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Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Evolution of Homo mermanus

By Jack Kirby & Stan Lee. FF & Sub-Mariner © Marvel Comics.

And in colour:


Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Hyborian Age: Chapter Three


Script by Roy Thomas; Art © Walt Simonson; The Hyborian Age and Conan © their current copyright holders.

Read:Chapter One
Chapter Two

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

“THE LIFE & ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS… was the last ANIMAGIC TV Special from RANKIN/BASS and originally aired on CBS in 1985. It is based on a story by FRANK L. BAUM (WIZARD OF OZ) and is well loved by a generation of fans that grew up in the 1980's!”
Think of it as a cross between the classic “Rudolph” and “The Mad Monster Party”. “Adventures” has a lot of cool monsters and weird fantasy creatures, and is definitely cut from a darker cloth than the rest of the Rankin/Bass specials. Which is probably why it is rarely broadcast these days. link

An excerpt from “THE LIFE & ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS” is up on Youtube:

Visit Rankin Bass.com.

Have A Marvelous Christmas!

Sing along with the Merry Marvel Marching Society:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Vaughn Bodé’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Part 5

Back in the 60’s Vaughn Bodé illustrated a number of classics that had been rewritten for “reading challenged” kids. The books were published by Frank E. Richards and sold exclusively to schools.

Because these books are almost impossible to find at reasonable prices I’ll be posting all the illos from the best book of the bunch, “Jules Verne’s ’20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” in eight installments.

Read: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

All art © the estate of Vaughn Bodé

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This Day In History: 1st Full-length Animated Film Premieres

In 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney's first full-length (83 minutes), animated film opened in Los Angeles, California. Using the story adapted from Brothers Grimms' Fairy Tales, it was the first commercially successful film of its kind.

Taking two years and $1.5 million to create, it was released for its premiere during Christmas of 1937. Disney had to mortgage his house to pay for the film's production. This followed within a span of just 12 years since the first black and white talking Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie (1928). link

Mystery Cosmic Explosions

Scientists have discovered what appears to be a new kind of cosmic explosion. They call the explosion a hybrid gamma-ray burst.

As with other gamma-ray bursts, this hybrid burst is likely signalling the birth of a new black hole. It is unclear, however, what kind of object or objects exploded or merged to create the black hole or, perhaps, something even more bizarre. The hybrid burst exhibits properties of the two known classes of gamma-ray bursts yet possesses features that cannot be explained.

Art by Jack Kirby. Galactus © Marvel Comics.
"Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful known explosions in the universe and fall into two categories, long and short. The long bursts last for more than two seconds and appear to be from the core collapse (supernova) of massive stars forming a black hole. The short bursts, under two seconds long and often lasting just a few milliseconds, appear to be caused by the merger of two neutron stars or a neutron star with a black hole, which subsequently creates a new or bigger black hole. The small amount of remaining merger material can only feed the black hole for about a second and hence gives a short period of energy release.

The hybrid burst, called GRB 060614 after the date it was detected, was 1.6 billion light years away in the constellation Indus. The burst lasted for 102 seconds, placing it soundly in long-burst territory. But the burst lacked the hallmark of a supernova, or star explosion, commonly seen shortly after long bursts. link

An enigmatic long-lasting -ray burst not accompanied by a bright supernova. 2006. M. Della Valle et al. Nature Nature 444: 1050-1052.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Monster Shindig

Another treat from the Atomic Surgery Archives...

A tip of the hat to the recently departed Joe Barbara.

Download the Monster Shindig theme song HERE.

Monday, December 18, 2006

How Not To Be Eaten By A Bat

Batgirl © DC Comics (image)

The Yellow Underwing moth changes its sensitivity to a bat's calls when the moth is being chased. And in case there is another attack, the moth's ear remains tuned in for several minutes after the calls stop.

"To date, this phenomenon has not been reported for insects or, in fact, for any other hearing system in the animal kingdom. These findings change our understanding of the co-evolution of bats and moths and have implications for the hearing of many other animals."

It appears that even though moth ears are among the simplest in the insect world – they have only two or four vibration sensitive cells attached to a small eardrum – moths are not as deaf as previously thought.

As a bat gets closer to the moth, both the loudness and frequency (pitch) of the bat's calls increase. Surprisingly, the sensitivity of the moth's ear to the bat's calls also increases. This occurs because the moth's ear dynamically becomes more sensitive to the frequencies that many bats use when attacking moths. link

Keeping up with Bats: Dynamic Auditory Tuning in a Moth

Batgirl's on the case!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Al Williamson's Flash Gordon

Art © Al Williamson; Flash Gordon © King Features Syndicate


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Smash Gordon by Frank Brunner

Art & story © Frank Brunner. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

From the dusty Atomic Surgery Archives comes this strip from the legendaryCastle of Frankenstein” (#12, 1968).

Vaughn Bodé’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Part 4

Back in the 60’s Vaughn Bodé illustrated a number of classics that had been rewritten for “reading challenged” kids. The books were published by Frank E. Richards and sold exclusively to schools.

Because these books are almost impossible to find at reasonable prices I’ll be posting all the illos from the best book of the bunch, “Jules Verne’s ’20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” in eight installments.

Read: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

All art © the estate of Vaughn Bodé

Friday, December 15, 2006

Born This Day: Gustave Eiffel

Dec. 15, 1832 – Dec. 28, 1923

Eiffel was a French civil engineer who specialised in metal structures, known especially for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. His work includes designing the rotatable dome for Nice Observatory on the summit of Mont Gros (1886), and the framework for the Statue of Liberty now in New York Harbour.

After building the Eiffel Tower (1887-9), which he used for scientific research on meteorology, aerodynamics and radio telegraphy, he also built the first aerodynamic laboratory at Auteuil, outside Paris, where he pursued his research work without interruption during WW I.

An Ode To Eiffel:

This Day In History: The Origin of Nylon Stockings

Art © Brian Bolland; Zatanna © DC Comics
On this day in 1939, nylon yarn was sold to hosiery mills to make women's stockings; marking the first use of commercial yarn for apparel. The product of DuPont enabled a record number of ladies' hose to go on sale for the first time in May, 1940. link

Art © Bruce Timm; Black Canary © DC Comics

Thursday, December 14, 2006

On This Day: Quantum Physics Announced

In 1900, German physicist Max Planck made public his ideas on quantum physics at a meeting of the German Physics Society, revolutionizing scientists' understanding of physics.

Planck demonstrated that in certain situations energy exhibits characteristics of physical matter, something unthinkable at the time. He suggested the explanation energy exists in discrete packets, which he called "quanta." link

Sun Boy and Quantum Queen © DC Comics

Hell Is On Venus

Thanks to ESA’s Venus Express data, scientists obtained the first large-area temperature maps of the southern hemisphere of the inhospitable, lead-melting surface of Venus.

Temperature maps of Venus’ surface
The new data may help with searching and identifying ‘hot spots’ on the surface, considered to be possible signs of active volcanism on the planet.

Surface areas mapped by VIRTIS

To obtain this fundamental information about the surface temperature, VIRTIS made use of the so-called infrared spectral 'windows’ present in the Venusian atmosphere. Through these ‘windows’ thermal radiation at specific wavelengths can leak from the deepest atmospheric layers, pass through the dense cloud curtain situated at about 60 kilometres altitude, and then escape to space, where it can be detected by instruments like VIRTIS. In this way VIRTIS succeeded in looking through the thick carbon dioxide curtain surrounding Venus and detected the heat directly emitted by the hot rocks on the ground. On Venus there are no day and night variations of the surface temperature. The heat is globally 'trapped' under the carbon-dioxide atmosphere, with pressure 90 times higher than on Earth. Instead, the main temperature variation is due to topography. On Venus 'cold' means 447º C, while 'warm' means 477º C. Such high temperatures are caused by the strongest greenhouse effect found in the Solar System. link

Where is Robot Hell?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Frank Cho's Monkey Man

Frank's old syndicate reran this old Liberty Meadows strip this weekend. It's always nice to see a drop of real art on the comic pages again, even if it is digital format.