Showing posts from May, 2015

Haunted Until Only Quite Recently: The Slight Return of “Poltergeist”

Of all the films released in theatres in 1982 during the year of my 18th birthday, the one of which I am most ashamed of not seeing at that time is the original Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg version ofPoltergeist. I have made up for it in spades since then. A viewing of Poltergeist is a pretty regular affair for me, whether by throwing in a disc, catching ⅔ of it on television by accident or, as I jumped at each chance to do it, seeing it four different times on actual movie screens both large and small over the years since its release.

But the first time I saw it, the following year, I was in an entirely comfortable setting, in a room full of my (still) closest friends at my pal Tony’s parents' house, during one of our regular movie marathon festivals that actually meant something back in the time when no one really owned very many prerecorded videocassettes personally. Let me explain… in the early '80s, while each of our homes had a VCR or two, the homeownership market for pre…

The Creeping Revenge of "Recorded Live" (1975)

Amongst the films, albeit short ones, that I have seen the most times in my life, there is the seeming trifle, Recorded Live. As much as I like to recount the scores of times I watched the likes of Alien and Mad Max over and over in the early HBO days in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (shown on Anchorage, Alaska’s single cable network titled Visions), I saw this goofy short, animated by S.S. Wilson, even more. Wilson created this film as a student at USC in 1975, and he would eventually go on to write (with his partner and fellow USC alum Brent Maddock) the Short Circuit films, *batteries not included, Heart and Souls, and, most importantly for me, the Tremors film series. (I will mention, purposefully parenthetically, that they also wrote the screenplays for Ghost Dad and Wild Wild West, and the less said of this, the better.)

I stated that Recorded Live is seemingly nothing but a trifle, but its influence over my behavior has been longstanding, and proves that the film is anything but …

Thor’s Day Flashback: The Avengers #239

There is no trace of the Mighty Thor (or Tony Stark or the good Captain) in Avengers #239 from January 1984. But, who is that on the front cover surrounded by Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wonder Man, the Black Panther, and an upside-down Beast? Why, none other than your pal and mine, Mr. David Letterman, early on in his original late night run on NBC.

Letterman made several cameo appearances in Marvel Comics over the past thirty years, but this one was the first, and the only appearance where he was actively involved fully in the plot of the comic. In 1984, Marvel held an event called “Assistant Editors’ Month,” in which many, if not all, of their regularly published monthly titles had a certain amount of weirdness going on in the pages due, supposedly, to the fact that Stan Lee, Jim Shooter and Mark Gruenwald (Marvel’s normal editors in those days) were off at some comic convention on the West Coast, and thus unable to oversee the people working for them at Marvel’s offices in New York.


Thor's Day Flashback: The Avengers #1

This is the big one. This is the best present I have ever received from anyone. Period. Stop trying!! (Well, don't stop trying to give me presents... but you simply can't, within the bounds of natural, earthbound processes, possibly top this...)

This is the front cover of my copy of The Avengers #1 from September 1963, which basically means the comic is just over one year older than I am (please recall that the dates on the front cover of most comics are projected by a couple of months, sometimes several).

Sure, it isn't the prettiest cover. As you can see, the back of the cover can be seen lightly through the front, which is how it has looked since it was bestowed upon me by the wonderful Mr. Tony D. Batres over 30 years ago or so.

Tony can correct the details in the comments, but I believe he purchased it -- the price of $100 springs to my mind -- from a real pain-in-the-ass dive called Comic Book Cosmos, which served as the first comic book shop in Anchorage, Alaska (or at…

Thor's Day Flashback: The Avengers #67

Another Thursday, another Avengers cover from my collection. This one is from August 1967, when I was not yet three years old (technically, the comic actually came out a couple of months before that, so I was even younger).

The issue has the team in combat with that Ultron guy. Some of you may have now heard of him, or at least the version from the movies. The one in the comics was actually created initially by Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym (the original Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, etc.)

Of course, I did not own or even read this issue until many, many years later when I picked it up at the regular flea markets that were held in the old Anchorage Sports Arena. Got this comic for $3, which seemed exorbitant at that time (but only because I was buying about 50 other comics off the guy for the same price). I would really like to go back in time with about a thousand bucks and clean that booth out. The person who owned that booth would probably like it too.