Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bat-Music #27 - Combo Kings - Batman A Go Go

Bat-Music #27 - Combo Kings - Batman A Go Go

Combo Kings... I know pretty much nothing about this band.  There was a band known as "The Combo Kings," or "Pervis Herder and The Combo Kings" in the early 1960s that put out a couple of singles. I think this is the same band.  Honestly, I don't know.  But in 1966, the single we'll be listening to today was released.  It's "Do the Slow Fizz" by Combo Kings, with the b-side "Batman A Go Go."  Both tracks are danceable, funky slabs of Philly Soul.  Slow Fizz is the superior track, but Batman A Go Go has that Batman novelty value that makes the record memorable to this day.  Let's check them out...

Combo Kings - Batman A Go Go

Combo Kings - Do the Slow Fizz

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Amazing Heroes Series 2 Kickstarter is Live!



Fresh Monkey Fiction's Amazing Heroes quickly became one of my favorite toy lines when I received my first set of action figures earlier this year.   The  figures were made in the style of 1980s superhero action figures, such as Mattel's Marvel Secret Wars figures.  Amazing Heroes featured mostly public domain characters from the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1930s and '40s, but with a couple of newer licensed characters as well.  Check out my reviews for the Series 1 figures:

Fresh Monkey Fiction's Amazing Heroes

Amazing? Indeed! It's the Amazing Heroes Amazing Man Action Figures!


Some of the figures from Series 1

Now Fresh Monkey Fiction are back with a new Kickstarter campaign for Series 2 of this awesome retro superhero line.   Again, it's mostly classic Golden Age characters, but with a few licensed characters as well.  


The licensed figures in Series 1 were Captain Action, who originated as an action figure in the 1960s, and Madman, Mike Allred's classic indie comics superhero.

For Series 2, Madman is back, this time in his "Cosmic Madman" outfit.  He also comes with an alternate David Bowie tribute head that is too cool.  I might have to buy a second Madman figure so I can display both heads.  

Next up is Nexus, Mike Baron and Steve Rude's sci-fi superhero who debuted in comics in the 1980s.  I've always thought that Nexus was one of the coolest looking indie comics superheroes, and it's great to finally have an action figure of this cool character.  

The final licensed figure is Mike Grell's Jon Sable.  Jon Sable was a freelance mercenary who first appeared in the comics in 1983.  Like Nexus, this is Jon Sable's first appearance as an action figure.  This is another comic character that I have fond memories of from when I was a kid in the '80s.  I might have to start digging around through my comic collection and pull out some old issues to reread.


Captain Future
Of course, the bread and butter of the Amazing Heroes character from Series 1 were the Golden Age comic book characters, and it's no different for Series 2.  Series 2 has the heroes American Crusader, Wonderman, and Captain Future, and the villains Blackout and The Puzzler.  There is also a Puzzler Henchman figure, which would make a great "army builder" figure for those that are in to that.


There is also one original character: Chrometurion.  I think the folks at Fresh Monkey Fiction came up with this guy as an excuse to do a shiny silver looking figure (which is kind of reasonable, I guess?).  He's a blank silver figure with a black cape, and seems to be filling the slot that "The Blank Slate" held in Series 1.


American Crusader
That's all the figures that are officially part of Series 2, but there will also be stretch goals if the Kickstarter exceeds it's minimum requirements.  The first one is The Black Bat, who is a bad ass looking pulp fiction hero, in the same vein as The Shadow, or his contemporary character from DC Comics: Batman.

And Fresh Monkey Fiction promise there will be more stretch goals to come, as the Kickstarter progresses, so stay tuned for those.

If you haven't already, go check out the Kickstarter page at www.freshmonkeyfictionkickstarter.com and go see it all for yourself!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bat-Music #26 - Seeds of Euphoria - Let's Send Batman to Viet Nam

Bat-Music #26 - Seeds of Euphoria - Let's Send Batman to Viet Nam
"Send Batman to Viet Nam" was a popular meme (or whatever the 1960s version of a meme was) in the Vietnam Era, appearing on pins and buttons alongside other images and phrases like the peace symbol, "make love, not war," "draft beer, not students," and "war is not healthy for children and other living things."  It became a song in 1967 when the Seeds of Euphoria recorded "Let's Send Batman to Viet Nam."  This is a folk song, but it's hard to tell if it is an anti-war protest folk, or just a novelty song trying to cash-in on two subjects looming large in the culture at the time.  The same record label released "Conscientious Objector," a song that condemned conscientious objectors and war protestors, so I'm thinking "Let's Send Batman to Viet Nam" might be more of the same.  Give it a listen and tell me what you think, is this song pro or anti the Vietnam War?
Seeds of Euphoria - Let's Send Batman to Viet Nam

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Bat-Music #25 - The Musical Stylings of Burgess Meredith

Bat-Music #25 - The Musical Stylings of Burgess Meredith
In previous installments of Bat-Music, we've looked at the records that Batman stars Adam West, Frank Gorshin, and Burt Ward made to cash in on their new-found Batman fame.  Today, we'll be looking at "The Penguin" actor Burgess Meredith's attempt.  While he was primarily an actor, Meredith did have a few records under his belt prior to the 1966 Batman TV series.  His records tended to feature a combination of singing and spoken word and included such titles as "Songs and Stories of the Gold Rush,"  "Burgess Meredith Sings Songs From How The West Was Won," and "Burgess Meredith Reads Ray Bradbury." 

A Selection of Burgess Meredith's Vinyl Records
Here's "At the Miners' Ball," a track from Songs and Stories of the Gold Rush:

Burgess Meredith - At the Miners' Ball

For his obligatory musical cash-in on the popularity of Batman, Meredith recorded a two-sided single in his persona as The Penguin: "The Capture," and "The Escape."  Both tracks feature the same music, with Meredith sing-speaking over the music William Shatner style, spinning a story of the Penguin's Capture by the Batman, and his subsequent escape.

Burgess Meredith - The Capture

Burgess Meredith - The Escape

Saturday, June 25, 2016

NECA 1/4 Scale Burt Ward Robin Action Figure

NECA 1/4 Scale Burt Ward Robin Action Figure
A few years ago, I reviewed NECA's giant 18 inch 1/4 scale Adam West Batman action figure.  Well, it's been a while, but I finally got around to picking up his partner in crimefighting, NECA's 1/4 scale Robin action figure.

Burt Ward Hero Pose

Like NECA's Adam West figure, this giant-sized action figure of Burt Ward as Robin is almost perfect, and I really love it.  A few of his joints are kind of stiff, just like the Adam West figure's were, but that can probably be fixed with by heating it up with some boiling water or hot air from a hair dryer.  Most of the details of the packaging, accessories, and the figure itself are pretty much the same as the Adam West figure, so I'll urge you to read that review for the details.  The main difference is that this figure is about an inch shorter, since of course Burt Ward was not as tall as Adam West.

On Display at Misfit Robot Daydream Headquarters (aka My Living Room)
 Aside from that, I'm just going to let my photos do the talking, so let's check them out:

Under the Batsignal
More photos after the break...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Batman, Episodes 25 and 26 - "The Joker Trumps an Ace" and "Batman Sets the Pace"

Batman, Episodes 25 and 26 - "The Joker Trumps an Ace" and "Batman Sets the Pace"

50 years ago...
The 25th and 26th episodes of the Batman TV series aired on ABC TV.   Episode 25, "The Joker Trumps an Ace," aired on April 6, 1966.  Episode 26, "Batman Sets the Pace," aired on April 7, 1966.   These were the third pair of episodes to feature Cesar Romero as The Joker.

Batman and Robin Are on the Lookout for Criminal Activities at the Golf Course

The Joker goes on a seemingly nonsensical crime spree, stealing things like a woman's hairpin, and a hole from a golf course. However, the random seeming crimes are really part of a diabolical scheme to defeat Batman once and for all... by forcing him to sign a bogus check.

The Joker and Jill (His Latest Moll)

Robin's catchphrases in these episodes included "holy Taj Mahal" and "holy Golden Gate."

The Joker tells riddles and leaves clues in these episodes, making it seem like they were originally intended for Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.  But the comic book story these episodes were based on *("A Hairpin, a Hoe, a Hacksaw, a Hole In the Ground!" from  Batman #53) was in fact a Joker story.

"A Hairpin, a Hoe, a Hacksaw, a Hole In the Ground!" from  Batman #53
More screencaps after the break...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bat-Music #24 - Rocky and the Riddlers - Batman

Bat-Music #24 - Rocky and the Riddlers - Batman
Rocky and the Riddlers released their single "Flash & Crash" in 1966, with "Batman" on the b-side.  "Batman" is a irreverent garage rock novelty song, sort of like a low-budget version of "The Monster Mash." 

Sample lyrics: "He wears purple bun-huggers and rides a Batmobile, around Gotham City he's a real big wheel.  When he's not out fighting crime he can always be seen down in the Batcave reading wrestling magazines."

Beyond the Batman novelty track, however, Rocky and the Riddlers were a brutish group of garage rock proto-punks that hit you int the head like a velvet covered brick.

Rocky and the Riddlers - Batman

Rocky and the Riddlers - You Weren't Using Your Head

Rocky and the Riddlers - Flash & Crash

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bat-Music #23 - Nelson Riddle - Batman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Bat-Music #23 - Nelson Riddle - Batman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

In July of 1966, in between seasons 1 and 2 of the Batman television series, 20th Century Fox released the full length Batman motion picture to movie theaters.  The movie featured most of the main cast from the TV series, except for Julie Newmar as Catwoman, who was unavailable during filming and was replaced with Lee Meriwether.

The motion picture soundtrack was composed and conducted by Nelson Riddle, who also did the music for the TV series (except for the memorable main Batman TV theme, which was written by Neal Hefti).  Many of the same musical cues from the TV show are repeated here, but expanded upon and drawn out.  It's not really as fun to listen to as the TV soundtrack, though.  The TV soundtrack album's music is shorter and punchier, and has fun dialogue clips from the show worked in to the tracks.  But this is still a must-have album for Bat-Music collectors, and it's excellent for playing in the background as you read through a stack of Batman comic books.

Nelson Riddle - Batman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Main Title 

Nelson Riddle - Batman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Torpedoes
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