The Rocketeer: Still a Wonderful Watch

The Rocketeer: Still a Wonderful Watch, it’s still a fun movie. This one came out in 1991 and I feel like it wouldn’t have existed without Tim Burton’s Batman. I am a sucker for period films, and any movie that has some solid Nazi punching is aces in my book. A team up of pulp style characters would really be my ideal popcorn movie, although I am unsure as to how well received it would be. There is no way I could believe that it would be a block-buster of any sort. Perhaps a comic book mini series? I’d settle for that!

Drawing Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze

Inspired by a Bruce Timm piece from the Modern Masters series, this is my first attempt at drawing Doc Savage. I wanted to keep the simple lines of Timm’s style. There were places where I began to stray from the C, S curves and straight lines that I tried to limit myself to. All in all, I am satisfied with the result. At one point I thought about inking this piece but then my laziness got the better of me.

My Doc Savage

Doc Savage is a character originally published in American pulp magazines during the 1930s and 1940s. He was created by publisher H. W. Ralston and editor J. L. Nanovic at Street & Smith Publications. Additional material was contributed by the series’ main writer, Lester Dent. The character first appeared in Doc Savage Magazine #1 in March of 1933. He is often referred to as ‘The Man of Bronze’.

In recent years Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was attached to a new movie version of Doc Savage. As a fan of Mr. Johnson, I was 100% all-in on this. That project seems to have fallen through as Sony Pictures Television is bringing Doc Savage to the small screen with a new TV series. Unfortunately I highly doubt that Dwayne Johnson will be a part of this, but I will hold out hope.


My Top Nine Films Based on Comic Strips

   “My Top Nine”… it seems to be a thing now. Well, it’s only my second top nine list, but is could be a thing. Why not a Top Ten? In both cases I really couldn’t come up with ten picks, for the life of me.

   This one is simple. Comic strips to the big screen. These are some of the best, live action, examples of this genre of film. When I say “best” I mean, of course, my best.



9. The Addams Family (1991)


The Addams Family is a 1991 American fantasy comedy film based on the characters from the cartoon of the same name created by cartoonist Charles Addams. The film was originally developed at Orion Pictures (which, at the time, owned the rights to the television series on which the film was based due to its ownership of the Filmways library and later quietly relaunched by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on September 11, 2014). But due to the studio’s financial problems, Paramount Pictures stepped in to complete the film and handled North American distribution; Orion retained the international rights, though these rights now belong to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through their purchase of Orion.


8. The Spirit (1987)


   When Denny Colt, detective for the Central City Police Department, survives an assassination attempt by criminals, he is still believed by the public to be dead. He decides to use to his advantage, since being “dead”, he isn’t subject to the rules that bind regular cops. To this end, he equips an abandoned tomb in a graveyard into a residence and headquarters and prepares for a new career. With that, he becomes the Spirit, a mysterious crime fighter whose only costume is a blue business suit, fedora hat and a little eye mask. His first major case pits him against P’Gell, a femme fatal who has criminal designs on the city.


7. Popeye (1980)


Popeye is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by Robert Altman. It is a live-action film adaptation of E. C. Segar’s Popeye comic strip and stars Robin Williams as Popeye the Sailor Man and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl.

   I have a fond memory of going with my parents to see this on xmas day, 1980. It was at the height of Robin Williams’ popularity as Mork from Ork on “Mork and Mindy”. Let’s just say that I was an immense fan, being 10 years old. 


6. Dick Tracy (1990)


Dick Tracy is a 1990 American action comedy film based on the 1930s comic strip character of the same name created by Chester Gould. Warren Beatty produced, directed, and starred in the film, which features supporting roles from Al Pacino, Charles Durning, Madonna, Dustin Hoffman, William Forsythe, Glenne Headly, Paul Sorvino, Dick Van Dyke, and Charlie Korsmo. Dick Tracy depicts the detective’s love relationships with Breathless Mahoney and Tess Trueheart, as well as his conflicts with crime boss Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice. Tracy also begins his upbringing of “The Kid.”


5. Blondie (1938)


   Blondie is a 1938 movie directed by Frank Strayer, based on the comic strip of the same name, created by Chic Young. The screenplay was written by Richard Flournoy.

   This was the first of 28 films based on the comic strip; Columbia Pictures produced them from 1938 to 1943, and popular demand brought them back in 1945. When the Blondie film series came to an end with Beware of Blondie in 1950, it was announced that it would be replaced with a series of Gasoline Alley movies. However, only two such films were made, Gasoline Alley (1951) and Corky of Gasoline Alley(1951). Columbia then reissued the Blondie features, beginning with the very first film in the series.

   I lived in Sacramento, it was around 1981-ish, when channel 31 played the Blondie movies in the early afternoon on Saturdays… before Kung Fu Theater. Thus I discovered the live action embodiment of the character that I knew from the Sunday Funnies.



4. Annie (1982)


   Annie? I know. My Mom and Grandmother took me to go see it when I was 10. I was the only boy there and I was acutely aware of that fact. I didn’t even want to see it but I wound up having a great time watching it.

Annie is a 1982 American musical comedy-drama film adapted from Broadway musical of the same name by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan, which in turn is based on Little Orphan Annie, the 1924 comic strip by Harold Gray. The film was directed by John Huston, scripted by Carol Sobieski, and stars Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Geoffrey Holder, Edward Herrmann, and Aileen Quinn in her film debut. Set during the Great Depression, the film tells the story of Annie, an orphan from New York City who is taken in by America’s richest billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Filming took place for six weeks at Monmouth University in New Jersey.


3. The Phantom (1996)


The Phantom is a 1996 American superhero film directed by Simon Wincer. Based on Lee Falk’s comic strip The Phantom, the film stars Billy Zane as a seemingly immortal crimefighter and his battle against all forms of evil. The Phantom also stars Treat Williams, Kristy Swanson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Remar and Patrick McGoohan. The film’s plot is loosely inspired by three of The Phantom stories, “The Singh Brotherhood”, “The Sky Band” and “The Belt”; but adds supernatural elements and several new characters.


2. The Shadow (1994)


   I know this one isn’t technically a comic strip first. This was first a pulp novel series then became a serialized radio program. 

The Shadow is a 1994 American superhero film directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Alec Baldwin, John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Ian McKellen, Peter Boyle, Jonathan Winters and Tim Curry. It is based on the pulp fiction character created by Walter B. Gibson in 1931.


1. Flash Gordon (1980)


Flash Gordon is a 1980 British/American space opera action film filmed in Technicolor and Todd-AO, based on the comic strip of the same name created by Alex Raymond. The film was directed by Mike Hodges, and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. It stars Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, and Ornella Muti. The screenplay was written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., with a story adaptation by Michael Allin. It intentionally uses a camp style similar to the 1960s TV series Batman (for which Semple had developed and written many episodes) in an attempt to appeal to fans of the original comics and serial films. Although a box office success in the UK, it performed poorly overseas. The film is notable for its soundtrack composed, performed and produced by the rock band Queen, with the orchestral sections by Howard Blake.

   This is my number one pick for my favorite and possibly the best Strip to Film adaption. I mean… he’s the saviour of the universe, after all.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Shop Doc’s Designs on TeePublic

   I know that I would probably take some fire for admitting this, but I am really enjoying this flick. I knew about Sky Captain when it came out but then it flew under the radar, as it were. While flipping around our Netflix menu, this movie came up, and I thought it might be a fun watch. Well it turns out that I was very right. You see, I thoroughly enjoy Sci-Fi pulp, hyper-reality noir, and the art deco aesthetic. This one as it all. This movie is so fun that I may just purchase a copy for when Netflix takes it out of rotation.
   This movie is definitely going on my favorite pulp science fiction movie list. It’s right up there with “The Shadow“, “The Phantom“, “Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze“, “Dick Tracy“, “Flash Gordon“, and ALL four of the Indiana Jones adventures. I am a sucker for a fun period film. Say what you will about my taste in movies, but I do enjoy each one of them.

Why Indiana Jones 4 was Actually Awesome


   Do you think Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sucked? Then this may just change your mind like it did mine.

   First we need to talk about our attitudes. We ALL went into this movie with high expectations. We wanted our Harrison Ford from, at least, 1989. After some time we were forced to acquiesce to the passage of time. This movie could have used a primer. A “What to expect”, or “How to watch” sort of thing.


   OK. That is out of the way. My newer philosophy has been to find the good in most things, or not to speak about them at all. So now I have something to say about IJ4.


   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was a love letter to the era that it represents.


   If you don’t watch, or like, old movies (from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s), then my arguments will fall upon deaf ears (or blind eyes). For those of us who love cinema from all eras, the Indiana Jones flicks are jam packed with Silver Screen history. Raiders, and Last Crusade was like the Saturday Matinees from 1940’s. While Temple of Doom was a mystical asian adventure right out of Hollywood of the 1930’s.


   Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has all of the earmarks of the 1950’s Sci-Fi romp! It has the two big subjects of Hollywood of the time, the “Red Menace” and Aliens. Peppered in there are other popular elements the decade of Atom bombs, a rebel without any cause (in the vein of James Dean or Marlon Brando), hot-rods, and Rock & Roll. Heck, the only thing that was left out was was a Ray Harryhausen stop-motion creature. Although he did animate some awesome flying saucers in Earth vs the Flying Saucers.


   Now I’m not telling you to go out and rewatch this movie right now, but I am saying that the next time it shows up on TV, or wherever, give it another chance with the mindset of it being a movie from that era.


%d bloggers like this: