Archive for the Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines Category


Posted in Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Rapidshare Link, Robert Crumb on October 26, 2011 by Bill Courtney
 I don’t really follow what is up with comic books now that I am in China and the whole comic book culture here does not exist really except for a few small shops that carry some of the Manga type stuff from Japan, which I really never have cared too much for despite my efforts. I do follow a few people still and read on comic book history more now that there is so much information available online. Like my movies most of my comic book taste is old school and you can’t get much more old school than Robert Crumb. In 2009 he finished up perhaps his most daunting single project of his prolific career with his cartoon retelling of one of the most famous books of all time, the Book of Genesis from The Bible. He spent more than four years on the project and kept to the original text for inspiration. Not sure if any particular translation was preferred but all fifty books are there and has all the great stories that even non-Christians should know and have some regard for. The drawings are the things of course and they never wane or weaken as the book goes on. This guy can still draw circles in his sleep (if he ever sleeps) around the formula fan boy stuff that permeates the comic book world these days. Just plain old fashioned, painstakingly good artwork. Included here are a few samples and a Rapidshare link to my RS site for those with no guilt or shame about getting stuff for free even if is stuff form The Bible. It is a massive work and so I had to break it up into three files. 




Posted in Barry Windsor Smith, Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Conan, Rapidshare Link on September 22, 2011 by Bill Courtney

When I first started buying comic books it was about 1970 or so and like any good boy of the time I gravitated towards the Marvel titles. Other than Batman and the mystery/horror titles I never had much to do the DC comic books of the time unless they were drawn by Neil Adams. But I must have bought nearly every Marvel title during a period of about three or four years there. If there was one artist I had to choose out of all the great ones I admired that stood out from the pack it would have to be Barry Smith (later Barry Windsor Smith). His early work, and even the first couple issues of Conan, seemed pretty derivative of Jack Kirby and that would be an uncommon thing for the time. Even the great Jim Steranko was nothing but a Kirby clone for the longest time. But, In my opinion, by issue three of Conan the Barbarian he was finding his own direction and as the series progressed he would be drawing in a style that simply no one was working with or had prior to him in the mainstream comic book field. I always had some reservations about Sal Buscema’s (John’s younger brother) inks over Smith’s pencils but even those improved as well over time so that the pair turned out some of the best work done by Marvel at the time, or any time to be honest. Marvel branched out into the b/w magazine field and one title was Savage Sword of Conan, which featured two of Smith’s best works; The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Red Nails, both rendered entirely by Smith. Both were a couple of the best adaptations of the Robert E. Howard hero ever put to pen and paper.

Smith would have a long and convoluted career that involved a breaking away from Marvel and its cooperate power structure and, among other things, a venture in a period of artwork  that he and pals Bernie Wrightson,  the late Jeff Jones and Michael Kaluta, termed New Romanticism. The work from this period was anything but comic book art for Smith. He would continue to work for mainstream publishers and his story is too complex to get into in this little brief intro. But much of his career and private life would be chronicled in the books Opus I and II, along with choice samples of some of his best work. I put together two Rapidshare files. One features the complete Red Nails story (thanks to the Groove Agent over at the culturally significant Diversions of the Groovy Kind for sending me the jpegs to work with) and both Opus books. I had considered putting up all the Conan the Barbarians books as well that I have here but figured I can do that another day if there is any interest shown in these items. The files are CBR and you will need a reader like the free CDisplay to view them. These are simply mind boggling books. If even one person wants the Smith Conan comics from Marvel I will get working on a file for that.



Posted in Cheesecake and Femme Fatales, Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Cowboys and Desperados, Rafael Gallur on September 21, 2011 by Bill Courtney
Much like Oscar Bazaldua, whose work was featured here a while back, Rafael Gallur is know mostly for his work in the area of Mexican Ghetto Librettos, or Sensacionales, comics. The emphasis in these comics is on sex and violence and the drawing are typically over the top and graphic. Unlike Bazaldua however Gallur demonstrates a degree of restraint in his drawings in the areas of explicit violence and sexual posings of the subjects. The drawings are still pretty erotic but not as unnervingly so as in the works of Bazaldua and other pulp style Mexican illustrators. The drawings here are simply a bit more heroic in context than the drawings I presented before. There is still the politically incorrect chauvinistic atmosphere that may offend some people with larger than life muy macho men looming over scantily clad females who are often presented in some compromising position or another. The women themselves appear tough and dangerous but they are still frail compared to the male characters who all seem fairly lethal. Almost all of the drawings here are western themes and are finely detailed and rendered. I am not sure if he is working alone here or with somebody else helping with coloring chores and if anybody has more info I will pass that on in a future post. The drawings seem to show more of an influence from American pinup and magazine cover art than some of the other Ghetto Librettos drawings I have seen but the liberal use of vivid primary colors and lurid subject matter is something that you just don’t see that much of north of the border. I have not seen the inside of one of these magazines and if anybody has scans of the interior work I would love to see them. I used to live in San Antonio Texas but to be honest I never saw anything like this there, and now I am in China and it is simply impossible to find western comic books of any sort here. Spiderman is subversive enough here.


Posted in Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Oscar Balzaldua on July 21, 2011 by Bill Courtney
When I say that these covers from Mexican comic book magazines are outrageous I am it is at best an understatement. Most (if not all) of he covers I posted here are drawn by illustrator Oscar Bazaldua who seems to be the reigning king of this type of artwork. I tried to find a few samples of the interior artwork but I really could not find much. If anyone knows of a link where I can see samples of the b/w drawing on the inside please send that to me. I would be much indebted to you. Also not a lot of information on these titles is available with a superficial investigation and I will see what I can dig up when I do a follow up post to this one since I have some many cover samples. Depending on your outlook on things these are simply vulgar and disgusting or they are actually a little funny, in the same way that the old Eerie Publications covers were a little funny. The themes here, as far as I can make out, are not so much horror as they are macho adventure stories and sexual escapades. The male characters are ruthless and gun toting as are the females ones, but the females tend to scantily clad and smoldering to the point of being untouchable. The violence is graphic and exaggerated and consistently over the top.

For example one of the first two covers, Realtos de Presdidio, – which contains some of the most violent cover artwork by Bazaldua – simply shows some dead guy who has flown through a windshield in graphic detail. Nothing more than that. Opening up the article –where the best stuff is hidden away- are twp more Realto de Presidio covers that are more typical of Bazaldua’s approach. One is common theme on some of the covers and shows a macho guy who appears to part of some drug cartel blowing out the brains of some guy who is haplessly crawling away on the floor. The guys getting blasted in these types of covers usually look defenseless and frightened. Draped over him is a dead woman with blood censoring her nipples. Thank god for that, wouldn’t want to see any nipples here and be corrupted. The cover next to that has some guy serenading and fondling a buxom gal while they sit over yet another dead guy with his brains all over the floor. But the next cover for Champeadoras is really the freakiest of the lot and worthy of reviving Frued’s dark theories about what is buried in a man’s psyche. Or what is buried in a woman’s toilet bowel I guess is more accurate. The covers only get more extreme in content and execution. They are drawn and colored in a realistic style that only makes them all the more shocking and grotesque. Probably more of these cover –and maybe some interior artwork- coming in the future once I can find out a little more about the books and the people who create them.


Posted in Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Nazis on July 8, 2011 by Bill Courtney
I was going to do a longer article for this post but decided I would save that for another day. As my research source I would be using the huge volume from Taschen Books called Men’s Adventures which recounts a pretty thorough history of the men’s “true story” action magazines of, primarily, the 60’s. I want to get into these a little more deeply than my energy level will allow me to right now and so I thought I would introduce some of these outlandish titles covers for your viewing pleasure and save the deeper analysis for next time. In there will be a next time since I love this stuff so much and material is all over the net right pandering this material, and it should be pandered. While I have to say as a kid I can’t recall reading any of the stories on the inside of the mags despite the catchy blurbs on the covers I have always been devilishly hypnotized by the often lurid cover art by illustrators like Mort Kunstler, Norman Saunders and Gil Cohen. The themes were simply over the top most of the time and the artistic rendering was typically superb. Nothing like this has been going on since the feminist movements of the 70’s I guess. I am no social analyst but there seems to be a correlation between the time bras started getting burned and these beefy types of mags began disappearing.

The theme for the covers I selected for this post are around Nazis.  Mainly Nazi’s torturing white girls in various insidious methods. And when I say insidious that is just what I mean. These weren’t your fun loving Nazis that you would find at your average concentration camp following some sort of protocol. These were your loose canon type Nazis who did as they damned well pleased and when they did do something they wanted it was to full bodied white girls who were all tied up and hapless. I mean, one cover they have actually turned monkeys with serrated knives loose on some gals, girls get roasted alive on a couple others while on another cover a lass is branded with a swastika while her companions look in from their cage and wait their turns. Only one of these covers has the good white guy sneaking up behind the damsel’s  wretched captors. This was common on many of these covers and he may have a gun, or a knife or maybe just his bare hands. But somehow you imagine the girl will be okay. I assume no good white guy sneaking up from behind in the dungeon means the girl’s fate is sealed. The covers are often nihilistic in this sense, but still a lot of fun. I have always felt nihilism was an underrated form of entertainment. And you have to love some of those article titles. Simply priceless.

For a great blog on this subject check out Men’s Adventure Magazines 



Posted in Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Japanese Films on July 8, 2011 by Bill Courtney
2000/Director: Higuchinsky/Writers: Junji Ito (manga), Kengo Kaji (supervising screenwriter)
Cast: Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, Eun-Kyung Shin, Keiko Takahashi, Ren Osugi
I think I have mentioned in a few previous posts about my ambivalence towards more modern Japanese (and Asian in general, though I consider Japan to be yardstick by which the rest of Asian cultures is measured, for better or worse) horror films, or cinema in general. Which rare exceptions I find most of it wanting and I much prefer the Japanese cinema prior to about 1970. Uzumaki is for me one the exceptions. I had long put off watching this movie for one reason or another, but it was on my list of films to see before I died so I finally popped it in the DVD player and was pleased with the results, though it is a far from perfect horror film. I got the BT from and was surprised to the find the entire manga comic series by Junji Ito included. I included, free of charge, a few pages for readers to check out. To honest I had no ideas this was based on a comic book unit I opened the folder. But like the film I was pleased with the story and art which I glanced over. I tend to not like the goofy looking fairy like characters that adorn the majority of manga comics and I felt the drawing in Junji Ito’s story to look more like the b/w independent stuff coming out of the US from places like Fantagraphic books.

The story takes place in the small Japanese city of Kurouzu which has come under the curse of evil spirals (or vortexs as they are called in the translation). It is not clear why the town is cursed but soon schoolgirl Kirie and her childhood boyfriend Shuichi are at the center of the escalating nightmare. Kirie finds Shuichi’s father absorbed in filming the spiral aptterns on a snails back one day on the way home from school. Soon there is a suicide at the school when a boy leaps from the top of a very high spiral staircase, landing at the bottom with blood and brains splattered everywhere. Things get more and more out of control as Shuichi’s father loses his mind under the influence of the vortex curse, one night almost losing control when there are no more spiral patterned naturo fish rolls in his miso soup. He convinces Kirie’s father, a pottery maker, that the vortex is the highest form of art and asks him to design a vortex patterned plate. Soon Kirie’s father is pulled into the curse. The situation at home is not the only concerns since at school students are turning into snails and having their hair grow out into elaborate spiral like designs the size of trees. The spiral (vortexs… it really bothers me how these films are translated at times. The term spiral is never once used though sometimes it is the better word to use. We do not say a “votex staircase”) motif appears all over the film, though not as frequently as in the comic book story. Eventually even the dark clouds in the sky assume a menacing spiral pattern.

Shuichi’s father eventually decides he wants to become a vortex himself. What better way to achieve this than to crawl into the washing machine and click it on. His mother winds up in the hospital in despair and she soon clips off all her hair as to eliminate any spiral designs. Soon she realizes her finger prints are spirals and…well… you can guess the rest right? She kills herself after a centipede tries to slither down her ear and soon her dead husband is calling to her from the other side, where there are perfect vortexes. Shichi himself gets all tied in knots, literally, and in the last scenes we see the towns people all under the effects of the vortex curse, except for Kirie. One memorable scene as her stalker admirer throw himself under a moving car so she will always remember him and he gets all twisted around the wheel and rim. The film ends with unanswered questions but most movies like this do. The comic book seemed to go off into other directions, such as many of the town’s folk turning into dangerous zombie like creatures. While some people in the film appear “zombiefied” they never collect together and terrorize Kirie as they do in the manga story. The film is shot using a greenish hue and it looks eerie. The music score is good and the acting above average. There are no gratuitous school girl panty shots and no sex, which is actually a relief and gives this Japanese shocker a boost in the credibility department. So many newer Japanese horror films are of the Pinku Eiga style, which is simply softcore porn with a few mutilations thrown in to balance things out. Nothing like seeing a young naked Japanese school girl in one scene and then a disemboweled, blood drenched one in the next to push all the borderline personalities watching right over the edge. I thought the film was creepy and well made and the effects and photography are pretty good for this style of movie. If you can get the comic book, if that is your bag, as I think it is actually a better story.



Posted in Aleister Crowley, Anton Szandor Lavey, Comic Books-Magazines-Fanzines, Satan on July 1, 2011 by Bill Courtney

I am sure the topics of my blog will attract a few readers old enough to remember the good ol’ days when mixing up topics like sex and Satanism in a magazine was a pretty fun and cool thing to do. This would have been long before the bogus “Satanic panic” craze of the late 80’s when almost everybody knew one person – I knew two myself- who had reclaimed memories –through the assistance of a hypnotist or hidden-memory therapist- of satanic ritual abuse as a child. I was never that lucky myself and I never actually saw any of these outrageous magazines as a kid. I did see a few of the “weasels ripped my flesh” type mags and rest assured you will be seeing covers from those soon enough here. These books seem to be riding on the wave of the “Satan is cool” period in western culture at the end of the 60’s and into the early 70’s. People like Aleister Crowley found a new generation of followers who felt drawn to his Do What Thou Wilt credo and they had no issues interpreting that in any way that suited them in the days of free love and cheap but potent LSD. Anton Zandor Lavey had a n actual church –painted in eye catching black- in San Francisco – and even penned a quaint little tome, not found on many coffee tables, called The Satanic Bible. Satan was everywhere it seemed. The obvious progression of events would seem to be, then, Satanic porn. Well, it would to me anyway.
Now a couple of these magazines just look like some of the typical softcore porn mags of the period that, probably, contained mostly b/w pictures with covered pubic hair on the inside. But now any book with the title Bitchcraft is pushing the envelope for the time. The covers for Bithcraft also have some staged –I assume- Satanic rituals while other covers like Satan –with an old picture of Bettie Page wrapped up a fur coat- seem to be fairly tame looking and the devil is drawn as a sort of Playboy Bunny type mascot. The Pagan books show what happens to good white girls who dabble in the practices of far eastern religions and the cover for Knight looks like a scene from a Jean Rollins film. Who could argue that this was surely the funnest time in history for Satan and his minions? Movies like Rosemary’s Baby and Race with the Devil sold tickets and girlie books like Satana were tucked under some guy’s mattress somewhere. Okay, maybe that guy later turned into the Son of Sam but you can’t let the extreme examples ruin a good thing.