Coming Up: New album by reunited Specials - "Encore"

A new LP featuring most of the original 1970s lineup of punk/ska band the Specials is due out Feb. 1.

The double album includes one disk of new material and a second of classics performed live.

The new tracks include:

‘Black Skinned Blue-Eyed Boys’
‘Vote For Me’
‘The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum’
‘Breaking Point’
‘Blam Blam Fever’
‘10 Commandments’
‘Embarrassed By You’
‘The Life And Times (Of A Man Called Depression)’
‘We Sell Hope’.

Order from Amazon now.


So long, veteran comic Bob Einstein

Bob Einstein, best-known for his appearances as "Super Dave" and Marty Funkheiser on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and as Officer Judy on the Smothers Brothers show, died today at age 76. You can read an obituary here.

Einstein first made his name as a writer. His career dates to the 1960s, when he won his first Emmy as part of the writing team for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, whose staff also included Steve Martin. Einstein, who also appeared on the show, went on to earn Emmy noms as a writer for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in 1972 and 1974 and two more for writing on Dick Van Dyke’s mid-’70s series Van Dyke and Company. Einstein won his other Emmy as a producer for the series, sharing the 1977 award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

... Perhaps his greatest stunt, however, was having a case against him nearly make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. A Polish group objected to an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1972, when Einstein posed as the president of a fake Polish Defamation League and told a series of offensive jokes. Four years later, the high court refused to hear the case, denying the request for an on-air rebuttal.


So long, Dean Ford - lead singer of Marmalade

Dean Ford, singer of 1960s British pop band Marmalade, died at age 72 today. The BBC has an obituary here.

Marmalade chalked up several hits in the late 1960s, including the excellent "I've Seen the Rain," "Reflections of My Life" and a number 1 version of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."

Video Find: Sly & The Family Stone perform "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)"

I haven't been a mouse elf in ages.

Comic art: Vintage John Buscema Marvel Comics promo poster

New poster: "Stranger Things" season 3 debuts July 4

New comics this week: House of Mystery Bronze Age Omnibus; Batman by Neal Adams; Batman/Shadow; Guardians of the Galaxy

Our picks this week. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

As one of the most celebrated anthology titles of the Bronze Age of comics, THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY cemented its iconic status in the 1970s under the transformative leadership of editor Joe Orlando, whose impeccable instincts yielded a cornucopia of devilish delights in every intriguing issue.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY THE BRONZE AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 collects issues #174-200 of the acclaimed series and features tantalizingly terrifying work from a host of comics' greatest talents, including Bernie Wrightson, Alex Toth, Gil Kane, Marv Wolfman, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, Sergio Aragonés and many more!

Over the years, many artists have contributed to the look of one of the most iconic characters in popular culture: Batman. The most influential and popular may be Neal Adams, who in the late 1960s put the Caped Crusader back in the shadows and updated his image for a new generation of fans. Now Adams' moody tales of the Dark Knight from the early 1970s are collected in trade paperback again, including a team-up story co-starring Deadman and the debut of the bestial Man-Bat. 

Collects BATMAN #219, DETECTIVE COMICS #395, #397, #400, #402, #404 and #407-408 and THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #86 and #96.

From the incredible minds of iconic authors Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando comes the resurgence of a classic noir character. The Shadow was a major influence of the Batman himself and now appears in this incredible six issue crossover event. 

While investigating the murde of a Gothamite, Batman identifies his prime suspect as Lamont Cranston... but there are two problems with that. One, Batman is not aware Lamont's alter ego is the master detective known as the Shadow. Two, and more importantly, Cranston seems to have died over half a century ago!

Collects BATMAN/THE SHADOW #1-6 and stories from BATMAN ANNUAL #1.

A thousand years from now, Vance Astro, Yondu, Martinex and Charlie-27 will rise to free the enslaved planet Earth -- as the Guardians of the Galaxy! Soon, Captain America, Doctor Strange, the Thing, the Hulk and more join the time-spanning heroes in the war to reclaim the future! Threats arise from other worlds -- as well as new allies Nikki and the uncanny Starhawk! But when Guardians and Avengers join forces in the present day, will even the combined might of two millennia be enough to stop the deranged demigod Michael Korvac? Plus: the Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man and Adam Warlock!

Collecting: MARVEL SUPER-HEROES (1967) #18; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE (1974) #4-5, #61-63 and #69; GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #5; DEFENDERS (1972) #26-29; MARVELPRESENTS #3-12; THOR ANNUAL #6; AVENGERS (1963) #167-168, #170-177 and #181; MS. MARVEL(1977) #23; and MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #86.