Skull Island: The Birth of Kong Review at Comics for Sinners

SkullIslandKong01Over at Comics for Sinners you’ll find my review of Skull Island: The Birth of Kong #1, now on sale from Legendary Comics. Written by Arvid Nelson (Rex Mundi, Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris) and illustrated by Mohammad Yazid (Son of Merlin), it’s both a sequel and a prequel to the recent box office smash Kong: Skull Island, and provides an origin story for Kong while at the same time expanding on the “MonsterVerse” that Legendary started building with their 2014 Godzilla reboot. Head over to C4S to find out more.

Speaking of the king of Skull Island, are you aware that just last month StarWarp Concepts published King Kong, the 1932 novelization of the original monster movie, as the latest title in our Illustrated Classics line? No? Then allow me to explain…

King_Kong_LG_CoverWritten by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, King Kong features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. What makes our version special is that it contains six exclusive, original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

Not familiar with the beauty-and-the-beast story of Kong and his “love interest,” Ann Darrow (who was played in the 1933 original by the queen of the scream queens, Fay Wray)? Well, here’s our edition’s back-cover copy to bring you up-to-date:

Ann Darrow was a down-on-her-luck actress struggling to survive in Depression-era New York when she met moviemaker Carl Denham. He offered her the starring role in his latest film: a documentary about a long-lost island—and the godlike ape named Kong rumored to live there. Denham needed a beauty as a counterpart to the beast he hoped to find, and Ann was the answer to his prayers.

Mystery, romance, a chance to turn her life around, even the possibility of stardom—to Ann, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime! But what she didn’t count on were the horrific dangers that awaited her on Skull Island—including the affections of a love-struck monster . . .

King Kong (the SWC edition) is available right now for download, so visit its product page for ordering information.

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‘Warped Week: April 2, 2017

pan_annual_lgWelcome to ’Warped Week, a weekly recap of what we’ve been up to at ’Warp Central recently. If you missed anything, now’s the perfect time to catch up!

Blogging-wise it was a pretty light week; sometimes life—in this case, the demands of my day job—just has to take priority, y’know? But I still found time to update you folks on what we’ve been doing around here. For instance:

On Tuesday we brought you up-to-date on SWC comic creators in the news: writer Sholly Fisch, who has a new Mighty Mouse miniseries on the way; comic artist Eliseu Gouveia, who worked on the comic sequel to the action/sci-fi flick Equilibrium; and art legend Ernie Colon, whose new nonfiction political graphic novel, The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation, debuted on Tuesday. I also found a way to sneak in a plug for The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, a full-color comic published by SWC on which all three gentlemen worked.

king-kong-audioFriday was another installment of Hail to the King (Kong), with a month-end recap of all the Kong-related posts that ran in March—movie reviews, comic reviews, cover galleries, etc.

And in yesterday’s installment of Simian Saturdays, we examined King Kong: The Original RKO-General Motion Picture Classic, a well-produced 1960s audio-drama adaptation of the original Kong that was released as an album and sold primarily through the mail-order pages of monster-movie magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland.

And that’s the (short) week. What’s coming next? You’ll have to keep checking this blog during the days ahead—or join us on Sunday for the next installment of ’Warped Week. See you then!

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Simian Saturdays: King Kong: The Audio Drama

Simian-Saturdays-logoWelcome back to Simian Saturdays, a series of reviews that examine the movies (and other media) that focused on King Kong, the giant monkey who’s captured generations of monster fans’ hearts. It’s part of our promotion for the latest addition to our Illustrated Classics library: the e-book-exclusive edition of the 1932 novelization of King Kong, which is on sale right now.

Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. What makes our version special is that it contains six exclusive, original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

King_Kong_LG_CoverNot familiar with the beauty-and-the-beast story of Kong and his “love interest,” Ann Darrow (who was played in the 1933 original by the queen of the scream queens, Fay Wray)? Well, here’s our edition’s back-cover copy to bring you up-to-date:

Ann Darrow was a down-on-her-luck actress struggling to survive in Depression-era New York when she met moviemaker Carl Denham. He offered her the starring role in his latest film: a documentary about a long-lost island—and the godlike ape named Kong rumored to live there. Denham needed a beauty as a counterpart to the beast he hoped to find, and Ann was the answer to his prayers.

Mystery, romance, a chance to turn her life around, even the possibility of stardom—to Ann, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime! But what she didn’t count on were the horrific dangers that awaited her on Skull Island—including the affections of a love-struck monster . . .

king-kong-audioToday we’re turning our “listening ears” (as Judge Judy likes to say) to King Kong: The Original RKO-General Motion Picture Classic, an audio adaptation produced by children’s story-record company Wonderland Records and released in album form in the late 1960s or early 1970s (the exact date is unknown).

Adapted by Cherney Berg and directed by actor Daniel Ocko, this version of King Kong is narrated from the point of view of Captain Englehorn (voiced by Ocko), commander of the tramp steamer Sumatra (as opposed to the Wanderer in the Lovelace novelization and the Venture in the film) and a character played by Frank Reicher in the 1933 film and its sequel, Son of Kong. Ocko is joined in this “radio-style play” by fellow radio-drama veterans Elaine Rost (Suspense, Adventures of Frank Merriwell) as Ann Darrow and Ralph Bell (CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Cloak & Dagger) as Carl Denham, and by soap-opera regular Nat Polen (As the World Turns, One Life to Live) as Jack Driscoll. The four actors also play other characters.

The Kong Radio Players: Daniel Ocko & Elaine Rost (top); Ralph Bell & Nat Polen (bottom)

The Kong Radio Players: Daniel Ocko & Elaine Rost (top); Ralph Bell & Nat Polen (bottom)

The trip to Skull Island is leisurely paced—the ship doesn’t arrive until close to halfway through—and Kong doesn’t make the scene until the twenty-minute mark. That means things move quickly from that point on to squeeze the movie’s 104-minute running time down to thirty-six minutes; considering that side 1 of the album is titled “The Journey to the Island” and side 2 is “The Capture, Triumph, and Death of King Kong,” it should give you a good indication of how quickly the Skull Island and New York sections of the story are run through. It also requires Englehorn’s involvement in Ann’s Skull Island rescue party and Kong’s New York rampage to maintain the narration, even though in both the book and the movie he’s involved in neither. The one break with this approach comes when the Army pilots strafing Kong are involved—something Englehorn couldn’t be a participant in—but he’s back soon enough to wrap up the story of beauty and the beast.

kong-recordAnd yet it all works. Making Englehorn the lead brings a fresh perspective to a story normally focused on the Kong-Ann-Driscoll love triangle, and Ocko’s German-accented captain makes for an extremely engaging narrator. There’s also a charming quality to the interplay between the characters—well, right up to the moment that Denham and Driscoll get into a brawl over Ann (a scene original to this version of the story). And Rost does a good job of matching Fay Wray’s decibel levels when it comes to screaming in horror.

Bottom line? King Kong: The Original RKO-General Motion Picture Classic is long out of print, and Wonderland Records shut down in the early 1980s, but you can still track down copies of the LP online, or you can visit the Internet Archive, where the file has been posted for free download. (Note: It’s misidentified as a 1938 radio play.) Give it a listen; it’s a pleasant way to pass a half hour.

King Kong (the SWC edition) is available right now for download, so visit its product page for ordering information.

Coming Next Saturday: Are you a music buff? Do you love orchestral movie sound tracks? Then join us us next time for the final installment of Simian Saturdays as we listen to the music that helped bring a stop-motion-animated monkey to life, with King Kong: The Complete 1933 Film Score by Max Steiner! See you then!

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Hail to the King (Kong): March 2017 Recap

Hail-King-logoWelcome back to Hail to the King (Kong), a series of posts that’ll pop up here and there that focus on merchandise and other things that relate to the giant gorilla who’s captured the hearts of monster-movie fans since his debut in 1933. It’s part of our promotion for the latest addition to our Illustrated Classics library: the e-book-exclusive edition of the 1932 novelization of King Kong, which is on sale right now.

Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. What makes our version special is that it contains six exclusive, original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, The Green Hornet, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

With March having reached its end, I thought it’d be the perfect time to recap the Kong-ly doings that went on here during the month. If you missed anything the first time, here’s your opportunity to catch up!

KingKong-2005On March 5, as part of our Simian Saturdays series I reviewed Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. It’s a good movie—certain better than the 1976 version, which I also reviewed—but it still falls short of matching the original Kong (and yes, I reviewed that, too, back in February).

March 7 was the publication day for our King Kong novelization—an exciting day for us, as you’d probably expect!

For March 9, we launched Hail to the King (Kong) with a small gallery of King Kong lobby cards that were used in movie theaters to promote the original version of Kong.

On March 10, Kong: Skull Island debuted in movie theaters and made quite the impression on moviegoers—three weeks later, it’s still one of the top 3 box-office hits, is the number 3 top-grossing movie of 2017 (according to Box Office Mojo), and is still playing to packed houses! (Hey, not everyone’s interested in seeing Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers.)

kong-skull-island-posterOn March 11, Simian Saturdays continued with my review of Anthony Browne’s King Kong, a 1994 children’s book that adapted the original Kong, but with a twist: the artist/writer recast the role of Kong’s leading lady, Ann Darrow, replacing original actress Fay Wray with Marilyn Monroe!

On March 18, the Simian Saturdays entry was my review of Kong: Skull Island. I really liked it, and I’m not just saying that because we published King Kong—I’ve seen Skull Island twice now, and movie-theater repeats are a rarity for me, given the price of tickets these days.

On March 23, Hail to the King (Kong) focused on Kong’s appearances as a cover model for Famous Monsters of Filmland, the legendary horror magazine. He’s a very photogenic monkey!

giant-classic-kongAnd on March 25, for Simian Saturdays I reviewed Giant Classic King Kong, an Alberto Giolitti–drawn comic-book adaptation of the original Kong published by Gold Key Comics in 1968.

And that’s the month! A pretty busy one, wouldn’t you say?

King Kong (the SWC edition) is available for download through the SWC webstore. Visit its product page for ordering information.

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SWC Comic Creators in the News

jungle-queen-shevaWe don’t usually go plugging other companies’ releases—unless I can find some way to shamelessly plug one (or more) of our titles—but when it comes to helping get the word out on projects from people we know and work with, well, how can even StarWarp Concepts pass up an opportunity to show its support? So here’s the latest word on three of our creative friends!

First up is Eliseu “Zeu” Gouveia, the super-talented artist for our Saga of Pandora Zwieback comics, the graphic novel Lorelei: Sects and the City, and the Illustrated Classics Carmilla and A Princess of Mars. Zeu’s a bit of a stealth artist; I usually don’t find out about his projects until long after they’ve been announced—or published, as in the case of Jungle Queen Sheva, his self-published ode to classic “jungle girl” comics of the 1940s, like Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.

equilibrium3In June, he has another project coming out: Equilibrium #3, the Patrick Shand–scripted conclusion of a miniseries sequel to the 2002 sci-fi “gun-fu” action movie starring Christian Bale (Batman Begins) and Taye Diggs (Empire). Or as publisher American Mythology Comics puts it in the Diamond Prevues catalog: Artist Eliseu Gouveia comes to the rescue, delivering the final explosive chapter of the official sequel to the cult hit film, Equilibrium! I’m not sure that’s the right way to go soliciting a comic to retailers—it pretty much implies that your original artist screwed up and you’re relying on a new artist to step in and “save” it—but hey, whatever keeps your production schedule on track. But maybe next time, guys, you should just hire Zeu to draw your comics from issue 1 on—he’s got a reputation for never missing a deadline!

MightyMouse1Next we have Sholly Fisch, a longtime professional comics writer (and old college buddy of mine) who contributed the fun, demon-led story “After Hours” to The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1. If you’re a fan of DC Comics, you might recognize Sholly as the writer of such titles as Action Comics, Batman: The New Brave and the Bold, and, currently, Scooby-Doo Team-Up. Shol has branched out to other characters in recent years, writing a Mr. Peabody & Sherman miniseries for IDW that served as a prequel to the 2014 movie. And now he’s handling another classic animated character: Mighty Mouse!

Scheduled for June release, Mighty Mouse #1 is the first part of a five-issue miniseries for Dynamite Entertianment. Sporting full-color interior art by Igor Lima and a cover by award-winning painter Alex Ross (Marvels, Kingdom Come), its solicitation copy states: You’re the world’s greatest hero, exiled to another dimension with no way back. Trapped in an alien world, where not even the laws of physics work the way they should. The only person who even believes you exist is a young kid whom no one will listen to. Yet, you’re the shining light that this drab, cynical world needs to restore its color and life. Oh—and you’re a cartoon mouse. Here comes Mighty Mouse to save the day, in his most unexpected adventure yet…right here, in the real world!

torture-reportFinally, there’s Ernie Colon, the comic-art legend who drew Sholly’s “After Hours” story for the Pan Annual, and whose numerous works include DC’s Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld (the original version), Marvel’s Damage Control, Atlas Comics’ Grim Ghost, Harvey Comics’ Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich, and the award-winning, New York Times bestselling nonfiction graphic novel, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation. Ernie’s got a new nonfiction graphic novel on sale today: The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation, which reunites him with his 9/11 Report writer, Sid Jacobson. To quote its solicitation copy: On December 9, 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that strongly condemned the CIA for its secret and brutal use of torture in the treatment of prisoners captured in the “war on terror” during the George W. Bush administration. This deeply researched and fully documented investigation caused monumental controversy, interest, and concern, and starkly highlighted both how ineffective the program was as well as the lengths to which the CIA had gone to conceal it. A serious subject matter, to be sure, but a book guaranteed to contain incredible art from Ernie.

So that brings us up-to-date on—

Oh, wait—did I say we don’t usually go plugging other companies’ releases unless we can find some way to shamelessly plug one of our projects? Well, when it comes to those highly talented gentlemen, perhaps you’d like to check out the comic in which the work of all three of them appears!

pan_annual_lgThe Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is a comic-book spinoff from my novel series, and this 56-page, full-color special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. Behind that striking cover by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella), it features:

  • “Song of the Siren,” written by me, with art and color by Eliseu Gouveia, in which Pan and her boyfriend Javier attend one of his family’s picnics in Central Park, and run into Javi’s ex-girlfriend, Sophia—who turns out to be a mythological siren!
  • “After Hours,” written by Sholly Fisch and illustrated by Ernie Colon. It tells the tale of a most unusual New York City bar—and the demon who walks into it after a hard day on the job.
  • And “Shopping Maul,” a short story by me, with title page art and color by Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), in which Pan and her friends run afoul of a group of Elegant & Gothic Lolita vampires in a shopping maul.

Critics sure loved this comic:

“Roman demonstrates yet again his ability to write in the voice of a teenage girl without resorting to the petty whining and needless angst that seem to plague a lot of the female teenage characters in books today… I would readily and heartily recommend this comic to anybody.”Word of the Nerd

Roman mixes young adult fantasy with themes like ‘young love’ but also with equal parts of ‘female empowerment’ and lets Pandora be a real and true voice. The art by Eliseu Gouveia is just stellar and makes a perfect match for the main story.”Comics For Sinners

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is available in both print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information and sample pages.

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‘Warped Week: March 26, 2017

pieces_gold_large_book_cover2017Welcome back to ’Warped Week, a weekly recap of what we’ve been up to at ’Warp Central recently. If you missed anything, now’s the perfect time to catch up!

On Sunday we took advantage of the second-season debut of AMC’s TV series Into the Badlands to remind fans of sword-fighting adventure to check out our latest fantasy title, For a Few Gold Pieces More, a collection of ten short stories by author Richard C. White (Terra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination) about a Rogue With No Name who travels a world of epic-fantasy adventure, looking for treasure—and revenge against the woman who sent him to prison for a crime he didn’t commit (but she did).

Monday we talked about DC Comics’ upcoming collection of their 1990s Catwoman series, back when it was one of the many provocative “bad-girl comics” that dominated comic-shop shelves. That, in turn, got us to remind bad-girl fans about Lorelei, SWC’s first horror heroine (not to mention a soul-stealing succubus), who stars in the Mature Readers graphic novel Lorelei: Sects and the City, and the anthology comic Lorelei Presents: House Macabre; and Sebastienne Mazarin, Pandora Zwieback’s monster-hunting mentor who starred in the 1990s miniseries Heartstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa (now a free digital exclusive from us).

The Bob Larkin SketchbookFor Tuesday, we addressed the needs of folks who aren’t into bad-girl comics, and pointed them toward our more family-friendly titles: the print comic The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1; the supernatural-superheroes graphic novel Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings; the pencil-art collection The Bob Larkin Sketchbook; and the digital-exclusive comics The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special and Heroines and Heroes.

Thursday was the second installment of Hail to the King (Kong), with a gallery of the appearances that the king made as a cover model for Famous Monsters of Filmland, the classic horror magazine.

Friday was the release date for the superhero-themed movie Saban’s Power Rangers—the Lionsgate big-screen reboot of the 1990s TV franchise that took the world by storm—so we suggested to comic fans that if they’re looking for action-packed super stories they’ll find them in the pages of the supernatural-superheroes graphic novel Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings and the digital-exclusive comic Heroines and Heroes.

giant-classic-kongAnd in yesterday’s installment of Simian Saturdays, we examined Giant Classic King Kong, Whitman Comics’ treasury-sized edition of a 1968 Gold Key comic adaptation of the 1933 original. Drawn by the talented Alberto Giolitti (Star Trek, The Twilight Zone), it’s 64 super-sized pages of monster-movie action, and something you might like to track down a copy of for your comic collection.

And that’s the week. What’s coming next? You’ll have to keep checking this blog during the days ahead—or join us on Sunday for the next installment of ’Warped Week. See you then!

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Simian Saturdays: Giant Classic King Kong

Simian-Saturdays-logoWelcome back to Simian Saturdays, a series of reviews that examine the movies (and other media) that focused on King Kong, the giant monkey that captured generations of monster fans’ hearts. It’s part of our celebration of the release of King Kong, the latest addition to our Illustrated Classics library.

King Kong is an e-book exclusive that reintroduces monster fans to the 1932 novelization of the original movie classic. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, the SWC edition features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. Our version also features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

King_Kong_LG_CoverNot familiar with the beauty-and-the-beast story of Kong and his “love interest,” Ann Darrow (who was played in the 1933 original by the queen of the scream queens, Fay Wray)? Well, here’s our edition’s back-cover copy to bring you up-to-date:

Ann Darrow was a down-on-her-luck actress struggling to survive in Depression-era New York when she met moviemaker Carl Denham. He offered her the starring role in his latest film: a documentary about a long-lost island—and the godlike ape named Kong rumored to live there. Denham needed a beauty as a counterpart to the beast he hoped to find, and Ann was the answer to his prayers.

Mystery, romance, a chance to turn her life around, even the possibility of stardom—to Ann, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime! But what she didn’t count on were the horrific dangers that awaited her on Skull Island—including the affections of a love-struck monster . . .

giant-classic-kongToday we’re doing a little comic-book reading—or rather big comic-book reading as we look at Giant Classic King Kong, a licensed adaptation of the Wallace and Cooper story that seems to use either the Delos Lovelace novelization or the Creelman-Rose early-draft screenplay as the source material, some tipoffs being the cargo ship going to Skull Island is called the Wanderer (as opposed to the Venture in the film) and Kong fighting three triceratops (a scene dropped in the final screenplay) before his brawl with the T-Rex. Originally published at traditional comic-book size in 1968 through Gold Key, it was reissued in 1976—presumably to take advantage of the 1976 film remake—by Whitman Publishing as a super-sized “treasury edition”—a 10″ x 13″ format made popular at the time by Marvel and DC. It’s the latter version I picked up back in the day (at a local Woolworth’s), and what we’re looking at today.

Kong-GoldKey-Pg14Unfortunately, as was commonplace in the comics industry at the time, and especially with Gold Key/Dell/Western Publishing/Whitman Publishing, no credit is listed for the writer. Thankfully, the editors did see fit to credit the cover painter, George Wilson (Star Trek, Turok, Son of Stone, Space Family Robinson), and the artist tasked with bringing Kong to four-color comic life: the immensely talented Alberto Giolitti.

Giolitti was a mainstay at the company, having worked on numerous series—mostly Westerns—since his arrival in the States from Italy in 1949. It was in the 1960s that he really hit his stride with their licensed titles, drawing multiple issues of Star Trek, Tarzan, The Twilight Zone, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, as well as the one-issue adaptation of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. And then there’s King Kong.

Kong-GoldKey-Pg15Storywise, it’s a faithful translation of the source material, breaking the adventure into seven chapters across 64 pages. (FYI: The pages you see reproduced here came from the official Alberto Giolitti website—the treasury pages are too big to fit on a scanner—but are from an Italian reprint, which required me to reletter the balloons and captions, following the English edition. Click the images to embiggen, as they say.) What it lacks is characterization, but that’s to be expected from a one-shot comic in which there’s very little room for depth—an adaptation has to hit the ground running and not stop until the last page. Besides, you can always order our novelization to get that greater depth. 😉

Artwise, it’s classic Giolitti, with pages filled with highly detailed environments and action-packed sequences. His depiction of Kong is a little weak, but whether the big ape is battling dinosaurs or rampaging through New York City, Giolitti makes it all look fantastic. (Although, who at Gold Key decided Kong should be colored blue?)

Kong-GoldKey-Pg58The cast is fairly nondescript: Ann Darrow is a generic blonde, Jack Driscoll a handsome guy, Carl Denham a middle-aged guy with a thin mustache; no doubt Gold Key wasn’t willing to pay for the likeness rights to Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, and Robert Armstrong. (I noticed, however, that Armstrong makes an appearance as a Wanderer crewmate in that chapter-three splash page you see here. He’s the one looking directly at the reader.) As a whole, though, it’s an outstanding art job, and the oversized reproduction makes it look all the better.

Bottom line? The Gold Key comic is a little pricey these days, going for up to $70.00 from some sellers, but if you can track down a cheap copy of the Whitman treasury definitely consider picking it up. After all, a story about a giant monkey should really be enjoyed by reading it in an equally giant comic.

Giant Classic King Kong
Written by Unknown
Art by Alberto Giolitti
Cover painting by George Wilson
64 pages • full color • treasury size
Originally published in 1968 by Gold Key Comics
Republished in 1976 by Whitman Publishing

Coming Next Saturday: Yet another adaptation of the original Kong—only this one is an audio drama produced in the 1960s! Don’t miss the next installment of Simian Saturdays as we put on our listening ears (as Judge Judy would say) and check out King Kong: The Original RKO-General Motion Picture Classic!

King Kong (the SWC edition) is available for download through the SWC webstore. Visit its product page for ordering information.

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Go, Go, Superheroes!

power-rangers

Hey, super fans! As you probably know, today’s the release date for Saban’s Power Rangers, Liongate’s big-screen reboot of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the superheroish TV franchise that’s been a worldwide sensation since its debut in the 1990s. If you have plans to see it this weekend, and superheroes are your thing, perhaps you might be interested in a couple of our titles…

troubleshooters_lrg_coverTroubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings is a graphic novel about a supernatural team of superfolk-for-hire, consisting of a wizard, a sorceress, a female ninja, a high-tech-armor-wearing rock concert lighting designer, and a werewolf. Not every superhero team has Tony Stark’s billions to play with, you understand, and the Troubleshooters are just looking to earn a living while fighting the monsters that have always lurked in the shadows. Makes sense, right? Of course it does! Written by the husband-and-wife team of Richard C. White (The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special) and Joni M. White, and illustrated by Reggie Golden and Randy Zimmerman, Night Stalkings presents the TSI members on their first mission: protecting a multimillionaire from a trio of Middle Eastern demons out to raise a little hell!

heroines_large_coverHeroines & Heroes is a free collection of comic stories and pinups all drawn by me, dating back to my days in the early 1990s small-press movement—that age of dinosaurs in which creators like me used to make our comics by printing them out on photocopiers and then stapling them by hand. In H&H you’ll find mainstream heroes and small-press heroines, and even a couple of anthropomorphic bikers. Leading off is “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (in the Summertime),” a three-page Wonder Woman vs. Harley Quinn story that I wrote and drew in the late ’90s as a sample for a DC Comics editor who thought I’d be a good fit for their Batman: The Animated Series comic (it didn’t work out). It’s followed by an adventure of small-presser Jeff Wood’s rabbit-eared superspy, Snowbuni; three pages from the long-canceled indie comic Motorbike Puppies; and an adventure of the indie superheroine The Blonde Avenger.

Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings is available in print and digital formats; Heroines and Heroes is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information.

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Hail to the King (Kong): Famous Monsters of Filmland Covers

King_Kong_LG_CoverWelcome back to Hail to the King (Kong), a series of posts that’ll pop up here and there that focus on merchandise and other things that relate to the giant gorilla who’s captured the hearts of monster-movie fans since his debut in 1933. It’s part of our promotion for the latest addition to our Illustrated Classics library: the e-book-exclusive edition of the 1932 novelization of King Kong, which is on sale right now.

Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. What makes our version special is that it contains six exclusive, original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, The Green Hornet, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

Today we’re looking at Kong’s career as a cover model, specifically for the legendary horror magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. Created in the 1950s by editor, genre fan, agent, and “Ackermonster” Forrest J Ackerman (who also created Vampirella), Famous Monsters was the lifeline that horror, sci-fi, and monster fans clung to for information and camaraderie in a world long before the arrival of the Internet. Much of its editorial focus was on films of the past, like the original King Kong, which allowed generations of fans to better understand the incredible histories of their favorite genres while also preserving the memories of classic films that might have faded into obscurity.

In this gallery (click on each image to embiggen, as they say), you’ll find:

FM #6: February 1960; cover art by Albert Nuetzell
FM #25: October 1963
FM #44: May 1967; cover art by Dan Atkins
FM #108: July 1974; cover art by Basil Gogos
FM #125: May 1976; cover art by John Berkey—detail from the Kong 1976 teaser movie poster
FM #132: March 1977; cover art by Basil Gogos
FM #267: April 2013; cover art by Jason Edmiston

Famous Monsters’ original run ended in 1983 and was revived by another publisher in 1993. One libel suit filed by Forry, a bankruptcy, and a change of publishers later, FM still exists today, but only as a company brand; its final print issue was #288 (October 2016), although long before then the current owners had decided to turn FM into a quarterly-but-maybe-annual magazine that focused on horror art. The true FM might have been killed by an art mag—yet one more example of beauty killing the beast!—but Forry Ackerman and his creation will always live on in the memories of monster fans.

King Kong (the SWC edition) is available right now for download, so visit its product page for ordering information.

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Not Into Bad-Girl Comics? We’ve Got You Covered

In yesterday’s post I wrote about DC Comics’ upcoming collection of Catwoman comics that were published during her 1990s “bad-girl era” series, and that if you’re a fan of similar comic-book femme fatales then we have the perfect characters for your reading enjoyment in the form of a soul-stealing succubus named Lorelei and a shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin.

However, we know that not everyone finds those sort of characters interesting—no matter how well written or well drawn they might be—so if bad girls aren’t your thing, don’t worry! We also publish a choice selection of family-friendly titles:

pan_annual_lgThe Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is a spinoff from the Saga of Pandora Zwieback novel series. This 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth in two adventures: the comic story “Song of the Siren,”—written by me, with art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0)—in which Pan runs afoul of a man-stealing siren who turns out to be the ex-girlfriend of Pan’s current boyfriend, Javier Maldonado; and “Shopping Maul,” a short story by me with title page art by Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School) that involves Pan and her friends crossing paths with a trio of Gothic Lolita vampires. The special also includes “After Hours,” a whimsical tale by writer Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), and comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), about a demon visiting his local bar after a hard day at work. Cover art is by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

troublshooters_lg_cover_revPerfect for superhero fans, Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings is a graphic novel about a supernatural team of superfolk-for-hire, consisting of a wizard, a sorceress, a female ninja, a high-tech-armor-wearing rock concert lighting designer, and a werewolf. Not every superhero team has Tony Stark’s billions to play with, you understand, and the Troubleshooters are just looking to earn a living while fighting the monsters that have always lurked in the shadows. Makes sense, right? Of course it does! Written by the husband-and-wife team of Richard C. White (The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special) and Joni M. White, and illustrated by Reggie Golden and Randy Zimmerman, Night Stalkings presents the TSI members on their first mission: protecting a multimillionaire from a trio of Middle Eastern demons out to raise a little hell!

seadragon_lrg_cov_revThe Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special is is a one-shot digital comic created and written by Richard C. White, author of (Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings, For a Few Gold Pieces More). Drawn by Bill Bryan (artist of Caliber Press’ Dark Oz and DC Comics’ House of Mystery), and featuring cover art and color by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1), it’s a swashbuckling fantasy story set in a world where intrigue and economic warfare are as important as the strength of your sword. If you’re a fan of classic swashbuckling films like The Crimson Pirate, or love the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, this is the comic for you. Best of all, it’s 48 pages of high-seas adventure for just 99¢!

The Bob Larkin SketchbookThe Bob Larkin Sketchbook is a collection of some of incredible pencil drawings by the legendary cover painter for Doc Savage, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Star Trek, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and many other pop-culture icons. What you’ll discover when you see this collection is how wide-ranging his subjects are. Sci-fi, horror, Westerns, pulp adventure, crime fiction, movie merchandise, even wrestling stars—as we say on the book’s back cover, there really is little that he hasn’t painted. And the sketchbook features three pieces created especially for it: the Pandora Zwieback cover art; a portrait of Patricia Savage, the fightin’ cousin of pulp fiction’s top-tier adventurer, Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze; and a two-page spread in which Doc faces off against another Golden Age crimefighter—The Shadow!

heroines_large_coverFinally, Heroines & Heroes is a free collection of comic stories and pinups all drawn by me, dating back to my days in the early 1990s small-press movement—that age of dinosaurs in which creators like me used to make our comics by printing them out on photocopiers and then stapling them by hand. In H&H you’ll find mainstream heroes and small-press heroines, and even a couple of anthropomorphic bikers. Leading off is “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (in the Summertime),” a three-page Wonder Woman vs. Harley Quinn story that I wrote and drew in the late ’90s as a sample for a DC Comics editor who thought I’d be a good fit for their Batman: The Animated Series comic (it didn’t work out). It’s followed by an adventure of small-presser Jeff Wood’s rabbit-eared superspy, Snowbuni; three pages from the long-canceled indie comic Motorbike Puppies; and an adventure of the indie superheroine The Blonde Avenger. And did I mention it’s a free download? (Yes, I did.)

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings, and The Bob Larkin Sketchbook are available in print and digital formats; The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special and Heroines and Heroes are digital exclusives. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information.

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