Today's Best Picture Ever: Marlon Brando

Vintage photo still: Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Comics solicitations for October 2014: Avengers and Iron Man Epic Collections; Marvel Star Wars Omnibus; Len Wein Tales of the Batman; Silver-Age Batman Strips; Wally Wood

Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Avengers Epic Collection: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Volume #1 in the Avengers Epic Collections Written by STAN LEE with LARRY LIEBER & LARRY IVIE Penciled by JACK KIRBY & DON HECK with DICK AYERS Cover by JACK KIRBY Gathering together to face Loki, Marvel's greatest heroes -- Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp -- formed comics' greatest team: the Avengers! They were joined by Captain America soon after, and there was no doubt these were Earth's Mightiest Heroes! But Marvel heroes don't just battle villains, they live, breathe, argue...and even fall out. And in an innovative twist, Stan Lee eventually chose to have those original Avengers depart, leaving Captain America to carry on! Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch -- all conflicted villains -- became Cap's new recruits, transforming the Avengers into a dynamic, unpredictable and exciting quartet! So grab a copy of this Epic Collection, and experience the origins and permutations of the world's most-famous super team from the very beginning! Collecting AVENGERS (1963) #1-20. 456 PGS

Iron Man Epic Collection: The Golden Avenger
Volume #1 in the Iron Man Epic Collections Written by STAN LEE with ROBERT BERNSTEIN, DON RICO, LARRY LIEBER & AL HARTLEY Penciled by DON HECK with JACK KIRBY & STEVE DITKO Cover by JACK KIRBY Marvel had hit after hit in 1963, bringing new characters and fresh concepts to a public primed and ready for heroes with feet of clay. And none touched both that heroic ideal and human reality like Iron Man! A jet-setter, playboy and brilliant scientist, Tony Stark had his life changed forever when a battlefield explosion ripped into his heart -- and only the amazing Iron Man armor could keep him alive! Stan Lee and Don Heck built the foundation that would turn Iron Man into a cultural icon. Now, you can experience his earliest adventures in this Epic volume collecting their complete original run. Featuring the evolution of the Iron Man armor, and the first appearances of Hawkeye and the Black Widow, they're true classics from cover to cover! Collecting material from TALES OF SUSPENSE (1959) #39-72. 520 PGS.

Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 6
Written by ROY THOMAS with GARY FRIEDRICH Penciled by JOHN BUSCEMA with DON HECK & WERNER ROTH Cover by JOHN BUSCEMA & RICHARD ISANOVE Get ready for Earth's Mightiest Heroes matched with two of comics' mightiest talents -- Roy Thomas and John Buscema -- as the Marvel Masterworks take you on a trip through one of the most stellar creative periods in Avengers' history! It's cover-to-cover watershed moments for the Avengers: The Black Panther joins the team, the Avengers fight the X-Men, a new Masters of Evil debuts, the story of Bucky Barnes' tragic death is told in full for the first time, the new Avengers and the original Avengers face off in a reality-bending battle -- and don't forget the first appearance of Ultron! And this storied Masterwork concludes with one of the most famous stories in all of Marveldom: the Vision's debut in "Even an Android Can Cry." Collecting AVENGERS (1963) #51-58 and ANNUAL #2, and X-MEN (1963) #45. 256 PGS.

Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Volume 9
Written by CHRIS CLAREMONT Penciled by PAUL SMITH, FRANK MILLER & BRENT ANDERSON with WALTER SIMONSON & MICHAEL GOLDEN Cover by PAUL SMITH The Uncanny X-Men had become the biggest franchise in comic books by 1982. Chris Claremont's writing rose to find perhaps his most poignant and challenging expression of the mutant metaphor in "God Loves, Man Kills," while his work with Frank Miller on WOLVERINE skyrocketed the character's popularity. With culmination of Paul Smith's classic run--featuring the growing romance between Kitty Pryde and Colossus, the first appearance of Callisto and the Morlocks, Rogue's debut as an X-Man, and the wedding of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor--this Marvel Masterworks is nothing short of a marathon of mutant milestones! Collecting UNCANNY X-MEN (1981) #168-175, UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL (1970) #7, MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #5 and WOLVERINE (1982) #1-4. 432 PGS.

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 1
Written by ROY THOMAS, HOWARD CHAYKIN, ARCHIE GOODWIN, JO DUFFY & CHRIS CLAREMONT Penciled by HOWARD CHAYKIN, CARMINE INFANTINO, WALTER SIMONSON, HERB TRIMPE, MICHAEL GOLDEN, AL WILLIAMSON & MIKE VOSBURG Covers by HOWARD CHAYKIN & GREG HILDEBRANDT As the phenomenon dawned in 1977, Marvel Comics published the very first STAR WARS comic-book series. Now, the House of Ideas is re-presenting those original adventures in its wampa-sized Omnibus format! It's the return of the Jedi to Marvel in an opening volume that begins with A NEW HOPE and ends with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. In between, the rebels face a wealth of new perils -- from space pirate Crimson Jack to the bounty hunter Beilert Valance, as well as a surprisingly svelte Jabba the Hut (one "t"). Luke goes back to Tatooine, Leia battles alone, Han and Chewie play the deadly Big Game, and Darth Vader hunts for answers! With all your old favorites and plenty of new faces -- hello, Jaxxon! -- there's no doubt, the Force is strong with this one! Collecting STAR WARS (1977) #1-44 and ANNUAL #1. 880 PGS.

Tales of the Batman: Len Wein
Written by LEN WEIN Art by various Cover by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ and DICK GIORDANO
These tales from the 1970s, written by Len Wein, pit Batman against the villainy of The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Ra's al Ghul and many others. Collected from BATMAN #307-310, #312-319, #321-324, #326-327, DETECTIVE COMICS #408, #444-448, #466, #478-479, #500 and #514 and UNTOLD LEGENDS OF THE BATMAN #1-3.

Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (1968-1969)
Whitney Ellsworth (w) * Joe Giella, Al Plastino (a) * Pete Poplaski (c) In this second volume, produced in partnership with DC Entertainment, Batman's rare 1960s newspaper adventures continue. Will Batman and Robin survive the double-dealings of Madame Zodiac, not to mention the redoubtable Blue Max? If so, can the Caped Crusader then survive being trapped on an island with an atomic time bomb beneath him? Can his friend Superman save him when the Man of Steel might not be able to save himself? Can Aquaman come to rescue them both? The answers to these questions--and many more--are in this breathtaking Bat-Volume. Reprinting all daily and Sunday strips from January 1, 1968 through May 31, 1969!

Modesty Blaise - The Grim Joker
(W) Peter O'donnell (A/CA) Enric Badia Romero As dangerous as she is desirable, Modesty Blaise, the cult creation of best-selling writer Peter O'Donnell, returns for three more devastating adventures! Features the classic stories "The Grim Joker," "A Present for the Princess," and "Black Queen's Pawn," all written by Peter O'Donnell and beautifully illustrated by Enric Badia Romero!

Wally Wood: Torrid Romance (Vanguard Wally Wood Classics)
(W) Various (A/CA) Wally Wood Torrid Romance is a great, kitschy collection of early romance comics by the legendary comic book creator Wallace Wood. This is the softcover edition of the all-new collection of Golden Age romance comics by the Hall of Fame artist. These rare and valuable stories have never appeared in any book. This collection costs less than a single issue of the original, early-1950s collector's-item comics!

See the new Doctor Who cover for Entertainment Weekly

Today's Best Picture Ever: Pat Boone and family

Vintage photo stills: "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Review: It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles Invade America and Hollywood

Harvey Kubernik is a veteran Los Angeles music writer, a contributor to Variety, Rolling Stone, Goldmine, Record Collector and the Melody Maker, as well as the author of several books about the Hollywood scene.

Over his career, he's interviewed many key figures and, naturally, the influence and impact of the Beatles has regularly come up in the course of  those conversations. In this book, Kubernik has assembled some of those reminiscences in tribute book timed for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America.

The text is largely made up of quotes from a diverse cast of characters ranging from Brian Wilson, Ravi Shankar, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and Andrew Loog Oldham to lesser-known scenesters and even fans. Much of the focus is on Los Angeles and the Beatles' impact on and visits to the West Coast.But the Beatles' arrival in New York for the "Ed Sullivan Show"is discussed, along with, interestingly, the band's impact on Canada.

Toronto fan/historian Gary "Pig" Gold discusses how those north of the border heard the Beatles months ahead of the rest of the continent, thanks to the nation's still-close ties to its mother country. "Love Me Do" was aired in December 1962 on a radio program titled "Calling All Britons," while "Please Please Me" hit the Alberta Top 50 in April 1963.

There are interesting nuggets like this scattered throughout the book - along with all the usual talk about what a big deal the Beatles were when they arrived, and their lasting impact.

Kubernik mentions how when he interviewed Dick Clark he found the legendary TV producer's Burbank office decorated with rare Beatles memorabilia, including paintings by the group's original bassist, Stu Sutcliffe. The book recalls how, before the 1960 payola scandal forced him out of the record business, Clark was a partner in Swan Records, which, along with Vee-Jay, distributed the Beatles' music in the U.S. before Capitol got in the game, and he discusses the early, mixed, reaction the band's records received from kids on "American Bandstand."

In another interview, sixties teen Bill Mumy mentions how he missed out on a chance to see the Fabs at the Hollywood Bowl alongside his fellow "Lost in Space" co-star Angela Cartwright. But Kubernik interviews another fan who managed to meet the band in person. In early 1964, 16-year-old Charlene Nowak struck up a correspondence with George Harrison's mother, who arranged for Charlene to meet George and the rest of the band while they were staying in Bel-Air during their first American tour.

Singer and musicologist Ian Whitcomb, who hit the charts in 1965 with "You Turn Me On," offers some interesting observations on Lennon and McCartney's songwriting, suggesting that the duo wasn't the first of a new generation of songwriters, but the last of an older one - one that understood the structure and craft of Tin Pan Alley songwriting, all of which became a lost art as the 60s generation shifted from pop to the self-indulgent blues-based jamming of "rock."

Disk jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, meanwhile, recalls hosting George Harrison during the guitarist's 1967 California visit, including the L.A. shopping trip in which George bought the distinctive heart-shaped sunglasses he was later photographed wearing while visiting hippies in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury.

We also hear from John Densmore, who mentions how he and the other members of the Doors (minus Jim Morrison), were students in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's second-ever Los Angeles course on Transcendental Meditation, held in 1965 - two full years before the Beatles ever got involved in the practice. The Maharishi's first batch of L.A. students reportedly included Clint Eastwood and new age music pioneer Paul Horn.

There's also some good detail on the Beatles' February 1964 Washington, D.C., concert, which was taped and shown later that summer in theaters alongside separately recorded performances by Leslie Gore and the Beach Boys. These screenings, held in more than 100 movie theaters nationwide, don't get discussed much these days. But, at the time, they provided thousands of fans with their second big dose of the Beatles after "Ed Sullivan."

Kubernik misses opportunities to delve into some of the more interesting L.A.-based events regarding the Beatles - their visits with Elvis, the Byrds, Jayne Mansfield and the acid-tripping Peter Fonda, for exampe --and the book can get a bit rambling due to the way it was assembled. However, it takes in some fascinating territory. Nostalgic fans should get a kick out of it, and Beatles-heads will read a few stories they haven't read before.

You can order the book from the publisher, Otherworld Industries, here. 

They Made This: Adam West as Batman Christmas ornament

Info here.

Pre-orders up for McCartney Wings at the Speed of Sound, Venus and Mars reissues

Good news for U.S. fans, you no longer have to pay $71.99 for an import copy of Paul McCartney's upcoming reissues.

Amazon is now listing the albums at a far more reasonable $19.98 for the double-CD versions. The two-LP sets on vinyl are $34.98 and include a digital download card. And the deluxe box sets, which include books and DVDs, are $79.98. All will be released Sept. 23.

Here's a breakdown of the various formats:

Standard Edition: Starting with a 2-disc (2 CD) Standard Edition, the first CD will feature the original remastered album and the second CD will include bonus audio made up of material including demos and unreleased tracks.

Deluxe Edition: The 3-disc (2CD, 1DVD) Deluxe Edition will be housed in a hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul’s archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD will be comprised of filmed material from around the time of each release, some of which has never been seen before.

Vinyl: The albums will also be available on special gatefold vinyl editions (vinyl editions include a download card).

Digital: Digitally Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound will be made available as both standard and deluxe versions – including Mastered for iTunes and Hi-Res formats.

And here are the tracklists:

Venus & Mars
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Venus and Mars              
2. Rock Show                    
3. Love In Song                  
4. You Gave Me The Answer          
5. Magneto and Titanium Man      
6. Letting Go                  
7. Venus and Mars – Reprise          
8. Spirits Of Ancient Egypt          
9. Medicine Jar                  
10. Call Me Back Again              
11. Listen To What The Man Said          
12. Treat Her Gently – Lonely Old People      
13. Crossroads                
CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Junior’s Farm                                    
2. Sally G                                                
3. Walking In The Park With Eloise              
4. Bridge On The River Suite                                              
5. My Carnival                                                         
6. Going To New Orleans (My Carnival)              
7. Hey Diddle [Ernie Winfrey Mix]               
8.  Let’s Love                                       
9. Soily [from One Hand Clapping]                         
10. Baby Face [from One Hand Clapping]                                                    
11. Lunch Box/Odd Sox                       
12. 4th Of July                                     
13. Rock Show [Old Version]       
14. Letting Go [Single Edit]                  
DVD – Bonus Film
1. Recording My Carnival                      
2. Bon Voyageur          
3. Wings At Elstree                              
4. Venus and Mars TV Ad          

At The Speed Of Sound
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Let 'Em In                   
2. The Note You Never Wrote          
3. She’s My Baby                  
4. Beware My Love              
5. Wino Junko                  
6. Silly Love Songs              
7. Cook Of The House              
8. Time To Hide              
9. Must Do Something About It  
10. San Ferry Anne              
11. Warm And Beautiful                          
CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Silly Love Songs [Demo]                  
2. She’s My Baby [Demo]                                    
3. Message To Joe                      
4. Beware My Love [John Bonham Version]          
5. Must Do Something About It [Paul’s Version]          
6. Let ‘Em In [Demo]                                         
7. Warm And Beautiful [Instrumental Demo]                           
DVD – Bonus Film
1. Silly Love Songs Music Video                  
2. Wings Over Wembley          
3. Wings In Venice

You can order the albums via these links:

Vintage movie promotional pic: Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in "Sabrina"

New comics July 30, 2014: Gasoline Alley; Doom Patrol; Rip Kirby; Human Torch; Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-man, more

Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Gasoline Alley: The Complete Sundays Volume 2 1923-1925

The Doom Patrol Omnibus

Rip Kirby Volume 7

Human Torch by Karl Kesel & Skottie Young: The Complete Collection

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Art of the Movie Slipcase

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 8

Archie 1000 Page Comics Explosion (Archie 1000 Page Digests)

The Art of the Wind Rises