Saturday, January 27, 2007

Long time comin'...

Here it is - the long awaited officially licensed George Barris designed TV show die-cast Batmobile. The classic design of what is possibly the most recognized car in the world will soon grace toy shelves everywhere after decades of debate and bad feelings. It seems that after creating the Batmobile for the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West, custom car mogul George Barris retained the rights to the Batmobile design and held tightly to them for all these years resulting in no accurate toy versions since the show era.

Now, at this late point in history, things have been worked out bewtween Barris and all interested parties. As a result, Mattel, who currently has the Batman toy license, will be producing the classic superhero car in several scales and levels of detail. The first will be released in February and will be a standard 1:64 scale Hotwheel car that will sell for around $1.00. And they say dreams don't come true. I honestly thought this would never happen as the barriers that stood in the way seemed insurmountable.

Later this year larger scale and more detailed versions will be released and I cannot wait. Ah yes, another childhood icon seems almost within my grasp.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Do you remember these?

Back in 1971 a company called "Third Eye" produced a series of black light posters that were available at mass retail. Several of these were comprised of enlarged individual panels and pinups from the Marvel comics of the day and included art by Jack Kirby, John Buscema and Steve Ditko.

I recall seeing these at a long gone department store chain called "Treasure Island" when I was a kid. They were displayed high up on a wall far out of reach of ten year old hands. Many of Marvel's mainstay heroes were depicted on Third Eye's posters including Spiderman, the Silver Surfer, Medusa, Doctor Strange and Thor. In those days, I was a 'DC only' kid so the surreal images that often defied superhero stereotypes (made even moreso by the flourescent inks) left me a little befuddled while at the same time creating a desire for the 'cosmic'.

By the time I had migrated from DC to Marvel comics, these posters seemingly disappeared from retail thus creating another unfullfilled fragment of my youth. Recently, while on an internet nostalgia hunt, I came across a website that featured images of some of these psychadelic posters from the 70s. They were just as amazing as I remembered them to be.

I immediately fell in love with a poster that featured Dr. Donald Blake with his alter ego Thor flying through the heavens above him. This is Jack Kirby's art at its finest! I began to seek out the Thor poster and found auctions for several of Third Eye's posters on the dreaded eBay. The bidding for the Thor poster quickly soared out of my range, so I half heartedly bid on my second favorite which was a poster featuring Odin and Hela by John Buscema. The Buscema art in this poster is very Kirby-esque though I cannot place which issue of Thor the art is taken from.

I never really expected to win the auction as most of the bids for these relics of the 70s were running way over where I set my maximum bid. Much to my surprise, I won the auction and when the poster arrived, it was in almost new condition. The quality of the printing on the poster was immediately apparent. As someone who worked for commercial printing companies for 16 years, I really appreciated the thick paper and the wonderful silk screened image all in vibrant day-glo and starkly black inks. It's amazing that something of this quality sold as a novelty item for a couple of dollars in 1971. I could imagine the screens being prepared and the pungent smell of ink as it was forced through tightly stretched fabric before finding it's final home on finely milled parchment. I now felt even better about my purchase as I realized I possessed a piece of graphic arts history as well as a pop culture collectible.

Maybe I'll stumble across the Kirby Thor poster at an affordable price in the future. In the meantime, I'll settle for having my retina scorched by my glorious Buscema wonder print.

Monday, January 01, 2007

a NEW year?

Well here we are. It's 2007 and I still don't have my jet pack.

As a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s I was led to believe that my adult life would be much more like a science fiction film than it has turned out to be. The advancement shown in such films as "2001: A Space Odyssey" has yet to come to pass let alone the more Buck Rogers-ish expectations of the previous generation. A generation which in turn promised MY generation flying cars and personal jet packs. Instead, I am typing into a device almost unthought of when I was a child.

I am also once again struck by the odd observance of the changing of the calendar year. Much like birthdays, New Year's Day is just another day. I think Bono said it best in the U2 song: "nothing changes, New Year's Day".

Maybe a jet pack WOULD make me feel better.