Longbox Archeology 7/27/13

Longbox Archeology

Longbox Archeology is a continuing series of photo essays that feature the unique, rare, and amazing comic book treasures that are excavated from the comic shops, flea markets and yard sales across our great land.

Here in Carbondale, there are two places to go and dig around back issues. One of the places, Castle Perilous, isn’t really a comic shop, but a gaming store that holds Magic the Gathering, D&D and various other table top games and tournaments. They do sell new comics, and have a nice little room to the side that holds all of the back issues. The main comic shop, Campus Comics, has a very impressive back issue collection that I spend hours at a time going through. On this particular day i visited both places, and came home successful and had quenched my nerd thirst.

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We will start with the best find first, FF #173 and #175. As a Galactus freak, i would say that any comic with him on the cover is worth owning, but on a FF cover from 1976? Hard to believe they were even in the 75 cent box, already bagged a boarded, the tape on the back so old it was disintegrating and turning into muck.  Yep, 75 cents. Superior find.

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Here is a nice trio of hulk comics that not only span 3 different eras for the comic and character, but hold 3 different levels of satisfaction for me now that i possess them.  The earliest one, Hulk #272 from 1982, has an incredible cover design that shows off the  different sizes of the characters, Hulk, Wendigo and Sasquatch. My friend in Jr. high owned this and it was always an object of envy, until now. The second one, Hulk #327 from 1987, was also a very sought out issue for myself. I had been collecting  Hulk for a few years and never missed an issue, until one fateful month this issue wasn’t shipped to the grocery store by my house, the only place in my small town that had comics. For years I anguished over this. Now, as an adult, I have filled in that missing hole and I finally know how Thunderbolt Ross was manipulated into becoming Zzzax. I can die happy now. The third issue, Hulk #350 from 1988, came out about 2 months after I lost interest in comics as a kid and stopped collecting. At age 14 I was ready to move on to bigger and better things, like Boone’s Farm and talking about who finger-banged who in the back of the bus. I remember seeing it on the rack in the grocery store and thinking “I wonder why the Hulk is fighting the Thing and Dr. Doom this month ?” The thought left my mind quickly as I rode off on my mountain bike to go buy the new Poison album.

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Somewhere along the line someone thought it would be cool to have a mutant witch and an and an android fall in love and get married. This 12 issue limited series was telling the story of their exit from being superheros and their honeymoon. Of course, shenanigans happened like they always do. I had 3 of the 12 issues as a kid, and as somewhat of a completest, i will always pick up the missing issues if I see them cheap (these were 75 cents). In the conclusion of this series it is discovered that Vision, the android, has gotten the witch preggers. They had twins, but years later John Byrne thought this was stupid and rewrote the whole thing, saying that the children were created subconsciously by the Scarlet Witch’s deranged mind.

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Aaaaahhh comics. In the end, the Vision, one of the patron saints here at Laughing Android, was very sad his synthetic boys didn’t swim after all.

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This was one of the most odd, unique and surprising finds of the day. In 1982 Marvel and DC decided to put their differences on hold and go for a cash grab together. I remember seeing this advertised as a kid and thinking…hmmm…that looks kind of cool I guess, and then never thinking about it again. The Walt Simonson art is beautiful, and though I have yet to read this, I’m sure the long time X-Men writer Chris Claremont came up with some plausible and interesting explanation why this needed to exist. Something to take note of…this is right before wolverine exploded in popularity and was every comic book fan’s new favorite character. Notice how Wolverine is basically hidden on the back cover, his image very small, following everyone else is some half-assed trot, and “I Like short shorts” ROBIN is featured on the front cover in a full blown sprint. This would never happen today. EVER.

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Finally, here are the last 2 gems of the day. Let’s start with Daredevil #163 from 1980 first. this is a pretty iconic cover, and the copy is in excellent shape, so I shelled out 5 bucks for this. The story is great as well, this is during the early stages of Frank Miller’s legendary run on the character (before he went totally insane). At this stage in the run he hadn’t really hit his stride yet with the Electra/Bullseye arc, so most of these early issues were one and done stories, like this one. Basically, Daredevil and Hulk fight the whole issue while the Hulk tries to tell his opponent that he just wants to be left alone. Of course, Daredevil is too blind to see that. (Get it? Too Blind? OK let’s move on).

The Iron-Man issue, #178 from 1984, is during the famous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline where tony Stark lets his alcoholism get the best of him, and gives up being Iron-Man. there have always been rumors that they would adapt this storyline into a script for one of his movies, but we haven’t seen it yet. Maybe too dark for the kids. Anyway, “Iron-Man” isn’t even in this issue, Just a hungover Tony Stark laying around in a New York gutter, wearing a urine soiled, ripped up tuxedo, feeling sorry for himself. Now that’s comic magic at its best. One last thing to note, the New York cops are total dicks in this issue. They walk by him in the gutter and say “He makes them sick” and he is “Worthless”. Of course a cop would never do anything like that, I’m sure they were using reverse psychology……or something.

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Damn kids, stay away from the Boone’s Farm.

And that concludes this episode of Longbox Archeology. I will always leave you with a piece of good old 70’s and 80’s comic book advertising. Mahallo.

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ON VIDEOCASSETTE!!!!!!!!!!

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PDX LP: Crossroads Diggin’

The record hunt was hot and heavy these last couple weeks. I’ve had some great luck and some sweet scores.

First up are some recent high-lites from a bit of rummaging I did at Crossroads here in Portland. These first two I found buried in a box on the floor in the back of the store…$2 each. Unbelievable.

Out Hud/!!! – Lab Series Vol. 2 (1999, Gold Standard Laboratories)

“Dance Punk” is not a term that gets used too much anymore, particularly in indie circles. CAN, A Certain Ratio, Liquid Liquid, and ESG will always be cool. We just forgot for awhile in the wake of late 90’s rape rock and Brit rock. And after awesome, turn-of-the-century Williamsburg bands reminded us to get into the groove, shitty mall punk groups co-opted the idea in the mid 00’s and killed the term for good.

I think one other contributing factor is the fact that the influence of EDM, and dance music in general, has become so thoroughly pervasive and accepted it is now the norm. Its not novelty for guitar based bands to incorporate these elements anymore. It comes standard. In 1999 though, it didn’t.

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This is the first wider available release from !!! (chk chk chk) and Out Hud, a split 12″ showcasing both bands, who shared more than a couple members. The Out Hud tracks (3) are subdued and spacey. Nice enough, but nothing mind blowing. However,  the !!! side is RAW. “Instinct” is what you love about !!!: extended jams, heavy on rhythm, slicing trebled out funky guitars, buried attitude filled breathy vocals….a lot of folks will prolly say the band perfected their sound on their 2003 single “Me and Gulliani (Down By The School Yard)”, and they might have a point…cuz that’s a classic track. However, I would make the case that with “Instinct,” the !!! blueprint was firmly laid down in all its liquid liquidy lock groove majesty.

Mix Master Mike – Eye Of The Cyklops (2000, Asphodel)

Mix Master Mike might just be the greatest turntablist of all time.  DMC DJ Champion 3 years in a row. Co-founder of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. And probably most famously, he served as the Beastie Boys studio/touring DJ since 1998.

“Hey yo Adam…,”

Mike also makes original albums. Eye of the Cyklops was the first recording I ever owned of his, on CD no less. I must have stumbled across it originally around late 2000…I remember it dropping like a bomb on my ear drums. I must have worn this out at every party we had at the house me and my band lived in at the time. This album is a guaranteed up-tempo neck breaker. Honestly though, I kinda moved on from it after awhile. It happens. Today’s favorite new jam gets wore the fuck out and the next thing you know its gathering dust. And then you need money for rent. And then 10 years go by. And then you happen to be thumbing through some records in a busted cardboard box on the floor of a flea market record shop and you make eye contact with this genius relic and it all comes screaming back to you like a pitch shifted wah-wah tweak scratch and you smile a smile crazy wide and say “MINE.”

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And man does it hold up. Here’s the thing: when you work with old samples to begin with, especially old drum samples, your tracks will always sound good…even 13 years after the fact. If you make beats with the latest gear, they will sound dated. Everything about this instrumental EP sounds timeless. I have been jamming this record almost everyday since I got it. Not just because it takes me back, but also because it feels like its still propelling me forward.

David Bowie – Scary Monsters ( 1980, RCA Victor)

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Finally, I snagged this slightly chewy copy of Scary Monsters by David Bowie for $6. The vinyl is surprisingly clean, save for one slight gash on side B. No skipping though. The one glaring issue, and the reason it was so cheap probably, is that apparently, “early issues included a limited edition insert of 36 stamps designed by Bowie, on a one-sheet 6×6 array.”

No dice on that precious. Damn. I can deal though…anything for David.

This record is generally regarded as his last really significant record before the 80’s decline…although I suppose a definite  argument could be made for Let’s Dance since it was his biggest selling album. Nile Rogers produced the shit out of it after all. But even Bowie attributes the massive success of the album as a long term failure, artistically and career-wise.

Anyhoo, Scary Monsters rules up and down. Of course, you already know that…don’t you?

Troy McClure for President 2016

Troy McClure is a fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He was voiced by Phil Hartman and first appears in the second season episode “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment“.[1] McClure is a washed-up actor, usually shown doing low-level work, such as hosting infomercials and educational films. He appears as the central character in “A Fish Called Selma“, in which he marries Selma Bouvier to aid his failing career and quash rumors about his personal life. McClure also ‘hosts’ “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular” and “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase“.

TroymcclureMcClure was partially based on B movie actors Troy Donahue and Doug McClure as well as Hartman himself. Following Hartman’s death on May 28, 1998, the character was retired, making his final appearance in the tenth season in “Bart the Mother“. McClure is often cited as one of the series’ most popular characters; in 2006 IGN ranked him first on their list of the “Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters”.

Andre The Giant

André René Roussimoff (May 19, 1946 – January 27, 1993),[3][6] best known as André the Giant, was a French professional wrestler and actor of Bulgarian and Polish descent. His best remembered acting role was that of Fezzik, the giant in the film The Princess Bride.[1] His size was a result of acromegaly, and led to him being called “The Eighth Wonder of the World“.[5][8]

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In the World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE), Roussimoff was a one-time WWF Champion[9] and a one-time WWF World Tag Team Champion.[10] In 1993, André was the inaugural inductee into the WWF Hall of Fame.[7][11]