Monday, April 30, 2012
Yesterday I posted about Kid Eternity and today I present one of his villains along with one of the bad guys he conjured. "Master Man has powers that rival those of Kid Eternity and Mr. Keeper! Master Man claims his followers from evil armies spawned in hideous pits of ultimate horror! From their unspeakable past they rise again to follow at his command!" Couldn't have said it better myself, having quoted from Kid Eternity #15, May 1949. Whereas Kid Eternity uses the word "Eternity" to summon those who will aid him, Master Man speaks the word "Stygia" for his own evil designs. The first person of history he summons during the story is Rasputin, and they don't come much more evil than that. But Master Man is ultimately not the master of all he surveys, for looking over his shoulder is the devil himself, although never mentioned by name and only seen as a shadow on the ground. On top of all this Master Man is a chain smoker - I mean, what could be more evil than that? Right?! Master Man was made using various GI Joe parts while Rasputin was a metal miniature, although I don't remember who made him.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Kid Eternity was a Quality Comics character who initially started appearing in Hit Comics and later got his own title. Basically the kid is helping out on his grandfather's steamer when they're torpedoed by a Nazi U-Boat and both end up standing at the pearly gates. Grandpa is allowed in but one of the Heavenly clerks named Mr. Keeper tells the kid that he was taken 75 years too early. The boy, now known as Kid Eternity, is allowed to basically shuttle between heaven and earth in order to bring justice to the living world, with Mr. Keeper along for moral support and guidance. The kid can appear on earth by calling out the word "Eternity" and by using the same word he can summon dead people to help him take care of business. Appearing in 1942 Kid Eternity appears based on the 1941 movie "Here Comes Mister Jordan," where a clerk takes a boxer to heaven too soon. It's actually a fun premise - OK, maybe a little ghoulish - but it allows the kid to call up all sorts of interesting characters. These turned out to not only be dead people but also fantasy characters. My Kid Eternity group takes up half a shelf and I'll share some of them with you over the next several posts. Kid Eternity was made using various GI Joe and Dukes of Hazard parts with the sash made from a cut strip of felt and a little red cotton ball on the end. Mr. Keeper was a Star Wars Rankor Trainer, for whom I managed to exercise my hand sewing skills in fashioning a robe with a piece of twine for his belt.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Fate sometimes takes ships in diverse directions, just as is does the people who build them. A case in point is the USS General W. P. Richardson (AP-118), a unit of the General Pope class transport ships. Laid down in February 1944 and completed in November of the same year, the Richardson was one member of the vast fleet of ships that transported troops around the world during World War II. After the war she was operated by the army for a couple of years (yes, the army did operate ships from time to time) and saw some limited civilian service, then back with the army again for the Korean War before going into reserve. In 1957 she was acquired by the Hawaiian Steamship Company, a division of Textron, Inc., and operated for nearly two years as the SS Leilani on the Hawaii to San Francisco route before the parent company went out of business. Afterwards she changed hands a few times (the fate of many merchant ships) and was extensively rebuilt in the early 1970's. She served in one capacity or another until 1999 and was finally scrapped in 2005. A friend of mine had given me a CinC General Pope model he didn't have any need for and I was looking around for something interesting to do with it when I stumbled across the Leilani. I liked the look of her-not a lot of green ships out there-so I stripped all the guns off of her (not a mean feat I can assure you) and painted her as the Leilani. Just finished her up this morning and wanted to share. I think she turned out rather well.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Logan's Run had a nice supporting cast populating the fringes of the scenes. People seemed to wear "age appropriate" clothing. For example, younger folk seemed to wear yellow while "of age" people wore green and those nearing age 30 wore red. There was one place Logan and Jessica sort of stumbled through that seemed to be a psychedelic haven of especial debauchery, hence the girl in the middle. The girl on the left I confess I used a straight out of the box Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean (gotta love Keira Knightley), while the figure in the middle is a metal figure from Perth Pewter. The figure at right is a "Red" male made from the body of a Perseus from Clash of the Titans and the head from a Mego Pocket Superheroes Superman figure - bet you wondered what I did with all of those heads, now didn't you??
Monday, April 23, 2012
As I mentioned in my earlier posts the Sandman, Logan-5, is searching for a link to the elusive Sanctuary. One of the runners he had previously terminated apparently had a "face-job" at a place called "New You" and Logan goes there with Jessica. They are greeted by Holly, who seems guileless and friendly, and then meet Doc, who built the machine. It is capable of cutting and then instantly healing with a laser-type beam. Logan says he wants a new face, but as the procedure is beginning Doc gets a mysterious phone call and suddenly the procedure turns deadly. There is a struggle and Doc ends up a victim of his own machine while Holly flees and Logan and Jessica go their own way. Doc is made using another Battlestar Galactica Starbuck figure with the head from some sports figure I believe. Holly is a Glamor Gal figure that I've switched heads and dresses on. She looks guileless and friendly, now doesn't she?
Sunday, April 22, 2012
As I was saying in my last post, this set of figures is based on Logan's Run the movie and the Marvel Comics adaptation. After terminating a runner Logan finds a strange symbol, an ankh, among the man's possessions. The computer that controls the city recognizes the object as associated with a place called Sanctuary and it sends Logan on a quest to find and destroy Sanctuary. Logan had previously seen a similar piece of jewelry on the girl Jessica. She's wary of a Sandman and even sets him up to be killed, but eventually begins to trust him. She agrees to accompany him when he goes to investigate a disturbance at Cathedral, where the Cubs reside-wild children who live outside the rules of the city. When he doesn't kill a female runner there but is cut by the cubs they decide to visit a clinic where he can be "repaired." The Jessica figure is a metal figure from a fairy line by Perth Pewter. I left off the wings and filled in the hole in her back and removed all the flowers she was wearing and then painted her as a domed city dweller.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
For those of you who may not know, Logan's Run was a science fiction novel from 1967 that was turned into a movie in 1976. Marvel Comics did a short (7 issue) comic adaptation of the film, and my action figures are sort of a combination of the movie and comic. Set in a future society where resources are limited the domed city of the story needs to set certain limits on the population. One of these is a 30-year life-span. Although there is a belief that people can "renew" when they hit 30 by going on something called "Carrousel," in reality you're dead at 30. Some people have figured that out and become runners, trying to find an elusive place of promise called Sanctuary. To enforce the laws and chase down runners there is an elite force of Sandmen, who are trained in martial arts and appear to be the only ones armed. They are authorized to hunt down and terminate the runners. Here are four of the Sandmen I did including, at right Logan himself, then his best friend Francis and a couple of others. They were made using a Battlestar Galactica Starbuck figure, Logan also having Starbuck's head. The Francis figure has a Perseus head from Clash of the Titans, while the red head is a GI Joe and on far left is a Mork head. They were painted mostly like the movie characters.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Marvel Comics Nova Corps I suppose is a little like DC Comics Green Lantern Corps. We were first introduced to Nova when a dying alien bestowed the power on an earth Teen named Richard Ryder way back in the 1970's. Since then some of the back story has sort of morphed, but the Corps is basically an ethnically diverse intergalactic police force made up of a whole host of aliens. Samaya (nicknamed Sam) is a Centaurian from the same planet as Yondu of the Guardians of the Galaxy. They have the characteristic red crest on the back of their heads - with a slit in the helmet to match - and blue skin. I really liked the look of Sam so I took a GI Joe Scarlet figure and the head from a Star Wars Aurra Sing figure and used sheet plastic to make the crest. Now I can place her next to my Richard Ryder Nova and have two members of the Nova Corps.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A couple of posts back I introduced a character called the Krypton Kid, but this is a different guy. He started out as a prisoner on the planet Blor - now who would name their planet Blor? Are they called Blorites? Anyway, he volunteers for a space mission with the test dog because he can get a shortened sentence when he comes back. I don't think he ever did return to Blor - and who could blame him? Anyway, the spaceship just happens to pass through a Kryptonite cloud and then, because obviously he knows that Superboy lives there, he pilots the spaceship to earth. Exposure to Kryptonite has given him the ability to turn anything he wishes into that element, plus he has some natural telepathic abilities. He bedevils Superboy through several stories, both by himself and with other villains, but is always foiled by the boy of steel. Don't think his real name was ever mentioned, just that he was from the planet Blor. They don't even mention a name for the dog. Now what kid doesn't name his dog? Maybe someone from the planet Blor. I used a variety of GI Joe and related parts to make the Kryptonite Kid. Not sure where I found the dog but he matches the dog in the comic pretty well.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This is the story of a young man named Allan Vale, who lives with his uncle and has this incurable disease he caught while in Hong Kong - no, I'm not going to comment on that one. Anyway, the disease makes Allan even more weak than Clark Kent - alias Superboy - pretends to be. But as it turns out Allan's uncle has created a super formula which bestows superpowers on Allan. Assuming the identity of Supremo (sounds more like the title of the dictatorial leader of a Latin American country than a superhero name) the newly energized Allan starts flying around Smallville doing the kinds of jobs Superboy normally does, like rescuing the girl in the carnival ride who's chain breaks. Anyway, Supremo keeps having bouts of weakness with his superpowers that seem unexplained, but in the end it's only the disease finally taking its toll. Allan dies, but not before he's fulfilled some of his fondest dreams of emulating his hero Superboy. I found the costume interesting and had been wanting to do a figure for quite a while. I used a DC Universe Atom figure and added a cape made of T-shirt material.
Monday, April 16, 2012
What, you say??!! Shy, timid Betty Brant as Spider-Girl? When did that happen? Well, it happened in the pages of "What If" No. 7 from 1978 in an issue that has everybody but Peter Parker being spider-bit. DC comics had Elseworlds and Marvel had What If? but they all had their alternate universes and I really like those stories. Betty shares the fact of her abilities with Peter, however (some people will do anything to get a date), and he helps her to develop her spider abilities - being the class nerd. She of course makes herself a costume - a very revealing costume - and Peter whips up some handy dandy web shooters for her. Then she sallies forth (no, Sally Forth was another character), anyway, she descends on crime like a... well... Spider-Girl, with the Daily Bugle still questioning what side of the law she's on. Then she lets one bad guy slip through her fingers and, as always happens in the comics, poor Uncle Ben buys it one more time at the bad guy's hands and when Betty learns the truth she trashes her costume and walks away from the Spider-Girl persona. As for the figure, I used a Spider-Woman figure with the head from a Spider-Man. The hardest part was painting all that damn webbing, but I use paint pens which make it a lot easier. Just finished this one and wanted to share right away.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
This is a character I remember from my youth that I rediscovered in the pages of one of DC's 80-page Giant comics. He is really Zar-Al from Krypton, who's father believes what Jor-El is saying about Krypton being doomed and sends his son forward in time to earth in a search for Zeelium, which he believes will prevent the uranium core from exploding. Reaching earth Zar-Al meets Superboy, explains his mission, and for his stay on earth adopts the identity of the Krypton Kid. The two boys have super adventures together but the Kid is able to out-think Superboy on a couple of problems they confront, getting the boy-of-steel to believe that he is inferior in some ways to the Kid. When the Kid claims to have discovered Zeelium and is returning to Krypton, Superboy takes his place. However, the Krypton Kid has discovered a secret. Years of intermittent exposure to Kryptonite has served to make Superboy less sensitive to that nasty stuff, but the Krypton Kid has no such immunity and in the end it is the Kid who returns to meet his doom, alongside his father back on Krypton. Kind of a sad story but I always liked the costume and it was one of my earlier conversions. I (again) used a CHIPS Jimmy Squeaks figure and the head from a fashion doll boyfriend figure.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
You meet a lot of interesting people at comic book, science fiction and horror conventions. People you might not normally even have been aware of who turn out to be attractive and pleasant and interesting individuals. Such a one is Cathy St. George, Playboy playmate for August 1982. She hadn't originally been on my "most see" list but when I happened by her table and we sort of struck up a conversation I was quickly engaged by her pleasant personality. This picture was shot at the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan outside of Detroit in May 2006. After I met her I discovered she'd been in a few movies over the years, had posed with her sister Toni for a pictorial in the April 1985 issue of Playboy and appeared in a handful of Playboy special edition publications and videos. Aside from being a model and actress she's also a makeup artist. Last I heard she was living in New York so if you run into her at a convention be nice to her and she'll be nice to you.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
OK, here we have another of those convoluted logic kind of stories I apparently love so well - at least I seem to read a lot of them. Anyway, while Superboy is off in space Ma and Pa Kent decide they're lonely and agree to adopt a young man for a month until the orphanage gets their new wing built. Turns out his name is Vidal and he's from another world and has superpowers, although slightly different from Superboy's. He then fills in for the boy of steel, making the Kents suspicious of his motives. Turns out Vidal is a member of the Intergalactic Patrol who recently discovered that Superboy was an orphan of Krypton and commissioned Vidal to seek out a kindly foster family so Superboy wouldn't have to be lonely on earth. Of course the Kent's agree and Superboy is now happy with his "new" foster parents. Sounds like the Intergalactic Patrol should do a better job with their homework. This is the only appearance of the Intergalactic Patrol I'm aware of but I thought they might be a rather interesting group to follow. Oh well, they're probably lost in the maelstrom of the Silver Age. As for the figure, Vidal was made using a CHIPS Jimmy Squeaks figure and the head from a GI Joe. I get a lot of mileage out of Squeaks. The other three are Patrol members, the smaller one using a Mego Pocket Superheroes Batman figure and a random head. The other two are Toy Biz Spider-Man bodies, Superman legs, Daredevil arms and the heads from a couple of random spaceman figures.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Lana Lang did eventually gain super powers in her own right, after years of trying to convince Superboy to bestow them on her. While out in the woods one day Lana got a telepathic S.O.S. from an alien, who she helped get out from under a fallen limb. The alien gave her a biogenetic ring, which she soon learned gave her the ability to take on the powers of any insect with which she was familiar, earth-based or alien. Over time she became rather adept at using the ring and was even invited to become a reservist in the 30th Century Legion of Superheroes. Now maybe it's just me but how many of you think that a very attractive female would like to have the power of changing into an insect? Sounds like males were writing those stories!! Anyway, as the years went by Lana didn't really use her insect powers very much and even loaned the ring out to Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane on occasion. The figure I used was a "Happy Meal" Invisible Woman figure and the insect parts came off of a set of PVC insect-like figures I don't remember the details about. I'm always on the outlook for parts and pieces I think I can use for a conversion.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
OK, here's another one of those convoluted, "How do we protect Superboy's secret identity" stories centering around Lana Lang. So the story goes some crooks think, for the wrong reasons, that Clark Kent is Superboy. Lana, who's supposedly lost her parents and is living with the kindly Kent's, intervenes and creates a super costume, reasoning that if she needs to exhibit some superpowers Superboy will come along and make it look like she's really super powered. Wonder of wonder, he really does that, convincing the crooks that Superboy is really a girl. The crooks try to blackmail Lana, who's been informed her parents are alive, by threatening the Kent's but Superboy uses one of his Clark Kent robots to appear simultaneously with him, totally baffling both the crooks and Lana - and me. Why didn't he just use the Clark Kent robot in the first damn place? I actually think I enjoyed these stories in my youth but now I'm old and cynical and sometimes they seem pretty dumb to me. I guess I do still like them anyway. And what's up with this secret identity business anyway. If somebody finds out Clark is Superboy then put the Kent's in a witness protection-like program, maybe as Ma and Pa Kettle, and go do your super thing anyway. Sheesh - much ado about nothing indeed. The figure by the way was made using a "Happy Meal" Catwoman figure and T-shirt cloth for the cape and skirt.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
So you wake up one morning and pass by the nice display case where you have all your G.I. Joes lined neatly on display and - gasp, one of them has fallen over! Worse yet, it's come apart at the waist!! Now I had assumed that most rabid Joe collectors knew what to do at this point but one revealed to me recently he didn't so I thought I'd put together a little primer on how to fix a Joe. First you will need to visit a hardware store and go to the plumbing department. They have little rubber O-rings in baggies or plastic boxes and you may want to select a couple of sizes. You can also get these online, I see people on ebay selling them, but they're probably charging a lot. Then you will also need a Philips screw driver and a small knife - I prefer ones that aren't too sharp for this. When you have everything assembled take a look at the back of the Joe body and you will see a hole at the bottom of which is a Philips screw. Unscrew it. Then, with the small knife, slip the blade between the joint where the body parts meet and prise them apart. You can now see that the O-ring that was holding your Joe together has broken and is probably brittle. Remove any excess from the little hook the O-ring attaches to. Then take the new O-ring and put it into the hook. Then you need to very carefully take the pelvic section and slip the O-ring up through it and then work the piece down until it settles ontop of the legs. Be very careful with this procedure because if you try to force it the cod-piece at the front of the pelvic section will snap off. I sometimes use my screw driver to hold the O-ring as I work the pelvic section over the hook. Once that is in place take the rear body half and fit the O-ring around the circular section that has the screw hole in it. Then sort of hold the upper body section back, applying some tension to the O-ring and fit the arms into the appropriate places - be careful not to switch the right and left as you're doing this. Then gingerly put the front body half into place and snap them together. I always leave the head as a separate evolution because otherwise you're trying to manage too many parts at once and the thing flies apart. Once you have it together, use the small knife to gently pry the two body parts a little bit apart, just so you can slip the head into place, then snap it back together. At that point all you need to do is screw the Philips screw back into place and your Joe will stand up sturdy and proud again. I hope maybe this helps some of you - I've been many years working out the procedure.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Lana Lang, like Lois Lane afterwards, was always trying to trick Clark Kent into revealing that he was secretly Superboy. She came up with all kinds of tricks to do this, but they seemed never to work. This time, however, she got a little taste of her own medicine. Lana's father, who's an archaeologist, comes home with a strange belt which just happens to fit Lana. Turns out it provides her with some apparent superpowers, like the power of flight and some level of strength and immunity to bullets. So, of course, with the approval of her father, she adopts the identity of Sky-Girl and sallies forth to battle crime alongside the boy of steel. Of course the tables were turned and Superboy and Clark Kent are now sort of hounding Sky-Girl to find out her secret identity, hence the mask by the way, which is made of lead to shield her from Superboy's X-Ray vision. At the end the belt is deemed more dangerous than its worth and Superboy disposes of it but does that teach Lana the error of her ways and make her no longer want to hound the boy of steel about his secret identity? Well, maybe for about fifteen minutes. Sky-Girl was made from a "Happy Meal" Catwoman figure, with the mask sculpted. The skirt and cape are made from T-Shirt material.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I finished up with my roads not taken posts, but my Superboy posts aren't finished yet. I also did Superboy as I first remembered him, back in the 1950's. These are the stories that stuck in my head over the years and I have actually collected some of the comics in later years - never forgiven mom for giving away my comics, but never let her know. Anyway, this was the sort of early teen years of the boy of steel and a lot of the stories dealt with him trying to protect his secret identity from nosy Lana Lang, just like he would grow up to do with Lois Lane. Sometimes the logic of the stories didn't hold up to close scrutiny but then maybe that was half the fun. Sometimes modern comics are so realistic that they leave out the fun part. Anyway, I'm going to do a few more posts concerning the early Superboy's supporting cast over the next few days so be on the look-out. This Superboy was made using the body from a CHIPS Jimmy Squeaks action figure, who has just the right kind of belt, and the head from another GI Joe figure. The cape is from a Toy Biz Superman.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
I don't think any discussion of alternate world super sprouts would be complete without talking about the Super Sons. Making their appearances in a number of issues of World's Finest Comics in the early to mid-1970's, these were the alternate world children of Superman/Clark Kent and Batman/Bruce Wayne. I don't think the identities of their mothers were ever revealed so you can use you imagination for that, but the boys were now in their late teens and coming into their own as crime fighting wanta-be's. Of course the stories addressed a number of teenage angst types of issues, including the dad's being rather heavy handed at times. Just image being backhanded by Superman and picking yourself up on the backside of the moon. There were a number of interesting tales in the Super Sons story lines and I enjoyed them a great deal. Don't think they ever resolved their fates or futures but maybe I just missed it. As for the figures I need to state upfront that I did not sculpt the Batman, Jr. figure. I picked him up in a cheap figure box at a show when he was painted to be like the 1989 Keaton Batman and, since he was the right size, I used him for Batman, Jr. He does look like he was made using a Marvel Secret Wars figure, maybe Wolverine. To make Superman, Jr. compatible I used a Secret Wars Daredevil and mated it with the head from a Star Gate Danny figure. The capes were both made using T-shirt material.