Review: "Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters and Culture of the Swinging Sixties"

We live in superhero-crazy times. Most of biggest films and many of our TV shows are populated by costumed characters. But this has all happened before - in a much bigger, wackier way.

In the mid-1960s, sparked by Susan Sontag's academic essay "Notes on 'Camp'," Jules Fieffer's "The Great Comic Book Heroes," the "Batman" TV series and a general wave of nostalgia, American culture exploded with superheroes and comic book love.

It didn't last long - maybe 1965 to 1970 or so - but it was a fun and glorious time, fully documented in this new book by comics scholar and Back Issue magazine editor Michael Eury.

Batmania is just the tip of the iceberg, here. Eury explores all facets of what he calls the "Camp Age of Comics." We look at the Green Hornet, James Bond-influenced spymania, short-lived TV series such as "Captain Nice," cartoons such as "Underdog" and "Space Ghost," Archie's superhero adventures as "Pureheart the Powerful," and much more. If it's of the sixties, goofy and tangentially related to comics and/or superheroes, it's here.

Eury even investigates some of the ads found in comic books of the time, such as the ad for a Superman vs. giant cyclops display at the 1964 World's Fair. Looks cool! Many comics fans have likely seen it in battered back issues and been similarly intrigued. But the pictures of the actual specimen Eury dug up feature a very creepy, mysteriously unshaven wax Man of Steel battling a similarly weird and creep - not a in a good way - monster.

There are a few interviews in the book, too, including one with "Lost in Space" star and sixties pop culture fan Bill Mumy and Dean Torrence, who details the back story of the cult classic "Jan and Dean Meet Batman" LP.

There's lot of picture-packed fun here for any fan of the 1960s, comic books and pop culture.

New comics May 31, 2017: Mister X Archives; Wonder Woman by John Byrne

Click the links to order items from Amazon.

Mister X Archives

Wonder Woman by John Byrne

Coming up: Gotta Get Up! The Songs Of Harry Nilsson 1965-1972

Out July 7. Order now from Amazon.

Bookended by his daughter Annie’s recording of the title track and Andy Williams’ version of ‘Remember (Christmas)’, this release in Ace Records’ highly regarded Songwriters series celebrates the one and only Harry Nilsson.

It’s one of the great paradoxes of contemporary pop music that Nilsson, one of the most talented and respected American songwriters of the 20th century, is primarily remembered for his stone classic recordings of two songs written by others: Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’ and Badfinger’s ‘Without You’. “Gotta Get Up!” aims to remedy that by spotlighting two-dozen Nilsson songs from the years 1965 to 1972, including several of which he made no official recordings.

Among the highlights are ‘Cuddly Toy’ and ‘Daddy’s Song’ performed by Nilsson champions the Monkees, Al Kooper’s harmony-filled recording of ‘Mournin’ Glory Story’, Canadian folkie Tom Northcott’s version of Nilsson’s autobiographical ‘1941’ and the MFQ’s Phil Spector-produced ‘This Could Be The Night’, one of Brian Wilson’s favourite records.

Fully illustrated booklet features copious notes by Mick Patrick and Ian Johnston.

1. Gotta Get Up - Annie Nilsson

  2. Daddy's Song - the Monkees
  3. Mournin' Glory Story - Al Kooper
  4. This Could Be the Night - the MFQ
  5. 1941 - Tom Northcott
  6. Cuddly Toy - the Monkees
  7. Bath - Doris
  8. Butters Lament - the Family Tree
  9. Good Times - Alan Lake
  10. The Story of Rock and Roll - Collage
  11. Ten Little Indians - the Yardbirds
  12. Hey Little Girl (Do Ya Wanna Get Married) - Jimmie Cross
  13. Best Friend - Puppet
  14. Poly High - Harpers Bizarre
  15. Open Your Window - the 5th Dimension
  16. Sleep Late, My Lady Friend - José Feliciano
  17. I Said Goodbye to Me - the Glass Menagerie
  18. Paradise - the Shangri-Las
  19. Let Me Go - Pat & André
  20. The Next Day - Debbie Burton
  21. Together - Sandie Shaw
  22. Without Her - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  23. One - George Tipton
  24. Remember - Andy Williams

Comic art: Dracula and Werewolf pin-ups by Neal Adams

Thanks to the Mego Museum forum for the heads up on these: Original Neal Adams poster art from Dynamite magazine. The pics appeared as 3-D images in the original publications.

Trailer: "Batman and Harley Quinn" animated film


In Batman and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.

Video new releases May 30, 2017: Beauty and the Beast Complete Series; Decoy Complete Series; Ghost World Criterion Edition; Blue Racer

Click the links to order items from Amazon.

Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series

Decoy: Complete Series

Ghost World: Criterion Edition

The Blue Racer