Sunday, July 28, 2013

Super-Team Family Sunday #1

If you love comics and mash-ups you may already be familiar with Ross Pearsall's blog Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues!  If not, enjoy this pic and be sure to check out his page for more!

Ross said..."Hawkeye's first mini-series back in 1983 was a great read.  It was the first time I had ever seen the Avenging Archer in his own title and  I wondered what took so long for him to get his shot. It was a fun story with real repercussions and beautiful Brett Breeding artwork.  I thought it would be cool to see Hawkeye team up with Ted Kord - they are both non powered heroes who can nevertheless fit in with the big guys due to their skills and tenacity."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Answer Is Alchemy!

Set your Way Back Machine, TARDIS or other method of time travel to June of 1986* when the team of Len Wein, Paris Cullins and Bruce Patterson brought us Blue Beetle #4! "The Beetle Battles An Ancient Evil...The Elemental Madness Of Doctor Alchemy!"

When we last left our hero, Kord Inc's headquarters was under attack by the Madmen and Docor Alchemy had just burst onto the scene! As the two begin to tussle though, we learn BB has never heard of the bad Doctor. "Apparently, my name hasn't spread much beyond Central City..." the villain replies. We also learn that Doctor Alchemy came to Kord Inc to merge his Philosopher's Stone with the prometeum, and, after dropping it during their fight, that the stone won't work for him unless he's holding it. After a few more punches Alchemy manages to escape through a window after turning a lab table into a helium filled getaway vehicle!

Elsewhere, Angela (the theiving receptionist) surveys the damage and helps untie Jeremiah and Melody while Officer Fisher rounds up the remaining Madmen. In the meantime Ted gets out of costume and back into his civilian clothes, and just in time too! Fisher barges back into Ted's office to throw more accusations about our hero's involvement in Dan's death and promises he'll get the answers he's looking for one way or another!

Back on Pago Island, a humming noise from deep within the rocks gets the attention of Conrad Carapax...but that's all we get of this particular sub-plot for now.

In Chicago, Alchemy takes of his hood and hangs out in his seedy hotel room pondering the power he has at his fingertips. The only problem? He realizes now that he has to hold the stone for it to work. So...what's a villain to do? "I simply must become the stone!" And, so, he wills the stones power into himself, but quickly finds it's more than he's prepared for...more power than he can control!

Ted takes a few moments to chat with Melody about love and marriage, and with Jeremiah about getting beat on by thugs, before popping by the lab. Takamoto is up in arms about the prometheum being stolen, until Calhoun assures them he only got away with a small piece. That's when they get word that an out of control Doctor Alchemy has just attacked STAR Labs. Ted slips out of sight and into some blue tights before hopping in the BUG to save the day.

The incident at STAR Labs is being covered by the media...but not just anyone, it's Vic Sage. Alchemy is running wild, turning various members of STAR Labs security into elemental statues, but Ted starts to figure out that the power of the prometheum is killing him...until in one big "POUF!"  Alchemy really does get what he wanted and literally becomes the stone. Outside Sage questions** Takamoto about what happened. We don't know if Alchemy is alive or dead, but STAR is ready to work on curing him. Blue Beetle gets credit for defeating the villain and compared to the Lone Ranger. But when Sage asks if Takamoto can help him get an interview with the scarab superhero he finds that BB doesn't tend to stick around long enough to chitchat...

This was another solid issue! The pacing is quick and fun (even if somethings are handled too quickly, like the Pago island drive-by) and the art is great! I've always thought Kevin Maguire did some of the best facial expressions in these early issues of Blue Beetle I'm recognizing just how good Paris Cullins is too! Shock, surprise, malice...he can do it all!

* The issue is cover dated September 1986, but Mike's Amazing World Of Comics lets us know it actually hit the shelves June 12, 1986!

** see what I did there? Questions...get it?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Classic Blue Beetle Advertising #1

Here's a fun Charlton Comics ad featuring the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle. Of course I was also familiar with Captain Atom and Tarzan, and I knew Sarge Steel from appearances in DC comics, like the late 80's "Suicide Squad", "Vulcan" showed up in DC along with the other Charlton heroes...but I had to look up "The Fightin' 5". Apparently they were a counter-terrorism team from the Cold War era.
It's a cool add...though I can't help but think it could have been better if they'd used full body or action shots versus logos and heads in bubbles for half the page.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What the Kaji Cosplay?!

Way back in March, not long after I started this blog, I attended MegaCon in Florida. While there I caught a pic of this Blue and Gold duo!

Flash forward to a few days ago and I get a message through the Kord Industries Facebook page from Rusty Winns, the Blue Beetle cosplayer in my pic! (Booster is his friend Jay Tallsquall) He was kind enough to share several other Blue Beetle cosplay pics with us...

I was curious, so I asked Rusty, what got him into cosplay? 
Rusty: My workout buddy was a member of 300DC a group that costumes as the Spartans from 300. He asked me if I would like to join him at Dragon Con. From then on I was hooked. I am also a member of Costumers with a Cause. it is a group of us that use our costumes to brighten sick kids days. 

That's awesome! A real hero! We'll have to talk again soon about that charity work! The next question has to be...why Blue Beetle?

Rusty: I have always been a DC fan. I read them growing up. When Crisis came out in the 80s they introduced Blue Beetle. I was hooked. I mean whats not to love?  A wise cracking, light hearted Batman.  As soon as his solo book was launched I rushed to the comic store to get it. I have been reading anything that contains Ted ever since. 

Check out Rusty on Facebook
Click here to check out Costumers With A Cause 
And "like" his Ted Kord-Blue Beetle page too!

(Rusty and Jay with the great George Perez!)

(with Echo Redbird as Gypsy)

(and with Caroline Kilgore as Barbra Gorgon/Oracle)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blue Beetle #15 (vol 1)

So after Wednesday's WWII/monster themed post I felt like it was time for another classic Dan Garret adventure! Here's the story "The Bloodless Bodies" from 1942's Blue Beetle #15...and as a special bonus, it has BB's kid sidekick, Sparky!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

World War What The Kaji Dha

I've been enjoying the idea of using my "What The Kaji Dha Wednesdays" to blog about things outside the scope of our usual Blue Beetle topics...Firestorm, Scooby Doo, WWII soldiers who battle Nazis and monsters...what the Kaji Dha?!

Rob Kelly over at the Aquaman Shrine and Dan O'Connor have a great web comic called "Ace Kilroy", about a soldier called on by FDR to fight a terrible menace...the Nazis are dabbling in the occult, vamprism, and...Dracula! The "first mission" of the web comic was also collected into a great print version via a Kickstarter pitch. I came late to that particular party but in an incredible sequence of events*, still managed to get my hands on a copy...signed by Rob himself! It was a page turning blast! 

Well, the "second mission" is now heading to print, Ace versus Frankenstein AND the Wolfman!

And guess what? There's a new Kickstarter project to support it! This time I got into the party early enough to get some of the cool bonuses too! (A custom Mego-style figure is one of them! How sweet is that?)**

So, if you like war comics, monster comics, action, adventure...or if you just want to support a friend of Kord Industries...check it out! You'll be glad you did!

*(Ok, not so incredible...I ran into Rob at the Baltimore Comic-Con after sending him pics of my Aquaman collection to post on his blog...but still, I got me a copy!)

**(memo to self...look into making custom Mego-style Blue Beetles)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

50th Blog Post: Paris Cullins Interview!

This is the 50th blog post here at Kord Industries, and when I thought of ways I could make this special I decided to try to get an interview with one of my favorite artists...Paris Cullins!

We had a great chat, in which we talked about, among other things, how a background gymnastics and wrestling helped him visualize and layout fights on the page, the highs and lows of Star Wars, and which countries provide the highest traffic to this blog outside the US. (We were both pleasantly surprised by the fact that Germany and Russia round out the top 3 traffic sources!)

So without further ado...I present Kord Industries interview with the one and only Paris Cullins!

Kord Industries: Thank you very much for talking with us! In prepartion I was glancing at your credits on and I was surprised to see a lot of horror titles listed. I even went back into my collection and found some of your stuff on "I...Vampire", wow! Are you a fan of the genre? What's your all time favorite horror film?
Paris Cullins: Yeah, I’m a big fan! In comics Charlton’s the “Bloody Mermaid”(Ghostly Tales #91 ) stands out as an early influence. At DC, early on, I was in the practice program doing stories for "Ghosts", "I…Vampire", "House of Mystery"…as far as favorite movies…"Hellraiser"! That movie was like Edgar Allen Poe for the 90’s! The book was good, more clinical, but the movie? You saw what changed her…it was Frank! Opened up an emotional door you can’t close and she changed! She became the monster!
KI: It looks like the majority of your work has been with DC, but you have worked with some other companies as well. What goes into your decisions about which publisher to work with?
PC: I worked for Harvey on “Hot Stuff”, Archie, Nintendo, MTV…In my head they all had a style, everyone has a style and that’s the way you look at it. At DC, if I wasn’t working on a regular title I’d work on special projects, style guides, products like Super Powers, commercial work…that pays more than the average book sometimes.

(Blue Beetle, drawn by Paris Cullins and colored by Tim Wallace. Oh...hey! That's me!)

KI: Since this is a Blue Beetle blog, tell us about your work on that book. How’d you get that assignment? Where you already familiar with the character?
PC: The first collected comic I had was Blue Beetle! My mom was a collector and 1968…for Christmas, she gave me a collection she bought, it had like 8 issues of Blue Beetle, a couple issues of Captain Atom, some Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt…so when I was at DC and Crisis had that shot of Blue Beetle fighting Chemo, that drove requests! They wanted a Blue Beetle comic in like 2 weeks, so Len (Wein) wrote the story and in 2 weeks we were done and running to keep up! We never got to tell the story we wanted to, the origin, because we were always running and then there events like Legends and all…he’s this guy, 19-20 years old, with hormones and all, and he’s willing to close himself away and build all this…it does something. He was like Short Round to Dan Garrett’s Indiana Jones, this archeological assistant…we wanted to work on that, but never got the chance to follow up…
(Captain Atom, The Question and Blue Beetle, by Paris Cullins)
KI: One of the things I loved about your work on books like Blue Beetle and Blue Devil was your style. It always struck me as a perfect blend of comic art and what I believed were influences from animation. How did you develop that style?
PC: My work on Blue Devil came out of the 80’s manga craze, but it’s not just that, it’s a lot of things! Animation, stuff like Hanna Barbera, Space Ghost, The Galaxy Trio, Samson and Goliath, that Alex Toth stuff, Kirby, there’s Kirby in there and Ditko. Some strange Ditko connections with me actually…Ditko was supposed to draw Blue Devil, but he passed, so I got it! Then one night I’m in McDonalds at 2:00am trying to finishes pages of Blue Beetle to make a deadline and this guy walks over to see what I’m doing, and I recognized him right away! He says “Hey, that’s the Blue Beetle. Who’s drawing that now?” and I said “Some guy named Steve Ditko” then introduced myself.
KI: What are the odds of that happening? Must have been awesome! So, this provides a good lead into my next you find yourself torn as a creator when characters you've worked on have changed, or as a fan do you enjoy seeing what someone else comes up with?

PC: Something like Blue Devil, it’s not about science, or sorcery or Hollywood…it was about all 3! That comic was supposed to be fun, this guy should enjoy himself, and he does…but it wasn’t the same after we left, it just wasn’t what I would buy, not what I want in my books.
KI: You did a lot of work on DC’s Who’s Who books too, including some great covers! How did that come about? Did you choose the characters you worked on or were they assigned?
PC: I did a lot of layouts for covers, for guys like Dave Gibbons, Green Lantern covers, Atari Force, Vigilante, Wonder Woman, DC Presents…I’m not going to name the artist, but someone didn’t finish a job and they needed 18 pages done in a day! I was in the corrections office, Marvel calls it something else, but at DC it was corrections, and Len comes in and says they need 18 pages of Justice League, they didn’t care how, they just needed it…so I went home, worked on it all night, in the morning, on the train…from then on, if they needed something, they called me!

KI: What are you working on now?
PC: Right now I'm doing a couple things..."The New Devil" with Gary Cohn (co-creator of Blue Devil)...we're out to make something like Blue Devil, but better! It looks like that may turn up in Heavy Metal. I have "Marcus Arena", "Monsta Deacon", I'm doing pinups and interiors for "Bronx Heroes" and some Blue Beetle and Blue Devil fanfiction too!
(Marcus Arena!)

KI: WOW! Well I hope there's a chance we can run that here at Kord Industries! Last question...if your work on Blue Beetle had been adapted into a TV series in the 80’s, who would you have cast in the role of Ted Kord? 

PC: Actually, for Blue Devil, we used…you remember that show about the stunt man? "The Fall Guy", we used Lee Majors, and Scott Bakula. Sort of a combination of them. And for Blue Beetle, it was Bruce Boxleitner and Tom Hanks!

KI: Thanks Paris! This really has been great and I hope we can do it again!

So there you have it...and he was kind enough to leave the door open to future chats, and maybe even some special stuff for Kord Industries (like that fanfiction he mentioned!)

Check him out on Facebook and at Wordpress (they're clickable!)

Thanks again to the amazing Paris Cullins, and thanks to all you Beetlemaniacs for continuing to come back and enjoy the blog!