Author: Vintage Geek Culture

The prehistory of the fighting game. Yes, this…

The prehistory of the fighting game. Yes, this genre existed long before Capcom’s Street Fighter II. From top to bottom: Karate Champ, Karateka, Yi Ar Kung Fu, Yi Ar Kung Fu (again), and at the bottom, Street Fighter I, which many forget even existed.

The seldom seen “Lost in Space” animated speci…

The seldom seen “Lost in Space” animated special, 1973, intended as the first episode of a new show. Jonathan Harris was the only returning cast member.

Jonathan Harris in “Planet of the Giants.”

Jonathan Harris in “Planet of the Giants.”

It was always a trip to see the late Thuy Tran…

It was always a trip to see the late Thuy Trang, in the running for Power Rangers’ most successful alum, in other movies of the 1990s, like Spy Hard and the Crow II. 

Heroes have morals. Villains have work ethic.

Heroes have morals. Villains have work ethic.

On the subject of Mary Sue… is there any com…

On the subject of Mary Sue… is there any comics creator more into the Mary Sue paradigm than Howard Chaykin? Every one of his characters (Cody Starbuck, American Flagg, the Scorpion, Dominic Fortune, et al) looks like Chaykin himself. It's as if Chaykin's career is a chronicle of a rich and varied fantasy life.

You see, now that you mentioned that, I can’t unsee that. Basically, Howard Chaykin is Walter Mitty and all his heroes are just him in different daydreams (though he keeps his cool brown leather jacket in all of them). 

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By the way, if you haven’t read Chaykin’s Buck Rogers revival, do it, because it’s the most incendiary and truly fascinating thing I’ve seen done with the character in decades. Essentially, he restored Buck Rogers to the original concept in Francis Nowlan’s 1928 novel, where it was about race war in the 25th Century, where Mongols who possess the power of flight rule a dystopian America. You can definitely see the influence of Man in the High Castle in Chaykin’s take, certainly, down to the Han obsession with American culture, like mickey mouse watches and old jukeboxes. However, Chaykin’s take is that Buck Rogers is a socialist (explicitly identified as such), who, in his own era of the interwar years, realized (correctly) that World War I was just the deliberate stoking of divisions for the benefit of munitions makers, and that war doesn’t really change, so it’s the same thing in the 25th Century. So armed with this understanding, he realizes that the power of the Han Airlords can be defeated with racial solidarity, with the different races getting along to oppose them. 

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Buck Rogers is a character who became Mickey Mouse, shaped into something very boring because he has to be marketable. So making him explicitly socialist and political in a racially charged context, so the character actually has something to say to us today, is just…fascinating stuff. 

Also, it’s shocking to see Buck be written with the usual Chaykinesque grit and hardboiledness – at one point, he shoots a guy in the back of the head. Honestly, I thought this would be a book everyone would be talking about.

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Changing gears, I always found it funny that whenever Dave Stevens (RIP) drew himself into a comic, he looked (not joking) exactly like his hero Cliff Secord, the Rocketeer. 

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In fact, one of the sweeter moments of the recent tribute comic to Dave Stevens on what would have been his 60th birthday, there was an illustration of Dave Stevens as his famous creation, the Rocketeer. 

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Finally, one of the things I look for when I read comics is, how often is the hero drawn left-handed? (As a left hander myself, I am very conscious of this). Because if the hero is left-handed, it usually means the artist is. Bucky O’Hare, as seen below, is always drawn with the gun in his left hand. Meaning, Mike Golden is probably left handed. 

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Via “Shannon’s Dr. Quinn World.” 

Via “Shannon’s Dr. Quinn World.” 

If you find this, Shannon Noelle Issette, I just wanted to tell you how cool I think your still maintained 90s-era Dr. Quinn fan site is, because very little from that older era of the internet still remains. It would be my sincere pleasure to read some of your Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman fanfiction (the links don’t work, alas) because, honestly, I am curious to see what fanfic was like at that time, or where you felt the series needed to go. 

Syd Mead.

Syd Mead.

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“Science is for gals in housecoats, too!” (Life Magazine 1958)

“Cherry Delight, the Sexecutioner,” a men’s ad…

“Cherry Delight, the Sexecutioner,” a men’s adventure series created in the early 1970s by Gardner Fox under the pen name Glen Chase. You might know Gardner Fox best as the creator of the Flash at DC comics. 

Cherry Delight is meant to be the same kind of “pop art” comedy of the sort you see in the Batman TV show (with a dollop of explicit sex)…but there is actually a lot of real sweetness and sincerity in these.