Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Most Dangerous Dinosaur Game

The cliche of the good guys being hunted as prey by the villains has been used in many different stories. I wonder if Paul S. Newman was consciously harking back to Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"--the origin of this idea--or if it was so common by 1970 that you didn't need to reference or even know about that story anymore to do your own take on it.

"The Hunted" is from Turok, Son of Stone #68 (January 1970). Turok and Andar encounter a tribe that uses clever and bold tactics to lure dinosaurs into pits and kill them for meat. But Andar puts his foot in his mouth when he brags he and Turok are the better hunters.

This is unwise. The pair soon end up in a trap and their bows and arrows are taken from them. The tribe plans to hunt them down. If they are caught, they'll be killed. If they survive until sunrise the next day, they get their weapons back and will be allowed to leave the area.

I love a moment that follows when Andar begins to wish they hadn't come into this area. Turok simply replies "We did and we are here!" It is what it is, Andar. Deal with it. It is moments like this that help make Turok one of my favorite comic book characters.

The story becomes a cat-and-mouse game with the hunters and the hunted both using clever tactics to try to outwit one another. At one point, Turok and Andar take to the trees so they won't leave a trail, but an encounter with a tree-climbing dinosaur ruins this idea.

The story construction here is excellent. The hunters may be from a more primitive society than Turok, but they are indeed great hunters. The various moves and counter-moves attempted by both sides is exciting and tense.

And--as always--Alberto Giolitti's art makes it all look magnificent.

The heroes manage to lose the hunting party for a time, but end up falling into one of the dinosaur pits. Here, luck turns in their favor. A stegasaurus falls in soon after and is speared by a couple of tribesmen who don't know the Indians are also down there. This allows Turok and Andar to get a couple of spears. Not as good as their bows, but better than nothing.

But the hunting party is closing in on them again. Turok has one last plan: Kill a pair of baby triceratops and use their skins to hide in plain sight.

It works, though its impossible not to feel sorry for the poor baby dinosaurs. If only Giolitti hadn't drawn them to look so darn cute!

The sun rises with Turok and Andar still free. The tribe keeps their end of the bargain, but Turok is gracious in victory and does acknowledge they are the best hunters he's ever seen.

"The Hunted" is a great story, taking a well-used premise and executing it superbly in terms of good storytelling--while never forgetting that the best stories involve clever heroes trying to defeat equally clever enemies.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cover Cavalcade

I don't know why more heroes don't bring dogs along with them while fighting evil. They certainly come in handy.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday's Favorite OTR

Escape: "Ambassador of Poker" 4/7/50

A Virginian who "can't lose at poker" takes a job recovering a valuable treasure from a Chinese bandit. Fortunately, it's an adventure in which his skill at poker might mean the difference between life and death.

Click HERE to listen or download.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dying Centaur Civilization

Read/Watch 'em In Order #59

When the first Jongor novella ended, the titular hero was accompanying Ann and Alex Hunter out of the dinosaur-infested Lost Land back to civilization.

But life is never that straightforward for pulp heroes. "The Return of Jongor" (first published in the April 1944 issue of Fantastic Adventures) quickly sees Ann and Alex captured by Aborigines at the outskirts of Lost Land. Two more men--Schiller and Morton--are also prisoners.

With a little help from a dinosaur, Jongor rescues them all. But further trouble arises when some Murtos attempt to lure Jongor into a trap. The Murtos, remember, are the monkey-people from the previous story--the degenerate remnants of a dying civilization that Jongor destroyed while rescuing Ann. So they are rather upset with our hero and determined to finish him off.

After a kidnapping, an escape and a run-in with a whopping big lion, Ann ends up in the city of the Arklans, a race of centaurs who are also the remnants of a dying civilization. The Lost Land is turning out to be a sort-of dumping ground for moribund pre-human races.

Jongor and his allies act to rescue Ann, but are soon helping Nesca, the queen of the Arklans, escape from assassins. This task is made more difficult by the fact that Nesca doesn't necessarily want to be rescued. Also, Schiller and Morton might not be as trustworthy as their allies would wish them to be.

The same weaknesses inherent in the first Jongor story are still here. Robert Moore Williams is still annoyingly vague in his descriptions of everything. For instance, I still don't know what species of dinosaur Jongor is supposed to be riding. The Arklan city is described in a few short paragraphs, giving us enough information to follow the action but without details that lead us to accept the centaur civilization as something real.

On the other hand, Williams' basic ideas are still pretty cool and the story's brevity continues to hide some of the more egregious faults.

Also, there are several parts that are downright awesome. Ann's single-handed escape from Murtos about halfway through the story is edge-of-your-seat tense, while Nesca's decisions late in the story regarding her personal fate and the fate of her entire race are dripping with surprisingly real emotion.

"The Return of Jongor" has enough good ideas for a solid novel-length story, I think Williams' mistake was writing a novella instead of fleshing out both the plot and the descriptive passages. The story sometimes has the feel of an outline for a more in-depth tale.

All the same, "The Return of Jongor" is entertaining. We'll see if Jongor continues to entertain us when we take a look at Jongor's final adventure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gladiator Sergeant.

 Our Army at War #272 (October 1974) features Sgt. Rock in a story titled "The Arena." It's a very simple story in terms of plot, but is thematically interesting. Mostly, though, it gives Russ Heath an unusual setting to really show off just how awesome an artist he is.

The plot really is very simple. Rock is captured by the Germans outside of Rome. He escapes when he's brought into the city, hides out in the Colosseum and plays cat-and-mouse with the Germans. Parallel to this are flashbacks to the adventures of Rufus the Gladiator (I really wish Bob Kanigher had named him Spartacus), who is tossed into the Colosseum to fight after leading an unsuccessful revolt.

So we have two men--2000 years apart--fighting against oppressive conquerors in the same spot. Things end badly for Rufus, but Rock gets literally pulled out of the fire by Easy Company in the nick of time.

So the theme behind the story is indeed interesting and well-executed, with parallels between Rock and Rufus being emphasized in several ways. This includes images such as Rufus being crushed by an octopus matched with Rock being crushed by a burly German.

But the strength of the story here is the artwork. Using the Colosseum as a setting and allowing flashbacks to the days of the Empire allows Russ Heath to shine. Nearly every panel is riveting and a pleasure to simply look at--great figure work highlighted by perfect compositions.

Also, you don't get to see giant octopi in World War 2 stories very often.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cover Cavalcade

Great illustration. Notice how the image takes your eye around in a circle before bringing you to the center.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday's Favorite OTR

Dragnet: "Big Shot" 9/21/52

A business is robbed and the manager is killed. Circumstances indicate it might have been an inside job, so Friday and Smith begin tracking down former employees.

Click HERE to listen or download.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Parallel Mesquiteer Universes

I wrote about a Three Mesquiteers film only a month or so ago, but we're going to visit another of them today. This is in part because a B-movie group I run on Facebook has generating a number of posts and comments, inspiring me to watch them. But also because I'd like to talk about the inherent weirdness of when the heck theses movies are set.

In the universe of B-movies and serials, the Wild West remained wild right up until what was then "modern day." There are still cowboys, cattle drives, Indians and six-shooters. But there's also automobiles, telephones and radios. Heck, Mesquiteer films made in the 1940s had them fighting Nazis. So a 1937 entry like The Riders of the Whistling Skull was obviously set in 1937, despite the Old West trappings.

I'm fine with this. It's a universe in which the West remained the way it should be, even while some elements of modern society slowly snuck in.

But other entries in the series, such 1938's The Night Riders (the movie I reviewed last month) are clearly set in the 19th Century. The Night Riders' plot revolved in part around the 1881 assassination of President Garfield.

The movie we are looking at today--1937's The Trigger Trio--is another one set in then-modern day. The plot involves an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease among the local cattle. The Mesquiteers are deputized to enforce a quarantine at the state border and are stopping 1930s model cars and trucks. The movie is still a Western--both heroes and villains more commonly ride horses and nobody pulls out a Tommy gun during the final shoot-out--but it's definitely set in the '30s.

The movie is an excellent entry in the series. It's the first one not to feature the usual three main characters. Robert Livingston, who was playing Stony Brooke at the time, went swimming with co-star Ray Corrigan and bumped his head on a rock. That laid him up for a month.

So Ralph "Dick Tracy" Byrd was brought in. The script mentions that Stony is down in Mexico and introduces Byrd as Larry Smith, the brother of Corrigan's character Tuscon.

It's fun to see Byrd, whom I'm most used to playing straight-laced authority figures like Tracy, take on the role of a hot-headed younger brother. And having a hothead in the cast is a strength for this particular story. The villain is a rancher whose cattle first contract the disease. He changes the brand of the sick cattle and sneaks them into someone else's herd. He also murders an agricultural inspector to keep his secret.

Larry, meanwhile, is annoyed that his older brother is so strict about upholding the law and enforcing the quarantine. He ends up unwittingly helping the murderer when he agrees to help with an illegal cattle drive to get the beef to market across the state line.

But when the villain's identity is revealed, Larry rejoins the other Mesquiteers and acquits himself well.

Like many of the early Mesquiteer films, this one is in the public domain. You can watch it here:

But it's time to get back to the main point. Why are some films set in the 1930s and others in the 19th Century. The Night Riders is clearly set in 1881, The Trigger Trio is clearly set in the 1930s, while later films in the series (involving Nazi spies) are clearly set in the 1940s.

Just to complicate matters further, 1941's Prairie Pioneers is set just after the Mexican War ended, nearly a full generation before 1881.

Were the Three Mesquiteers immortal, destined to fight evil through all eternity? Do the films set in then-modern day involve the identical sons of the original 19th Century Mesquiteers? Or (and this is my preferred interpretation) are there two (or possibly three) parallel universes involving multiple sets of Mesquiteers who were born in different generations?

Let's go with this last one, which means we have at least two universes. One is the traditional mythic Old West. The other is the B-movie universe's modern West, in which time stood partially still for the last generation or two. Either universe is a good setting for entertaining Westerns, so I'm happy that both have a version of the Three Mesquiteers riding around.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Average Day of a Newspaper Reporter

Perry White fires or threatens to fire Jimmy Olsen an awful lot, but Jimmy always ends up staying with the Daily Planet. This is just as well, because if he ever had to look for another job, I'm pretty sure his resume would be roughly the size of the unabridged War and Peace.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #83 (March 1965) provides evidence of this. It shows that even setting aside whatever role Jimmy may have had in other Superman books, we can see he has a busy month. He prevents Metropolis from being looted by thieves, visits an alien planet and helps foil a mass murder attempt. Any one of those accomplishments are worth mentioning when hunting for a new job.

"The Nostradamus of Metropolis" involves (apparently) the real Nostradamus, who was put to sleep by a magic spell and only now wakes up. He meets Jimmy and then starts making odd predictions: All the water in Metropolis will freeze; all the trees will suddenly fly into orbit; etc. When these come true, everyone immediately believes Nostradamus when he predicts the city will be destroyed by an earthquake. But it's all a trick--a crook working with Luthor is using a power crystal to make the weird predictions come true so that they can loot the city after the populace flees.

It's Jimmy who saves the day, realizing the guy is a fake after seeing him recognize and use a piece of modern technology. Superman traps the gang and the day is saved. Oddly, the normally verbose Luthor has no dialogue.

"The Great Miss Universe Contest" is one of those stories where providing a plot summary simply can not do justice to the glorious silliness of the tale. Suffice to say that Perry White is accidentally rendered invisible, Jimmy falls for a girl who turns out to be an alien, then gets taken to another planet and turned into a protoplasmic creature. Fortunately, Invisible Perry rescues him and brings him home.

Apparently, piloting a flying saucer across interstellar space is something Perry can list on his resume.

"Jimmy Olsen's Captive Double" begins when the Daily Planet staff receives a bomb threat while Superman is away on a mission in space. But the Daily Planet staff has an established procedure for this sort of thing: call the Kandorian L.A.S. (Look Alike Squad) to take their place until the bomber is caught. Since the Kandorians have superpowers while under a yellow sun, the bomber can't hurt them.

But it's all a trick. Ar-Rone, Perry White's double, is a traitor working with the Superman Revenge Squad to kill the Look Alikes. He uses a Super-Hypnotic beam to command Jimmy to kill the Squad. Jimmy promptly does so.

Except that's a trick also! Kandor's Espionage Squad had been on to Ar-Rone all along and the whole Mad Bomber thing was just a sting to get him to give himself away.

And, remember, this all happened within the space of a single month. Jimmy was doing this sort of thing all the time.

I wrote once before that I think of Jimmy Olsen as the Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyon of the DC Universe, living out stories that are tall tales even within the confines of a comic book universe. At their best, the Jimmy Olsen stories stretched Comic Book Logic to its breaking point, but never failed to entertain us. These yarns are textbook examples of pure fun.

{Writer and Artist credits for this issue can be found HERE.}

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cover Cavalcade

The top cover is from a 1957 issue of Strange Adventures with a cover by Gil Kane. The cover story from that issue was reprinted in From Beyond the Unknown #6 in 1970, with a Neal Adams cover.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday's Favorite OTR

Bob Hope: "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" 2/17/55

Bob and the rest of the cast do a hilarious parody of the classic novel.

Click HERE to listen or download.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lucky Legs and Unlucky Murders

Read/Watch 'em In Order #58

I like all four of the Perry Mason movies starring Warren William, but starting with 1935's The Case of the Lucky Legs, the balance between mystery and comedy tips a little too far towards the comedy side, weakening the latter films in comparison to the first two.

In Ron Baker's excellent book Mystery Movie Series of 1930s Hollywood, Baker insightfully notes that this is probably a reaction to the success of The Thin Man (1934), in which William Powell and Myrna Loy bantering together in perfect harmony.

"Warner Brothers," writes Baker, "apparently decided to emulate the style of [The Thin Man] and in the process gutted the original Gardner plot of its hardboiled crime elements and emphasis on the law."

He's right and though I do like the film better than Baker does, turning the series into a Thin Man clone was a bad idea. I know this version of Perry Mason isn't Gardner's and I accept that, but seeing Mason sleeping off a drunk on the floor of his office when he's supposed to be meeting a client--well, that goes a little bit too far afield.

Lucky Legs also amps up the banter between Mason and Della Street, hoping to recreate the Powell/Loy dynamic, with Della played this time around by Genevieve Tobin. She's very pretty and William is always good in B-movie roles, but only Powell and Loy can be Powell and Loy.

"Spudsy" Drake--again played by Allen Jenkins--is a little goofier and no one character in the movie seems to take the murder all that seriously. But, as I said, William is good as the lead and the plot has its points of interest.

It starts when a woman named Margie Clune wins a "Lucky Legs" contest, but the guy who runs the contest is a scam artist who runs off with the prize money. He's soon dead and Mason is hiding Margie from the cops while he tries to find the real killer to clear her.

There's no courtroom scene--though to be fair, the movie is based on one of Gardner's early novels, which didn't usually have courtroom scenes themselves. It took Garnder a few tries to discover the best formula for the novels--early on, Mason had more of a hardboiled P.I. vibe.

Anyway, it all ends in Mason's office, with the attorney explaining who the real killer is to the cops and the district attorney. There's another awkward attempt at comedy here--his summation is interrupted several times by a doctor trying to give him an examination (the culmination of a running gag that started early in the film).

I fully get why Baker and other fans of either Perry Mason or '30s detective films don't like The Case of the Lucky Legs. It may be that I'm a little too forgiving of its faults. But Warren William never fails to entertain me, whether he's Mason, The Lone Wolf,  Philo Vance, a Sam Spade expy, or chasing after famous thieves. He simply never fails to entertain, even when the script he's working from is weak.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


I need access to both a time machine and some spare cash to give to my younger self.

The proliferation of trade paperbacks over the last few decades has been a good thing in one key area--it means that classic comics are often reprinted. So stuff I didn't buy the first time around or no longer own is now once more available to read..

But there is some stuff that may never get reprinted--something that has hit Marvel Comics particularly hard. A few of their licensed products from the late Bronze Age--such as G.I. Joe and The Transformers--have been picked up by other companies, who are then able to reprint Marvel's issues. An decade or so ago, Marvel was able to get the rights to Godzilla back just long enough to publish an Essential Godzilla, containing all 24 issues of the big guy's incursion into the Marvel universe.

But there are a few things lost to copyright limbo. A few issues of Spider Man and Marvel Two-in-One are left out of their Essentials run because they guest-starred Doc Savage. Early Master of Kung Fu stories don't get reprints because Marvel can no longer mention Fu Manchu.

Perhaps most tragically, we will likely never see the Micronauts or Rom Space Knight reprinted.

Both these series were written by Bill Mantlo--an excellent writer who always infused a sense of fun and wonder into his tales. He took the two respective toy lines, made them into characters within the Marvel Universe, and created intricate and self-consistent backgrounds for them.

I didn't read either of these when they were first published. Recently, I've acquired a few back issues of both series and reviewed a Micronauts story a few months back.  But time and budget restraints will prevent me from getting full sets. Gee whiz, I've really missed out.

Because Rom Space Knight #22 (much like the Micronauts story I read) is great fun and hints at a larger, intricate story arc that sounds awesome.

Rom comes from another planet--one of a number of Space Knights who volunteered to become cyborgs to fight the evil Dire Wraiths. Now the Wraiths are on Earth, borrowing from the Invasion of the Body Snatchers playbook to pose as humans and infiltrate our society.

The issue I have is set in the small town of Clarion, which Rom has previously saved from the Wraiths, so most or all of the townspeople are now his loyal friends. Also living in town is former NFL star Brock Jones, who has acquired a Wraith-built battle suit and now fights alongside Rom as the superhero Torpedo.

So when a bunch of Wraiths wearing rocket suits invade Clarion, they have two opponents to face. What follows is a cool fight scene that also involves Torpedo doing some interesting musings about about the sort of moral issues that only exist within the confines of a comic book universe. Is it more merciful to simply kill the Dire Wraiths, as he does, or to condemn them for all eternity to Limbo, as Rom does?

The fight moves to the local school, where OF COURSE Brock's kids get caught up in the battle. The good guys win, though, and the kids are saved.

I like Sal Buscema's art. I like the exciting and well-choreographed fight scene. I like the characters--many of them average people who are just trying to act with decency and protect those they love.

I also like the hints in the story about the large story arc. A story arc I am not likely to ever be able to read in its entirety. That's why I need to go back in time--to make sure my younger self buys complete runs of Rom and Micronauts. Otherwise, I'm doomed. CURSE YOU ONCE AGAIN, COPYRIGHT LAWS!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday's Favorite OTR

Escape: "The Drums of Fore and Aft" 4/18/48

Two young boys give the soldiers of a disgraced British regiment a lesson in courage. Based on the story by Rudyard Kipling.

Click HERE to listen or download.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Plots and Counter Plots

In many of Walter Gibson's excellent Shadow novels, the identity of the main villain is unknown--the revelation of that identity is often a part of a massive plot twist at the end of a story.

So when I write about a Shadow novel, I often have to take care in how I summarize the plot so I don't include spoilers.

But in The Man from Shanghai (published in the April 15, 1936 issue of the Shadow Magazine), that's not a problem. I can scream the name of the villain (Kenneth Malfort) from the rooftops. I can freely explain his plans: Malfort knows about a guy arriving in New York from Shanghai with the intention of selling valuable jewels to raise money for the Chinese government. The villain knows the potential buyers--he's having them murdered and robbed individually before going after the jewels themselves.

None of that's a secret. We meet Malfort in the very first sentence and fully understand why he's having people murdered soon after that. We know a gang leader named Spark Ganza is suppling him with thugs when needed and that he has a mute, knife-wielding Mongol assassin named Ku-Nuan at his beck-and-call.

This is because Walter Gibson took a nifty approach to this particular story. Tension is generated because we know what Malfort is planning and we know what the Shadow is planning to counter Malfort's plot. But neither of them know the others plans with complete certainty, so following their plots and counter plots as both work from incomplete information is fascinating.

The Shadow picks up a clue at the scene of the latest murder, helping him to figure out who the next victim will be. He takes the victim's place and encounters Ku-Nuan in a desperate knife fight, allowing the assassin to escape afterwards in hopes that he'll leave a trail to his boss.

But Malfort instead uses Ku-Nuan to lure the Shadow into a trap involving not just the assassin, but a bunch of Spark's men armed with tommy guns.

The Shadow thinks and fights his way out of that trap, then foils another murder attempt, thinning out Spark's gang along the way. In the meantime, he sets up himself in the guise of Lamont Cranston as the next potential victim to spring a trap of his own.

Malfort theorizes that Cranston actually is the Shadow and makes plans of his own. In one of Gibson's best plot twists ever, Malfort tries a surprise gambit that he set up before the novel began. This is the one part of his plans that readers aren't privy to, though the gambit is set up earlier with a subtle Chekhov's Gun--so Gibson is still playing fair with us.

The gambit leaves the Shadow a prisoner, with Malfort still plotting more murders and thefts.

But keeping the Shadow a prisoner is never a good idea...

Also, never underestimate what an elderly and nearly blind butler can accomplish in the name of justice.

The Man from Shanghai is a classic Shadow adventure, with several memorable villains carrying out a ruthless but effective plot. The idea of jumping back and forth between hero and villain, "watching" them as the try to out-think each other, gives the novel a unique flavor. Added to that is a wonderful action scene in which the Shadow must break out of an apparently perfect death trap. Of course, the Shadow does that sort of thing all the time, but it's something that never gets old.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gee whiz, there are a lot of Clayfaces.

Throughout the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages of Comics, there were four different Clayfaces. Most of them  had the shape-changing powers we normally associate with the character. The first Clayface, though, was a psycho-killer without any superpowers. I believe there is a Bronze Age story where he brings all the Clayfaces together and used a formula to give him powers, but mostly he just stuck knives in people.

This is Basil Karlo, who first appeared in Detective Comics #40 (June 1940). He was an embittered former horror movie actor who wore hideous make-up while whacking people who had bruised his enormous ego. A fictional mash-up of Lon Chaney Sr and Boris Karloff, Karlo was an effective villain.

He was still around four decades later, when he appeared in Detective Comics #496 (Nov. 1980). Written by Michael Fleisher and drawn by Don Newton, this 16-page story begins as an effective thriller, then morphs into a clever mystery in which Batman gets to show off his skills at deductive reasoning.

The story is set at a horror movie tribute being held aboard a cruise ship. Boris Karlo is one of the actors being honored for his work in the genre, though his incarceration in Arkham Asylum means he can't personally attend.

Which is something that Karlo does not react well to when he reads about it in the newspaper. He strangles a nurse to death, steals her keys and promptly escapes. While this is happening, the story is cutting away to show us stuff aboard the ship, but we periodically jump back to Karlo as he uses his skill as an actor to take on different identities and gradually make his way to the ship himself. Along the way, he kills some poor shlub and acquires a shotgun. It's an effective storytelling device that really does build up tension.

Bruce Wayne is attending the horror movie convention. This, by the way, is one of several indications we get during the Bronze Age that tell us a little about Bruce's tastes in movies. Here, we find out he likes the classic horror films. In another story from that era, we learn he likes the Marx Brothers. Batman really does have great taste in movies. though I've always wondered how he managed time to watch any of them when he spent his youth obsessively training to be a superhero.

When Karlo gets aboard the ship, the story still seems to be an effective but simple thriller, with Batman trying to catch Karlo before he kills someone. But there's actually more going on--with several clues seeded throughout the story that allow Batman to eventually figure out what he really needs to do to catch a killer.

I like this story. As I've mentioned in previous reviews of Batman stories from the 1970s & early 1980s, the writers at that time really got the character. Batman wasn't just a scary jerk with a lot of wonderful toys. He was a well-rounded crime-fighter--able to hold his own in a fight and use his Sherlockian skills to figure out what was going on.

As I've also mentioned before--I really miss that Batman.

There is one other interesting thing about the story. It opens with Batman saving a woman from being crushed beneath a falling Godzilla statue. This is immediately followed by Batman being shown the exhibit, thus giving us the information we need to have about the tale's setting. This involves showing us images of not just Godzilla, but also the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Alfred Hitchcock, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price.

I'm actually a little surprised by this. I would have assumed that DC Comics would use fictionalized versions of these characters and real-life people to avoid any copyright or trademark problems. But there they all are, by golly, staring out at us from the pages of this comic.

It certainly gives the story verisimilitude and helps us accept Basil Karlo as a "real" person as well, but I'm a little curious about how they got away with it. Perhaps brief appearances such as this are okay. Perhaps they took a chance and no one complained. Someone suggested to me that the use of the word "tribute" when describing them made it okay.

Or perhaps the Creature, Godzilla, Hitchcock, Lugosi and Price are just so awesome, they overrule copyright law and become a cosmic law onto themselves.

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