December 31, 2013

NEW YEAR CARDS: SOVIETS IN SPACE

с Новым годом to you secret agents and astronauts! Celebrate the holiday with Spy Vibe and Soviet-era New Year card illustrations. May all of us ride the rocket of progress and efficiency in 2014. Thank you for a great year. We are nearing one-million visitors! While searching for these images, I discovered Wired was on the same wavelength this week. The first image is from David Portree's collection and commemorates Voskhod ("sunrise"), the first multi-person mission launched in 1964. You can read about the history behind the image at Wired here, and about the first Soviet spacewalk from Voskhod in 1965 here. There is a nice collection of cards and posters at Retronaut here. Wherever you are tonight, have a safe mission and a Happy New Year!


Recent Spy Vibe posts: Fu Manchu history panel, Andy Warhol box set, Six-Million Dollar ManStriped Light NudeBuckminster FullerDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive

December 30, 2013

FU MANCHU PANEL

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Sax Rohmer's infamous character Fu Manchu, PulpFest hosted a fascinating round-table event last summer. A panel of pulp historians, including Ed Hulse (Blood 'n' Thunder), Gene Christie (Black Dog Books), Win Scott Eckert (The Phantom, Green Hornet, Honey West and T.H.E. Cat), Nathan Madison (Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comics), William Patrick Maynard (Fu Manchu, Sherlock Holmes), and Will Murray (Doc Savage, The Spider), discussed how the character developed over time and how the stories reflected attitudes about Asian immigration, culture, and foreign policy.


Fu Manchu inspired the quintessential fiendish mastermind, an archetype that ruled popular fiction in the 20th Century and continues to appear in contemporary stories (Iron Man III). James Bond fans will recognize the template in characters like Doctor No (Doctor No/1962) and The Claw (Get Smart/1965-1970). Rohmer's villain appeared in Cold War comic books (Master of Kung Fu/1974-1983), Pyramid paperbacks, on television (Adventures of Fu Manchu/1953), and in a series of 1965-1969 movies starring Christopher Lee (Man With the Golden Gun). Fun Manchu continues as a literary figure through the efforts of the Rohmer estate and author William Patrick Maynard.



Pulp historian Nathan Madison starts off the 50-minute discussion below. Check out the Fu Manchu images here from the 1960s Christopher Lee films. Some topics of note: The Brides of Fu Manchu campaign from 1966 is based on a common anti-communist slogan of the era, "better dead than red." The women from Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) are wearing fur, but those geometric cuts are all Space-Age fashion! Spy Vibe's Christopher Lee collage and tribute here. Spy Vibe interview with William Patrick Maynard. Spy Vibe's Pinterest image archives: DiabolicalMystery/AdventureCliffhanger Serials, The Phantom, Dick Tracy, Mandrake, The Shadow, Fantomas. Thanks to PulpFest and all of the panel guests for offering such a fascinating discussion. Enjoy!






Recent Spy Vibe posts: Six-Million Dollar ManStriped Light NudeBuckminster FullerDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive

December 27, 2013

ANDY WARHOL: 15 MINUTES

According to Pop Art icon Andy Warhol, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes." Warhol was celebrated in an interesting project produced by Jeff Gordon and Path Soong. Drawing on their experience packaging sound recordings and limited-edition art books, the pair teamed up with Sony Legacy to create a 12x12 box set called Fifteen Minutes- Homage to Andy Warhol. The set includes rare content on four vinyl LPs,  3 CDs, artist photos, and 16 off-set lithographs- all contributed by artists with some connection to Warhol. Most of the contributors are Warhol's peers from the art community, but Spy Vibers will recognize a few wider-known figures like Billy Name, Bob Dylan, and Patti Smith. Fifteen Minutes was featured in a traveling exhibit that included stops at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pollock-Krasner House,  and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing. 


Sony Legacy released a limited run of 1,968 editions of the set, which sells for upwards of $500, but PopMarket currently offers the set at a discount price of  $179.99. From PopMarket: "Fifteen Minutes: Homage to Andy Warhol was created with the full approval of The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts and is headlined by Columbia Records artists Bob Dylan and Patti Smith + 16 other world-renowned fine artists, poets, painters, photographers, actors, and musicians. Each artist in this collection offers both an original recording and original work of art in limited edition inspired by their relationship with Warhol." New York Times review here


Warhol's original Factory, which served as a studio space for production and collaboration, was set up in 1962 on east 47th street in Manhattan. It moved to Union Square in 1968, where Warhol remained until 1973. Typifying 1960s Space-Age aesthetics and inspired by Billy Name, Warhol created the "silver factory" by famously covering the walls and ceiling of the studio with aluminum foil. As a center for the arts in the 1960s, Warhol's factory attracted visits from a host of creative icons, who were often asked to sit for portraits and screen tests ("long portraits"). Among the regulars of artists and hangers-on, the Factory also hosted appearances by Warhol's band, The Velvet Underground. Founding bandmember and songwriter Lou Reed sadly passed away in October. More info at the Andy Warhol Foundation here. Andy Warhol Museum here. Additional links: Velvet Underground, John Cale, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground by Richie Unterberger, Laurie Anderson, Warhol Screen Tests, Screen Tests at The Warhol, Warhol at MOMA, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith


Recent Spy Vibe posts: Six-Million Dollar ManStriped Light NudeBuckminster FullerDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive

December 25, 2013

SIX-MILLION DOLLAR PRESENTS

Happy Holidays from Spy Vibe! Curl up by the fire and spin these classic Christmas records featuring Cold War hero, the Six-Million Dollar Man. The Six-Million Dollar Man (Lee Majors/1974-1978) was a hit series about an astronaut, who was re-built with secret technology after a crash and then put to work as an agent. The concept was so popular it spawned The Bionic Woman series (1976-1978). Spy Vibers will remember seeing book-and-record sets based on popular TV shows and comics in the 1970s. They were pressed by Power Records, an offshoot of Peter Pan Records, and offered audio adventures and original comics featuring Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, Space 1999, and other properties. Even James Bond was licensed for read-along sets based on Dr No, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker. Power Records discography here. Power Records Blog. Click image to see record cover art. Audio clips and toys below.



It wouldn't be Christmas without toys and these Bionic characters were favorite gifts among young Spy Vibers for Christmas and birthdays. Fans still reminisce about a doll that allowed you to actually peer through Steve Austin's Bionic eye! Check out the vintage toy commercial below to get the full effect. I love how they presented their product so seriously- appropriate considering the commercial shows kids pretending that the Six-Million Dollar Man has to save New York from an atomic bomb. I've also added a fun video of Lee Majors looking back at the show and the toys.


There were also cool dolls based on the Fembots- robotic baddies that first appeared in a three-part cross-over story (Kill Oscar) with The Bionic Woman. Below you can see the original Austin doll with magnifying-glass eye socket and a 2012 re-issue Fembot (the original was packaged with Bionic Woman graphics). More retro commercials 1, 2, 3, and full Youtube playlist here.

Many Six-Million Dollar Man playlets were released ("Mission Control", "Repair Center", "Mission Vehicle", and others), but the show also spawned some surreal toys- like accessory packs of extra arms and legs for various critical missions... and a Bigfoot doll. Yes, the Six-Million Dollar Man faced Sasquatch in the cross-over episodes Secret of Bigfoot (played by Andre the Giant) and Return of Bigfoot (played by Ted "Lurch" Cassidy) in 1976. The plot had something to do with aliens sending a mechanical monster to steal precious jewels from the US government -way more stealthy than, say, a ninja. Hopefully the government offices were decorated in thick blown shag carpeting. Kenner produced a huge doll that was over a foot tall. The "Bionic" Bigfoot was so marketable, another figure was released with his own car so he and Austin could compete at the drag races (see link #3 above)! I know, that's just how things used to roll back then. Not quite the Aston Martin DB5, but campy Cold War fun nonetheless. See an overview of related toys at the ToysYouHad blog here. Bigfoot doll below from the Gozillavengers blog. Happy Holidays! What were your favorite toys?



Recent Spy Vibe posts: Striped Light Nude, Buckminster FullerDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.


Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive

December 24, 2013

SPACE AGE THINKING: BUCKMINSTER FULLER

Spend the day with the "Benjamin Franklin of the Space Age", Buckminster Fuller. Fuller devoted his life to designing ways to improve life by inventing useful "artifacts" based on efficiency and technology. In the 1960s he proposed "World Game", a science-based approach to solving global problems. Spy Vibers will remember him as the father of the geodesic dome. 


From the official website: "R. Buckminster Fuller was a renowned 20th century inventor and visionary born in Milton, Massachusetts on July 12, 1895. Dedicating his life to making the world work for all of humanity, Fuller operated as a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts.” Fuller did not limit himself to one field but worked as a 'comprehensive anticipatory design scientist' to solve global problems surrounding housing, shelter, transportation, education, energy, ecological destruction, and poverty. Throughout the course of his life Fuller held 28 patents, authored 28 books, received 47 honorary degrees. And while his most well know artifact, the geodesic dome, has been produced over 300,000 times worldwide, Fuller's true impact on the world today can be found in his continued influence upon generations of designers, architects, scientists and artists working to create a more sustainable planet."


Learn more with this out-of-print documentary film, Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud (1996/Zeitgeist):



Recent Spy Vibe posts: Striped Light NudeDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive

December 23, 2013

MISS FURY RETURNS

If you are a fan of Pulp adventures and crime-fighting ladies in black catsuits (who isn't?), check out the new volume of Miss Fury comics from IDW: "Reprinting every Miss Fury Sunday page from the beginning in April 1941 through April 1944 (where our companion volume picks up), we learn the origins of Miss Fury and her skin-tight panther costume—complete with its sharp claws on her hands and feet! By day, she was socialite Marla Drake—by night, the costumed adventuress Miss Fury. These early exploits introduce all of the memorable characters who remained in the strip for the rest of the decade. Edited by Trina Robbins, Designed by Lorraine Turner." IDW has published two volumes so far: Sensational Sundays 1941-1944 and Miss Fury 1944-1949. 


If that doesn't sound enticing enough, here is the description of IDW's 1944-1949 book from 2011: "Catfights and crossdressers, mad scientists and Gestapo agents with swastikas branding irons - it's one lurid and exciting adventure after another in this lavish, full-color collection of the first female superhero to be created and drawn by a woman. Miss Fury was a sexy adventurer clad in a skin-tight panther costume. By day, she was socialite Marla Drake. By night... Miss Fury! In the first half of the 20th century, women cartoonists could be found in America's newspapers, but Tarpe Mills was one of the few who drew adventure comics, and the only one who drew a costumed superheroine. The Miss Fury Sunday newspaper strip ran from 1941 until 1952 and had millions of readers, among them GIs who painted the beautiful action heroine on the nosecones of their bombers. Eisner- and Harvey-nominated writer and historian Trina Robbins has chosen the best Miss Fury stories for this oversized collection, which also features a biographical essay about Tarpe Mills that places her within the history of women cartoonists, and includes pages from an unpublished and unfinished Miss Fury graphic novel by Mills from 1979."


Dynamite Comics has cornered the market with new pulp comic books. The company has brought back many classic characters -including The Black Bat, Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, The Shadow, and The Spider- with exciting scripts and beautiful artwork. Dynamite Miss Fury page here


Recent Spy Vibe posts: Striped Light NudeDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewPete Seeger nominated for Grammy,Kraftwerk returns to US, Beatles BBC on Fresh Air, Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist Editions, David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtModern Architecture LPJulius ShulmanShane Glines Batman, The Prisoner and Captain ScarletDiego Fortunato and Verner Panton, Saturday Morning CartoonsAssassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series, new Hercule Poirot novel, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive
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