New records on the U.S. Top 100 from 50 years ago this week. Listen to the Hot Trax '71 playlist below.
When Steve Ditko split from "Amazing Spider-Man" in 1966, John Romita took over art for the comic, illustrating a long run of seminal tales from the mid 1960s into the 1970s.
Romita's polished Peter Parker was a more handsome than Ditko's scrawny, bespectacled version, and became the template for how the character looks today. A great romance comics artist, Romita was a master at drawing beautiful female characters, and his first depiction of Mary Jane Watson made Peter and many readers swoon.
Now a selection of that great art will be spotlighted in large-format size shot from the original inked pages in "John Romita's The Amazing Spider-Man Artisan Edition," out in March from IDW Publishing and available for pre-order now from Amazon.
Jazzy John Romita was for many the definitive artist on the Amazing Spider-Man. His sleek line work brought the web-slinger to life for a generation of fans. This volume collects issues 67, 68, 69, 71, 75, and 84 in their entirety. Additionally there is a beautiful gallery section of Romita extras.
Like all of IDW's award-winning Artist Edition style books, each page has been painstakingly scanned from the original art to ensure the finest possible reproduction, mimicking the experience of seeing Romita's hand-drawn pages--it's the next best thing to owning the art! While appearing to be in black and white, each page was scanned in color to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art--for instance, corrections, blue pencils, paste-overs, all the little nuances that make original art unique.
A couple of Bonzo videos I hadn't seen before. New on YouTube.
Man, I loved Kamandi back in the 1970s. The series charted the adventures of a long-haired, jean-short-wearing blonde kid in a post-apocalyptic USA, and was my first exposure to Jack Kirby's eccentric creative genius. The character was always a great candidate for an animated series or film, so it's great to see him finally getting some screen time.
According to DC, the "Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth!" will appears on the Blu-ray release of the full-length animated film "Justice Society: World War II" this spring.
Shorts featuring Blue Beetle, Constantine and The Losers will appear on future DC video releases, the publisher said.
New music out today: PJ Harvey; Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul; Paul Chambers; Peggy Lee; Ethan Iverson; Emmet Cohen; Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio; George Russell
Click the links to order from Amazon.
I much prefer hand-drawn animation but trust in Ghibli's storytelling. Still, looking at this, there's a human element that's clearly missing from the visuals.
Out in March, "A Band with Built-In Hate: The Who from Pop Art to Punk" has collected some promising blurbs (see below). It's out March 22. I've always loved the band, especially the pre-"Tommy" singles era, but the hairy stuff is ok, too. I saw Pete and Rog with orchestra in Seattle before the world went to hell and it was great. Felt like I was 14 again. For codgers, they still give all they've got.
This book is a biography of the Who unlike any other. From their inception as the Detours in the mid-sixties, to the late seventies, post-Quadrophenia, the Who are pictured through the prism of pop art and the radical leveling of high and low culture that it brought about—a drama that was consciously and aggressively performed by the band.
Peter Stanfield lays down a path through the British pop revolution, its attitude and style, as it was uniquely embodied by the band: first, under the mentorship of arch-mod Peter Meaden, as they learned their trade in the pubs and halls of suburban London; and then with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two aspiring filmmakers, at the very center of things in Soho.
Guided by the concerns of contemporary commentators—among them George Melly, Lawrence Alloway, and, most conspicuously, Nik Cohn—Stanfield tells the story of a band driven by fury, and of what happened when Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle moved from backroom stages to international arenas, from explosive 45s to expansive concept albums. Above all, he tells of how the Who confronted their lost youth as it was echoed in punk.
"With impressive eloquence, A Band with Built-in Hate situates '60s Britain's most volatile and incendiary group at the heart of pop's wild vortex, its sonic assaults on the class system and the cultural status quo. Stanfield digs brilliantly into the Who's transgressions, their upending of entertainment, their transmuting of pop music into art-rock and proto-punk. He can see for miles."
-- Barney Hoskyns, author of "Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits" and "Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion"
"The best book on the Who. Stanfield understands that they were built entirely around opposition—they didn’t want to be the Beatles or the Stones; they didn’t even want to be the Who most of the time. He smartly states the case for peak Who as transgressive, how their clashing obsessions with primitive rock’n’roll and sociological statements made them so exciting. He also wisely concentrates on their peak years, before pop solidified as rock, when the Who were the closest thing to pop art British music has ever produced."
-- Bob Stanley, founding member of St Etienne and author of "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop"
Oh man, we've lost another member of the brilliant cast of "The Mary Tyler Moore." The great comic actress Cloris Leachman died at age 94 today, according to Variety.
The daffy, self-absorbed Phyllis, a character she claimed was close to her own persona, brought the actress two Emmys as a featured actress in a series during the mid-’70s and made Leachman a household name.
Leachman also won a supporting actress Oscar in the early part of the decade for a far different character, an embittered small-town housewife in Peter Bogdanovich’s elegiac “The Last Picture Show”; she would later reprise the role in the film’s less successful sequel “Texasville.” Both films were based on the writings of Larry McMurtry.
Apparently Clark and Lois now have a couple of teen sons. I guess we'll see if they take after mom or their old man (maybe one of each?).
The new show, starring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch debuts Feb. 23 on the CW.
New comics collections out this week: Wonder Woman in the Fifties; Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore; Doctor Strange: Alone Against Eternity
Click the links to order from Amazon.
Out in March, "Marvel Comics: The Variant Covers" collects a huge array of art from the publisher's "variant editions," which some collectors love and others hate because collecting them requires buying numerous copies the same issue. This is a good option for those who want to see the art without hunting down all the back issues.
Details from Marvel:
For the first time ever, explore the amazing visual history of Marvel Comics variant covers in this definitive collection.
Comprising some of the most sought-after and valuable comic art in the world, variant covers are a time-honored tradition in comics publishing. The variant cover phenomenon began in 1986 and was immediately embraced by fans everywhere; it was then bolstered in 1991 by Marvel Comics’ X-Men #1 setting the world record for the best-selling comic of all time, which is attributed to the astonishing collection of five variant covers released for the issue. The notion of variant covers caught on and has now become a regular part of Marvel Comics’ diverse output, with a spectacularly creative set of alternate covers being created for many key issues.
These works of art are collected in Marvel Comics: The Variant Covers, which showcases some of the finest and most famous variant covers ever produced alongside exclusive interviews from leading comic artists and industry experts. Featuring an astounding selection of covers starring fan-favorite characters, such as Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, and many more, Marvel Comics: Variant Covers: The Complete Visual History is a must-have for casual fans and comic book aficionados alike.
New records on the U.S. charts, 50 years ago this week. Listen to the Hot Trax '71 playlist below.