Saturday, November 22, 2014

11/23/2014 - This Week's Creepsville

What the.... ?!! It's almost Thanksgiving already! Seems like only a few days ago it was Halloween, and I was wearing my Tom Atkins glow-in-the-dark mustache mask.

I'll make this quick, because the dog is whining. Coming soon will be the first appearance of this series' strangest and most controversial character: Rugface. My publisher hated him, which I always found amusing. Most of the fanmail with artwork that got sent in had him prominently featured. When he appears, I'll attempt to explain him.

Relax, relax... Rugface won't hurt you. Really!

Also looming on the horizon is a look at the trading cards that were bound into the first 4 issues of the comic.

Click on the image below to see this week's comic page.

Oh, and Wednesday this coming week will have the last of my Eddie Einstein daily strips. I'm putting together loads of weirdness to take over its Wednesday slot, in a couple of weeks.

Ahem.. don't forget to read that comic below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11/19/2014 -- More Eddie Einstein

Last Wednesday I posted the first few strips that I drew years ago as part of a pitch for a syndicated newspaper strip.

I believe a lot of comic artists wish they could be doing something like this. It would be a true creative challenge. Unfortunately, mine did not get picked up, but I did enjoy working on it. My daughter, Molly, watched me doing it and often asked questions about it while I was working. It was another opportunity to bond with her, which has resulted in years of good experiences.

Meanwhile, the folks at Blogspot have informed me that this posting is my 100th Blog posting. Over the years doing this blog have been loads of fun, especially when I've heard from those of you reading it. Thanks to all of you for interacting. I'm looking forward to many more projects that I'm working on now. Of course, I will show you them as time marches by.

Here's another one of my old projects, Eddie Einstein. After this, there will be just two more installments before I run out of strips I wanted to show. Click on the images to see the larger versions. Oh, and please do check here again on Saturday for more of Creepsville.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

11/17/2014 -- This Week's Creepsville... A Day Late

Sorry for the one day delay, but I had computer bugaboo issues to fix (which are no more). Besides that, we had to get the last of the leafs cleaned up in the backyard, before it snowed. The snow came, and fortunately not much of it.. and those pesky tree dandruff are all on our burn pile. Whew!

I also went though two storage containers from my attic, pulling out loads of art for the Creepsville Collected project (space permitting).

As usual, click on the image below to see the legible version of this week's Creepsville comic page from the first issue.

Wednesday will also see more Eddie Einstein daily strips.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wha? Who? Eddie Einstein?

During the Halloween festivities, I was posting loads of strange material on the Reindeer Ranch Blog, particularly on Wednesday... and having a great time doing it, too. I also noticed that the traffic on the site had increased, which is great news. As a result of this, I've decided to continue to post material up on Wednesdays while continuing to keep Saturday posts being Creepsville-centric. There will be a mix of things here, including other comics work I have done as well as some really oddball editorial material.

To kick off the official middle of the week posts, I thought I would share something unusual that I put together back in 2010. Like many artists who have worked in the comics biz, I had always wanted to do a newspaper comic strip. Sadly, these days, the newspapers that once included comic strips (which were enormously popular decades ago) are steadily declining. Despite this fact, I still put together 6 weeks of daily comic strips plus 2 Sundays of a comic I called Eddie Einstein. I wish I had thought of something a little more original to call it.

I sent it in to a number of syndicates, and got very polite rejection letters... from all of them.

Some time later, after pulling them out of the vault, I thought a good number of them were funny, though some were not. I removed the flat gags. The remaining bunch is what I will be posting here until they are gone.

You may also notice that Eddie looks fairly familiar. I have to admit that as I developed Eddie's look, I started leaning towards Specs Malone from Creepsville. I even thought about it actually being Specs in the strip. I finally decided that he was a completely separate character in his own little cartoon universe.

So, here's Eddie Einstein, which I will post here for the next few weeks. Click on the image to see the legible versions.

Have a good evening and avoid talking kitty cats...

Eddie Einstein, its logo and artwork are (c) & TM 2014 Franklin J Kurtz. All rights reserved.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

11/09/2014 -- Creepsville Resumes

Welcome back to the Laughing Reindeer Ranch. After a short break due to loads of materials posted for Halloween, I have returned (once again, very early in the morning) to continue posting material from the original Creepsville comics while I continue working on the Creepsville Collected book.

Regarding the book, some interesting print possibilities have popped up of which I will say... nothing. I'll just keep my mouth shut until a much better time, which is looking like it will be in the Spring.

As for the comics posted here, I just got done with the Robot Monster short comic story. Now, we jump into my take off on Invasion of the Saucer-Men, called "Invasion of the Martian Men." This story has a very special place in my heart. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Bob Burns for an interview. For those of you who don't know who Bob is, he played Tracy the Gorilla in the Saturday morning Ghost Busters TV series of the early 70s, working alongside Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch. (This was before the Bill Murray starring classic comedy film). Bob also worked with Paul Blaisedell on the monster suits and special effects for such drive-in classics as It! The Terror From Beyond Space, It Conquered the World, The Day the World Ended, and Invasion of the Saucer Men. When we were introduced, Bob floored me, saying that Creepsville #1 was his favorite comic book of all time. In fact, Bob still owned the last existing Saucer Man mask, keeping it safely tucked into a protective clear glass box... along with Creepsville #1. The interview (combined with interview material by Steve Smith) was a cover story for Monsterscene magazine, probably still available on eBay.

So, without any further delay, here's Bob's favorite comic story. Click on the image to see the larger legible version. After you get done reading that, please head over to my house and please pick up the rest of those darned leaves in my back yard.

See you next week, kiddies!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! - The Flintstones Meet Frankenstein


Time wise it would seem impossible, but Fred Flintstone did meet face-to-undead-face with Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. How in the seven circles of cartoon hell could this happen? Sit back, read and all shall be revealed.
It should be noted that in the real, non-cartoon world of the 60s, monsters, particularly the classic Universal versions, were extremely popular. The Shock Theater movie packages, as well as programs like The Munsters and The Addams Family, put creatures of the night forefront on kiddie radar. The result was a plethora of tie-ins, including model kits, toys, books, trading cards, comics, and much more. Specifically regarding comics, there were official licensed Universal Monster comics, including Frankenstein, Dracula and The Creature From the Black Lagoon from Dell Comics (later Gold Key Comics). Dell also published truly awful superheroic versions of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Werewolf. DC and Marvel had monster fascimilies turning up in their superhero, humor and mystery comics.
And it was in April 1966 when the modern stone-age family encountered monsters. On the TV series, Fred had already encountered the Gruesomes, who lived in the house on the other side called Tombstone Manor. More Addams Family than the Munsters, the Gruesomes appeared through the
5th season, but vanished in the 6th and last season when the Great Gazoo appeared on the scene.
The 33rd issue of The Flintstones comic series had an atypical cover. Rather than the usual nondescript gag cover, this issue featured a blurb for the meeting of caveman and monsters, promoting the lead story of the issue, titled "The Flintstones Meet Frankenstein and Dracula."
Now, it should be noted that these animated versions of the horror icons didn't just pop up out of the blue. The HB versions of these popular creatures were created for Hanna-Barbera's Monster Shindig record album (released on the company's own record label). While the cover art for the album was classic HB, the title song was so so.
Meanwhile, in the Flintstones comic, the story opens with a group of Wilma's cousins leaving
after a visit. Fred makes a big deal about how eccentric they were and suggests his relatives are superior. Just at that moment, a telegram arrives declaring that Fred's cousins, "The Chipstones." are coming to visit, with no further details. Fred's never met them before, but still maintains his
relatives are more normal than Wilma's.
Meanwhile, in the cave lab of Dr. Frankenfurter, the scientist is playing with his time machine when he scoops something out of the distant future. That something is four monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. Seeing these creatures, the scientist faints, allowing
the creatures to run rampant.
The monsters immediately come upon the Flintstones residence. Of course, regardless of how hideous they look, Fred assumes that they are his cousins and lets them in an effort to keep his neighbors from seeing them. In addition, by calling them "cousins," the monsters immediately take a
liking to him...though they didn't like his tidy home all that much.
Wilma comes home and encounters these creatures in a string of flat, bad gags, including encountering the Mummy in a broom closet (it's sort of like his tomb home), the Wolf
Man chasing Dino, and Frankenstein, talking in a Boris Karloff accent, looking for black widows in the basement (the Flintstones had a basement?). Fred and Wilma then decide to get these creature cousins out of their house by taking them on a picnic, and that's where this already strange story gets loads stranger.

 Out wherever they are, Fred suggests a game of hide-and-seek. Fred counts while the monsters hide. In a disturbing twist, what none of them realize is that there's an escaped criminal with a primitive gun hiding out in the area. He takes Fred and Wilma hostage and makes them row a piece of petrified tree over a lake of bubbling, hot lava to an island.
The monsters, who have already become quite affectionate with the Flintstones, decide that they must rescue their friends. Dracula sends Frankenstein to walk across the lava, which he does with no problem.
 Frankenstein finds that the crook has trussed up the pair in a tree over the lava and threatens to cut the rope holding them above it if the big green guy does anything foolish. Frankenstein backs off and goes back over the lava. The Mummy steps up, climbing into a tree and tying one of his bandages up to a branch. He then swings the very long way across, wrapping his bandage around the Flintstones so that cutting them down quickly is impossible.
The Mummy moves quickly (?) tying up the bad guy, too, just as the police arrive to take him into custody.
As coincidence would have it, the revived Frankenfurter also arrives immediately afterward to take back his monsters. The monsters leave with the scientist, no doubt returning to the 20th century. Back home, Fred's cousins have arrived... and in all sizes they each have an exact copy of Fred's limited animation head. Wilma gets in the last word on the whole story, as shown here...
Just a note on the above: I'm not sure what this comic sells for in today's unfortunate phoney price guide propelled market. I'm guessing, like a lot of Gold Key's disposable kiddie oriented (and read repeatedly) product of the era that finding this comic in decent shape might be hard to do.
Good luck!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick Or Treat Surprise - Roger Corman's The Raven -- The Comic Book

Those of you who are old enough and have a good memory may recall that filmmaker and producer Roger Corman once attempted to launch a line of comics based on films he
had created for drive-in fare.

Cosmic Comics hit comic book store shelves in 1995 featuring the titles Death Race 2020, Caged Heat 3000, Rock and Roll High School, Little Shoppe of Horrors and others. Unfortunately, they were very short-lived. What may interest you is that these were not the first comic book attempts to bring Corman's work to the four color newsprint page.

Back in the 60s, the book publisher Dell published quite a few comic books, many of which were licensed titles including Disney (Uncle Scrooge was the king of the heap, selling over 1 million issues per month), Looney Tunes, Little Lulu, Hanna-Barbera, TV shows and loads of one-shots based on holiday-themes and even horror movies (Universal, AIP).

It was in the Dell movie comics where Corman's work appeared. In the early 60s, Corman had seized upon an unusual bout of success adapting stories of the macabre and morbid written by Edgar Allan Poe, starting with The Fall of the House of Usher. Dell, which was allowed to publish without the censorship of the Comics Code, released three titles based on Poe films Corman directed: The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death and Tomb of Ligeia. Maybe the Comics Code thought these were adaptations along the lines of Classics Illustrated, which also had no CC seal.

As one might expect, the adaptations of the movies took liberties to fit their stories in just over 30 pages. They aren't really scary either. Still, Vincent Price's face prominently on the cover of The Raven serves to make this writer nostalgic for those days when horror could be conjured minus CG
effects and with great old school acting.

And now, The Raven...

Click on the page images to see larger legible versions. This comic adaptation may well be (c) & TM MGM, who own most of the AIP library of the era of the Corman Poe films. We present this comic just because we miss those old days, and it is Halloween.