Can Dark Horse Comics See The Future? I Kind of Hope Not

PANIC 

Ha and double ha, Dark Horse Comics! Getting Volume 1 of PANIC ($49.99) out in this rather panicky election year that’s giving plenty of people the heebie-jeebies for any number of reasons. Yeah, yeah – it wasn’t planned to happen this way, but it’s still funny (to me at least). I’d only seen a few very ratty issues of the mag at a comic convention way back in the 80’s, so finally getting to read through the first six issues in a sturdy hardcover tome was a great exercise.

It’s interesting to see everything intact from the nicely recolored art to the editorial pages that note the climate of the time that was VERY anti-comics at the expense of killing of companies left and right that couldn’t or wouldn’t conform to the crazies. Great satire and parody hold up to even the most pointed of criticism, so despite some very dated references, there are still plenty of laughs to be had. So, remove that stick from where it’s lodged, have a nice seat with your feet up and prepare to exercise those smile muscles that of late have probably turned into a near-permanent scowl. Oh, and one more thing: consider a good moisturizer before reading as Dark Horse is not responsible for cracked faces from perusing what’s here.

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READS: The Haunt of Fear Still Packs A Moldy Wallop

The Haunt of Fear DH
 

Sometimes a good old scare is all you need and with Halloween right around the corner (with a baseball bat in claw), you can stay safely indoors and get your fright on thanks to Dark Horse Comics. They’ve been reprinting a bunch of lovely volumes of classic EC Comics and the latest, The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 2 comes highly recommended. Coming to a comic shop near you October 28, this 216-page full color hardcover collects The Haunt of Fear #7–#12 and features art from Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen, George Roussos, Ed Smalle, and Joe Orlando. I’ll tease you with a page from the very first tale in the book, a real corker called Room For One More:

hofv2p5
 

I think that rather unbalanced Rodney needs to reconsider his greed for that last space in the family mausoleum before it’s too late, right? As usual, the book compiles the issues in their entirety including all the original ads, text pieces, and letter columns. Nope, you can’t order anything from those well-aged adverts, but reading the letters should get you smiling at how some took these illustrated tales of terror to heart back in the day. Feel free to also check out previous volumes in Dark Horse’s EC Archives for even more variety in classic horror, sci-fi, crime, humor and more stories from the pre-Comics Code days.

Show & Tell: On Ray Harryhausen’s Fairy Tales

Red StareIn regards to every well-worn fairy tale, “It’s not the tale, but how it’s told” is the order of the day. Parents and other creative adults well-versed in story time voices and acting have this mantra branded on their brain cells and know how to make any yarn they spin keep kids at rapt attention. Still, for many of his longtime fans, Ray Harryhausen’s incredible stop-motion versions of Mother Goose stories and five classic fairy tales are some of the most memorable versions ever created.

Save for The Tortoise and the Hare (which was incomplete until its 2002 premiere), I can recall some of these films along with his earlier Mother Goose shorts being shown during assembly hall sessions or in the occasional class where a regular teacher was out sick and the substitute called in hadn’t time to whip up a proper lesson plan. While most of these 16mm shorts were part of my childhood, I’d imagine plenty of today’s little (and more tech savvy) whippersnappers haven’t a clue who Harryhausen was or what made (and still makes him) him great and such a huge inspiration of countless filmmakers and visual effects artists to this day.

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Yeah, I Want To Get Into Ditko’s Shorts, Too!

Ditko's Shorts Cover

Yeah, I want IN, dammit. Some of Steve Ditko’s horror work used to scare the crap out of me as a kid, so getting the chance to see a bunch of it (along with other genre quickies) in one collection is a great thing for me. And YOU, if you’re also a fan of the man’s work. No, I’m NOT scared of it now, but it’s that brushwork I want to ogle until my eyeballs pop out.

Thanks to Yoe! Books and IDW Publishing, you can grab your own copy of Ditko’s Shorts soon online or from your favorite comics emporium. Buy a second copy and surprise someone with it why don’tcha? Yeah, it’s a SHORT post, too. Ha!

Funko’s Hikari Friday Giveaway Offers A Triple Treat (Or Is It Threat?) For Sci-Fi Fans!

Hikari logo 
Three Hikari Sofubi Vinyl Figures are up for grabs this week, including two really great looking Premium Transformers figures. Funko is doing these up right and as you can see below, even one of Universal Studios’ classic monsters is getting the Japanese vinyl treatment. Check out the Apocalypse Creature Hikari Sofubi Figure (the lucky winner gets #1 of only 750 made, the rest of you need to fly into your local Funko retailer and hope they’re not sold out):

Apocalypse Creature Hikari Sofubi Figure 

And for you Transformers fans, Funko has introduced its Hikari Premium line that features over 75 paint applications applied to each figure, making for a supremely detailed collectible. Both limited to 1000 pieces, they’ll be EXCLUSIVELY available in September on the Entertainment Earth website. First up for grabs is the Battle Ready Optimus Prime Hikari Premium Sofubi Figure (#1 of 1000):

Battle Ready Optimus Prime Hikari Premium 

And here’s the Battle Ready Bumblebee Hikari Premium Sofubi Figure:

Battle Ready Bumblebee Hikari Premium 

As usual, entering is a SNAP. Just boogie on over to one of Funko’s social media pages:

www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

Do what you need to do and keep those fingers crossed and an eyeball on your email inbox next Thursday when the winners are announced. As always, good luck!

Hail Caesar! Another Great Comedy Legend Passes On…

(Thanks, SidCaesarCom!) 
Do yourselves a favor, class. Hit up Google (or whatever search engine you use) and YouTube, type in Sid Caesar and prepare for an education. Without him and a bunch of other dearly departed funny people, you have no sketch comedy, no Saturday Night Live and quite a few other shows and folks making us all laugh to varying degrees. What few episodes of Your Show of Shows I’ve seen made it for me one of the funniest live sketch shows ever created, and while “tame” by today’s standards, the writing team (Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin and Larry Gelbart among others) plus the cast managed to pull off some nicely subversive and just plain timeless routines.

(Thanks, shawmk!)  
I’m kind of bummed out a tiny bit because too many younger folks don’t know the man’s work and probably know less about how he and his team revolutionized on a few fronts, but that’s what the internet is for, I suppose. Anyway, here are three routines to start you on your trip. I’ll leave it to you to find more (and believe me, there are PLENTY of clips to go around from this show and others Sid did). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do a little research myself – I could use a good laugh today…

(Thanks, Fuzz Tone!)

Saturday Night Fever, Ralph Kramden Style!

(thanks, compukatz!)  

I keep forgetting to remind myself to research if there’s a box set or something legal of The Honeymooners on a disc I can buy, as I miss that show and don’t have the stamina to sit through the marathon on New Year’s Day that WPIX here runs every year. That and I’d probably spend the time watching The Twilight Zone marathon on syfy (ugh, that illiterate renaming STILL offends me!) instead. Or find something else to do like play too many games I need to catch up on. So yes, that’s the primary reason for this post, ladies and germs. I like gentle and funny reminders to get stuff done and you needed a laugh on an early Sunday morning, so it’s a win-win situation, correct?

OK, that’s my good deed for the day – now go get some sleep. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow and you need to make it back home to catch Breaking Bad

Humor: So Wrong, But You’ll Laugh (I Bet…)

So Wrong I was going to blank the lettering out on this old comic book cover and add some really awful text, but all you need to do is look at this image VERY carefully and read the balloons as-is to get a huge laugh. It shouldn’t take more than a minute for the slower of you out there to pick up what’s off here. Let’s just say that doc works fast, huh?  Everyone else – give yourself a pat on the back or something.

OK, I’m going to bed. The weather has been too hot, too rainy, too humid and too annoying, so I’m a a very, VERY rare mid-grey mood. That won’t last longer than a day, as I did also just find out I’m getting something cool in the mail in about two weeks. Whee! but for now, bleh. I’m off to pass out and have dreams about strange floating people or something like that. Hmmm, I think I’m going to knock them out of the air with my flyswatter and charge them admission for breaking into my personal amusement park, grrrr…

Oh, if you don’t get it – feel free to take a swing below in the comments. I may not ever let you know if you’re right, but we’ll see what happens…