Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Readers' Turn: Discuss Evel Knievel, and Monty Python

Karen: Howdy folks. Here's your chance -if you ever wanted to propose a "Discuss" topic, go right ahead! Typically "Discuss" topics are pretty narrow ones (in the past we've thrown out things like "Discuss the Sub-Mariner" or "Discuss Animal House"). So get it rolling!

Doug: I wanted to break in today and tell you about a book I pre-ordered back in April and received yesterday. It is the very heavy (3.1 pounds!), 600+ page tome Tales of the Batman: Len Wein. The book collects Detective Comics #408, #444-448, #466, #478-479, #500, #514, Batman #307-310, #312-319, #321-324, #326-327,  World's Finest Comics #207, DC Retroactive Batman - The 70s, Untold Legends of the Batman #1-3, and Batman Black and White #5. Amazon's pre-order price was a mere $31. Couldn't pass it up!

But the aspect of the book which our readers might be most interested is the artist credits. Talk about a Hall of Fame! These stories are illustrated by Neal Adams, Dick Dillin, Jim Aparo, Ernie Chua, Marshall Rogers, Irv Novick, Walt Simonson, Don Newton, Dick Giordano, Joe Giella, Vinnie Colletta, and John Byrne (among many others). Wow... A note: there are a few Neal Adams stories that were reprinted previously in the Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams hardcovers. As you may know, Adams recolored all of his work for those books. Those versions are included here, rather than the traditional four-color versions. It's a bit off-putting alongside the many stories reprinted as they originally saw print.

I am in debt to DC for getting all of the Bronze Age Batman goodness compiled in these smart-looking hardcovers. Bravo!


ColinBray said...

How about:

Discuss...Evel Knievel

Anonymous said...

Discuss Monty Python - I understand it's sort of known outside the UK but I don't know how well known. I remember my father couldn't stand it but one night the film 'Monty Python & The Holy Grail' was on TV which we watched and he was chuckling all through it. I only saw 'Life Of Brian' for the first time about ten years ago and I really liked that. As for Evel Knievel - he was well known to us British kids and there was an Evel Knievel toy as I recall.

david_b said...

Ah, GREAT dual topic today..:

Python and Evel Knievel.

I loved the Python series immensely for it's dry wit and spontaneity, but I had trouble for a lot of years watching 'Grail', most likely because it was on late-night television typically and I'd miss some parts. Now that I have it on DVD, it fares much better now but I still strongly prefer 'Life of Brian'. I always enjoy Eric Idle sharing about George Harrison coming in to finance the movie while the cast was in Tunisia filming.., effectively paying the world's highest sum of money for a 'movie ticket'.

(George **really** wanted to see the film.)

I've had a chance to rewatch some of the 'Meaning of Life' movie. Overall it had a 'bloated and overdone' feeling to it and didn't seem all that drop-down funny when I first saw it. But beyond initial expectations, I do enjoy some bits more now, especially the 'Every Sperm is Sacred' number.

Evel..? Nice toyline, made for some exciting sports/daredevil news back in the '70s for my stepdad and I.

Humanbelly said...

Evel was EVERYWHERE in adolescent boy-land in the early/mid 70's wasn't he? And such a strange phenomenon-- 'cause there's no question that it was his many horrific crashes that we were glued to-- as opposed to his successes (jumping over a zillion buses through 12 rings of fire, and so on) which were always hyped frantically by WWofSports, and then of course were over and done in about 2 seconds.

The George Hamilton TV movie biopic has actually stuck with me far more than Evel himself over the years. I remember it closing very inspirationally, looking ahead to his yet-to-be-attempted "dream" of jumping the Grand Canyon. The film naturally benefited from the inclusion of footage of his many awful crashes.

And geeze-- was it the Caeser's Palace jump that was captured head-on in hi-speed slo-mo? That first bounce on his tailbone-- man, that image has never gone away. . .

Hey, and the 10" action figures, with the SSP-style motorcycles? One was Evel. . . and the other was his "sidekick" Bobby-- which made no sense at all even to a kid, 'cause Bobby WAS Evel as a teenager-- they were the same person--.

Yep-- lots of memories to be tickled there. . . !


Abe Lucas said...

Yes, I, too had the Evel Knievel crank-up motorcycle toy. I remember seeing ads for other Evel accessories but never knew anyone who actually had them.

As for Monty Python, I will say that "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" was absolutely hilarious and I loved it. I am a life-long Anglophile right up--or down--to their national football ("soccer") team. However, I only started watching the "Flying Circus" reruns while in high school and while they had several funny moments, I always felt they "knew" how "brilliant" they were and that turned me off of them. That and the fact that their fanatical following could not let a discussion about them--or a mere mention--pass without annoyingly re-enacting and quoting verbatim whole Monty Python sketches.

The Prowler said...

Evel Knievel was a bit of a dick, as you could see in some of his interviews. As a man, he lived so far out of the envelope of what most of us do, that it was hard for us to see him as a real person and, I could imagine, for him to suffer with fools and foolishness. For some of his stunts, he survived them, if not walked away from them. To get that close to the very edge of, what, the limits of technology, science, physics, logic? To be right there where the possible and the impossible meet and just survive that encounter. And know that the only thing that kept you on this side of the veil was you. Imagine, if you will, breaking half of the bones in your body. After that, you get yourself back to a point where you are now a functioning human being again. During an interview, some suit asks you "Did it hurt"? Really, the only answer is "Yes". How do you put that level of pain, of brokenness into words that the average person can even begin to understand? Do that time after time after time and soon you don't even relate to the "average" person anymore.

I really loved Holy Grail. In fact, I am one of those people who quotes that movie. Several of my posts at CF's Peerless site were Python quotes. Some of there sketches left me in a puddle. The soccer match between the peg legged, one eyed pirates and the Catholic abortionists was hilarious. The sketch from the Secret Policeman's Other Ball where they're trying to outdo each other on who worked hardest!!! Classic.

(Are you the gatekeeper?).

Doug said...

Prowler --

That was good. Seriously -- that was a solid analysis of what it must have been like to be Evel Knievel.


ColinBray said...

On Monty Python - apart from the wonderful Life of Brian I was never a big fan.

On Evel Knievel - born in 1970 and growing up in drab 70s London he was the height of American glamour, even if I missed all the TV specials. In fact my first exposure was probably a Marvel comic toy ad.

A couple of years ago I watched a showing of his Wembley appearance in about 1975, with supporting circus performers and all. He crashed his bike at speed and a crowd of hundreds gathered around him preventing the ambulance getting close.

All rather shocking in this safety-conscious era, and a reminder how much has changed. Nonetheless the footage made me feel all 70s fuzzy and warm and I had a strange urge to go and read the original Ghost Rider series...

Garett said...

Monty Python-- I just picked up the dvd set of the tv series. Working my way through it--fantastic! I had seen the movies and liked them long ago, but not much of the tv show till now. What I like is how they shift perspective from one thing to another, surprising us all the way through a show. In contrast, SNL will come up with a sort-of funny premise to a sketch, then run it into the ground.

Anonymous said...

The only Python movie I've seen is "Meaning of Life"; guess I should watch the rest some time.

One of my friends had the Evel Knievel motorbike toy that you pulled and let go. We used to put baseball cards in our bike spokes and build ramps in the back alley, pretending we were Evel (or Fonzie).

Mike W.

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