Thursday, October 18, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"BARRIER" - A Science Fiction tale by JACK DAVIS (1958)

This tale, one of the many wonders to found at comicbookplus, comes to us from Strange Planets No. 1, published back in 1958 and scanned for posteriety by "comicwanderer." 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dan Turner, HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE in Color! "Televised Frame" (1950)

Beginning in October 1950, our man Dan appeared in fifteen straight issues of the Trojan comic book Crime Smashers. Sadly, he only appeared on the cover once - the one you're looking at now - but he makes that appearance count. Some of the stories are almost assuredly reprints of the black and white strips in Hollywood Detective, while others appear to be new. I'm pretty sure this one's a reprint. Thanks to freddyfly for uploading it to comicbookplus. Our previously posted Dan Turner comic adventures are HERE

Friday, October 12, 2018

Forgotten Books: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN by Ian Fleming (1965)

I've read this one two or three times since its first publication in 1965, but as with most Bond novels, the images retained in my brain come from the movie. In this case, as in most, those film images have nothing to do with the book. 

To begin with, the titular villain Scaramanga is a crass American, a far cry from the urbane Christopher Lee of the movie. In the audiobook I just finished listening to, he talks like a movie gangster from the '30s, with a touch of cowboy thrown in. And remember that annoying movie midget Nick Nack? He's nowhere to be seen. Also gone is the boxy golden gun of the film. The book's Scaramanga carries a "long-barreled" .45 - longer, no doubt, than the Peacemaker portrayed on the first edition dust jacket, but presumably shorter than Wyatt Earp's Buntline Special. 

Whatever world-beating nonsense Scaramanga was up to in the flim, his plan here is pretty simple. Working with a consortium of American Mafia bosses and a representative of the KGB, he's smuggling Jamaican marijuana into the U.S., and trying to establish a foothold for mob/Russian-owned casinos in the Caribbean. 

There are several nods to the Old West, including a scene where Scaramanga puts on a gun-twirling exhibition, and another where 007's girl Mary Goodnight is presumably tied to the tracks of an onrushing train.

At the time of Fleming's death in 1964, the novel had been completed in polished first draft, but had not been fleshed out with the detail seen in the early Bond books. It is therefore shorter and thinner than the others, and didn't much impress the critics. I found it pretty interesting, though, to see the bare bones story without any attempted literary acrobatics. 

And I found the beginning especially interesting. At the end of the previous book, You Only Live Twice, Bond was presumed KIA in Japan, and his obiturary was published in the London Times. So when he returns to London, demanding to see M, folks are understandably suspicious--and with good cause. He's been brainwashed by the Russians and sent to perform a mission on their behalf. How the story gets from there to his new mission--to kill Scaramanga--is one of those thin spots, where I wish Fleming could have provided more detail. 

The illustrations above are from the 1965 serialization in Playboy, by Howard Mueller. Those below, from the same year, appeared in the Italian newspaper La Domenica Corriere