Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Amazing Heroes "Amazing Man" 5 Inch Retro Action Figures - Fresh Monkey Fiction (2016)

The Modern Age and Golden Age Collide as Amazing Man Meets Amazing Man!

I reviewed the first series of Fresh Monkey Fiction's Amazing Heroes action figures back in January, but there were two figures that weren't released until a bit later, so I'm catching up with them right now.  It's Amazing Man!  Amazing Man was originally a character from the Golden Age of Comics, and was created by Bill Everett, who is famous as the creator of Marvel Comics' Sub-Mariner and Daredevil.  There are two versions of the Amazing Heroes Amazing Man action figure.  First, there is the classic Golden Age version of the character.  This figure is available direct from Fresh Monkey Fiction at their online store.  Then there is the newly revised version of the character, which is currently being published by Gallant Comics.  This version of the figure was created exclusively for Gallant Comics and is available to purchase from http://www.indyplanet.us/product/john-aman-amazing-man-action-figure/

Look out Kermit, YOU'RE NEXT!
Golden Age and Modern Comic Books.  Amazing Man Fighting Green Nazi Gorillas in WW2, and Fighting Radioactive Green Slime People With Mohawks (or something, I haven't actually read it yet) Today.  Bottom Line: If You Are GREEN, Amazing Man is Going to KICK YOUR ASS.
Both figures are the same action figure with a different paint job, but they went beyond just changing the costume details.  The Gallant Comics version has green eyes and unique pointy eyebrows, and the Golden Age version as a darker skin tone.

The Gallant Comics Version Comes With a Custom Backer Card, While the Golden Age Version uses the Standard Amazing Heroes Style Card

I've written about the Amazing Heroes figures before, so if you want more details about them check out my previous review.

And now we can eagerly await the launching of the Kickstarter for Series 2 this summer!  Check out the lineup:
Until then, there are more photos of Amazing Man (Men?) after the break...

With Secret Wars Accessories Borrowed From The Falcon and Dr. Doom

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bat-Music #22 - Gate Wesley & Band - (Zap! Pow!) Do the Batman

Bat-Music #22 - Gate Wesley & Band - (Zap! Pow!) Do the Batman
A solid funk groove plays, over which the singer grunts and wails various Batman-related phrases such as "Batman, baby!," "Zap! Pow!," "C'mon Robin!," "Get the Batmobile rollin'!," and "Batman time!" as well as repeatedly asks for some orange juice (I suppose recording a funk track can be some thirsty business).  Then again, Batman himself did order orange juice in the nightclub scene in the first episode of Batman, so I suppose it all comes together nicely!  So pour yourself a tall glass of O.J. and enjoy this single from 1966, as Gate Wesley & Band "Do the Batman!"

Gate Wesley & Band - (Zap! Pow!) Do the Batman

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bat-Music #21 - Al Hirt - Batman Theme

Bat-Music #21 - Al Hirt - Batman Theme
Trumpet player and bandleader Al Hirt is famous for performing the theme song to Batman's sister show Green Hornet, but he also brought his signature trumpet playing to the Batman theme on his 1966 album "The Horn Meets the Hornet."  The Horn Meets the Hornet saw Hirt reacting to the success of his Green Hornet theme as a single by releasing a whole album of TV theme songs.  In addition to the Green Hornet and Batman, the album also features the themes from Get Smart, The Monkees, Tarzan, and more.

Note: I couldn't find an upload of Al Hirt's Batman theme on YouTube.  However, the entire album, featuring the Green Hornet, Batman and more, is on YouTube.  The whole thing is worth a listen, and it's only 26 minutes long, so it won't take up much of your time.  The Batman Theme begins at 12:03.  If you just want to cut to the chase, here's a link https://youtu.be/hNC-0vr1A2o?t=12m3s that begins with Batman.

Al Hirt - The Horn Meets the Hornet

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bat-Music #20 - The Camps - The Ballad of Batman

Bat-Music #20 - The Camps - The Ballad of Batman
"The Ballad of Batman" by The Camps is a rarity in that it's a song inspired by the Batman TV show that was released in 1965... one year before the show aired for the first time in 1966.

The story goes that the band's record producer got wind of the show while it was in production, and had the band record "The Ballad of Batman" and its B-side "Batmobile" to submit to the television producers as possible theme songs for the show.

Thankfully the TV show went with Neal Hefti's classic Batman theme instead.  Otherwise we'd all be singing "we're behind the wheel, of the Batmobile, it's fun-fun-fun to drive it everyday," instead of "na-na-na-na na-na-na-na Batman," and that just wouldn't be the same.

The Camps, who also went by The Campers,  were Sonny Curtis on vocals and guitar and Jerry Allison on drums, although the duo was perhaps better known as members of "The Crickets," yeah those Crickets, as in "Buddy Holly and...," so even though their Batman theme never made it to TV, they still had a pretty decent day job to fall back on.  In fact, Jerry Allison played drums with the band for 60 years, from it's inception in the 1950s until earlier this year, when the Crickets played their final gig on February 6th, 2016.
The Camps - The Ballad of Batman

The Camps - Batmobile

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bat-Music #19 - The Marketts - The Batman Theme

Bat-Music #19 - The Marketts - The Batman Theme
This is one of many albums of instrumentals that was released to cash in 1960s Batmania.  it was easy to take a bunch of generic surf rock instros, slap Batman-themed names on them, and claim they were inspired by the show.  The Marketts album is a step above most of them, though.  They add things like bat sound effects, the Joker's laughter, vocal choruses with character names, and musical cues inspired by the Batman TV theme, so this album really does sound like it was legitimately inspired by the show.

  1. Batman Theme
  2. Bat Cave
  3. Robin the Boy Wonder
  4. Bat Signal
  5. Batmobile
  6. The Joker
  7. The Penguin
  8. The Bat
  9. Dr. Death
  10. The Riddler
  11. Bat Cape
  12. The Cat Woman

The Marketts - Batcave

The Marketts - Robin the Boy Wonder

The Marketts - The Joker

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bat-Music #18 - The Musical Stylings of Burt Ward

Bat-Music #18 - The Musical Stylings of Burt Ward
In 1966, the popularity of the Batman TV show had turned Robin actor Burt Ward in to the nation's latest teen idol.  Eager to cash in on his stardom, MGM signed Ward to a record deal.  The plan was to released two singles, and then a full length album.  Then in one of the weirdest pairings in musical history, they hired Frank Zappa to spearhead the project.

"Holy Odd Couple, Batman!"  Burt Ward's image as Robin was squeaky-clean, law-abiding, and all-American.  Zappa meanwhile was the king of the long haired freaks, about as far removed from wholesome Robin as you can get.  I believe this was before the release of Zappa's first album, so the people at MGM probably didn't know quite who it was they had signed to help guide their newest star to the top of the pop charts.

The biggest obstacle preventing Ward from becoming a music star wasn't Zappa writing music that was too weird, though.  It was that Burt Ward flat out could not sing.  After a few disastrous recordings with Burt singing, followed by a failed stint with a vocal coach, Zappa just had Ward talk over a musical background, William Shatner style.

One single would eventually be released, the Zappa-penned "Boy Wonder, I Love You," in which "Boy Wonder" reads from a weird letter from a fan (actually based on several pieces of fan mail Ward actually received), and a cover of Nat King Cole's "Orange Colored Sky" (a song that was also performed by Adam West).  One other song, "Teenage Bill of Rights," as well as several instrumental tracks that Ward had yet to record vocals for, were completed before MGM pulled the plug on the sessions.  These other tracks have never officially been released, but they are widely available as bootlegs.

Burt Ward - Boy Wonder, I Love You

Burt Ward - Orange Colored Sky