagonist had once enjoyed their own features.

DC COMICS PRESENTS #8, though, is not such an example, because the formula is "good hero and good monster" team up against "monster who hasn't had his own feature," that is, Superman and Swamp Thing vs. Solomon Grundy (despite what the cover depicts)



Another example is this issue of the short-lived monster-comic IT THE LIVING COLOSSUS. The cover shows the good monster fighting bad monster "Granitor:" This too is NOT a real mashup.



Granitor is linked to another monster who did have his own one-shot story: another "living gargoyle" named "Gorgolla," from STRANGE TALES #74 (1960).



Granitor is supposed to be the father of Gorgolla, but that doesn't give Granitor any special status. Had the writer of the COLOSSUS story decided to return Gorgolla to life after the gargoyle's death in STRANGE TALES, then THAT would have been a mashup, according to my logic.


Friday, October 6, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #107

Peripheral SUE BERNARD acted in THE KILLING KIND with--



Primary RUTH ROMAN, whose first of several credits is the serial JUNGLE QUEEN.

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Primary HERSCHEL BERNARDI had one live-action credit in the 1958 ZORRO series, but had more influence voicing characters like "Strong Man" and "Diaper Man" for THE MIGHTY HEROES.

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Primary MICHAEL BERNARDO (left) acted in such works as EMPIRE OF ASH, TIGER CLAWS, VIRTUAL COMBAT, and the 1997 BATMAN AND ROBIN.

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Primary SANDRA BERNHARD acted in HUDSON HAWK and voiced various characters both in cartoons and in one live-action series, HERCULES THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS #19

I'm following up here on the addenda I added to post #13 in this series...



Here, in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #47-48, is an example of a situation where a group of heroes opposed a "monster rally" made up of two monsters established in earlier comic-book features. None of the earlier appearances of Blockbuster and Solomon Grundy involve "monster mashups," because they're always about a hero, or group of heroes, versus one monster. The two monsters don't exactly work together, and indeed, the conclusion involves them getting into a fight with one another.


By the same rough logic, I would consider a "teamup" of two monsters, both of whom had their own features, to be a "mashup" as well.



More on this subject later...

Monday, October 2, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #106

Peripheral ELIZABETH BERGNER acted in CRY OF THE BANSHEE with--



Primary ESSY PERSSON from MISSION STARDUST.

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Primary XANDER BERKELEY (left) acted in BARB WIRE, TERMINATOR 2, and KICK  ASS, as well as voicing numerous relevant cartoons.

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Primary ELIZABETH BERKLEY (not seen) voiced "Armitage" in ARMITAGE III: POLYMATRIX.

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Primary STEVEN BERKOFF acted in OCTOPUSSY and assorted TV shows.

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Primary MILTON BERLE is famous (or infamous) for playing "Louie the Lilac" on BATMAN.


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Primary SHELLEY BERMAN (center) acted in YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN and in TV shows like MAN FROM UNCLE, GIRL FROM UNCLE, and GET SMART.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #105


HELMUT BERGER *may* be a Primary for his role in a 1980 French "Fantomas," which I have not seen.

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Primary SENTA BERGER acted in THE AMBUSHERS and an episode of THE MAN FROM UNCLE.

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Primary WILLIAM BERGER acted in two HERCULES films.

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Primary PATRICK BERGIN (left) played "Morgan Edge" in one episode of SMALLVILLE and acted in the abominable MERLIN: THE RETURN.


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Peripheral INGRID BERGMAN acted in the 1941 DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MISTER HYDE with--


Primary C. AUBREY SMITH from TARZAN THE APE MAN.


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Primary SANDAHL BERGMAN acted in RED SONJA, SHE, HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN, THE RETALIATOR, and of course, CONAN THE BARBARIAN.



Sunday, September 24, 2017

THE JOURNAL OF JULIUS RODMAN; PETER PENDULUM, THE BUSINESS MAN (1840)

It's not hard to figure out why Poe never finished THE JOURNAL OF JULIUS RODMAN, his abortive attempt to compete with the popular novels of Fenimore Cooper. Though Poe tries manfully to create the sense of a trailblazing expedition in the Western wilderness, it's all too evident that he's doing a novel in the form of a "research-dump," using extensive research to convey the illusion that the author knows what he's talking about. All the wordy discussions of forest-lore would be excusable if Poe had even one interesting character. But RODMAN stands in complete contrast to the fascinations of THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM.

On the other hand, though I've thought most of Poe's early humor-pieces completely worthless, PETER PENDULUM is an ingenious satire on egotists who use their supposed genius as an excuse to do nothing. The story deserves to be better known, even allowing for the dated nature of its 19th-century concerns.

Friday, September 22, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #104

Primary LUCA BERCOVICI acted in SCANNER COP and three relevant TV shows.

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Primary TOM BERENGER acted in one relevant film, FEAR CITY.

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Primary CANDICE BERGEN (left) acted in MERLIN AND THE SWORD.

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Peripheral EDGAR BERGEN (right) acted in THE MUPPET MOVIE with--


Primary FRANK OZ (right), from EMPIRE STRIKES BACK etc.

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Peripheral POLLY BERGEN (not shown) acted in DR. JEKYLL AND MS. HYDE with--



Primary SEAN YOUNG of BLADE RUNNER.

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Primary TUSHKA BERGEN (right) acted in MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME and an episode of ANGEL.