August 29, 2014

STEED AND MRS. PEEL #2

The new Steed and Mrs. Peel: We're Needed comic series from Boom! Studios continued this week! Issue #2 (of 6) of the current saga by Ian Edginton and Marco Cosentino was released on Wednesday, August 29th ("Book Day" for the comic fans out there). Synopsis from Boom!: "John Steed continues the quest for the truth about his fellow agent, uncovering some secrets about the remote seaside resort he's investigating- and the locals are willing to go to extreme measures to keep Steed quiet. Meanwhile, Mrs. Peel weaves her way through the London Underworld before hitting the beach, as the return of Britain's coolest secret agents continues." Although I love the cover design by Alice X Zhang, I wonder if the face evokes Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow (from Marvel's The Avengers and Winter Soldier films) more than Diana Rigg's Emma Peel? And does the figure stray toward Julie Newmar more than Rigg? I'll have to ask the artist soon about her process. Incidentally, Pat McDonagh, who designed Diana Rigg's original leathers in the 1960s, passed away in May. Stay tuned for an upcoming tribute on Spy Vibe. Comic story continues below.


Script-wise, I've been enjoying Steed and Mrs. Peel: We're Needed so far. Writer Edginton is a true fan and he seems to be doing a good job adapting the original show to the medium. In an interview with Bleeding Cool last May, Edginton said, "The original series, especially the Emma Peel run, is quirky and quaint; there’s a much lighter, surreal, comic touch to the show than had what gone before. Steed had previously worked alongside Cathy Gale, Venus Smith, Dr. Martin King, and Dr. David Keel, and those episodes had a much harder edge. The show was more a gritty, espionage drama which fitted in with what was then the post-war mentality. Britain was still in austerity mode and Russia was emerging as the new threat to world peace. The shadow cast by the fall-out from the Second World War was being felt politically, socially, and economically. The Emma Peel era proved to be a unique barometer of the times. The mood of the show and the country lightened. The show went from black and white to color. It perfectly matched the feel of Britain and London in the swinging ‘60s, a colorful mix of optimism and hedonism. The design and style of Emma Peel’s clothes were a mirror of the times and they’re often what people remember the show for. Likewise, John Steed’s sharply tailored gentleman dandy outfits were indicative of Victorian/Edwardian tailoring at the time. It was all about style.

"It’s not something I’d envisaged ever having the opportunity to do, so to say I’m thrilled is an understatement. I’m 50, I grew up with shows like The Avengers, The Prisoner, Danger Man, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, Strange Report, Department S, and so on. They’re in my DNA, along with all the Gerry Anderson shows and Doctor WhoThe Avengers holds a very special time, place, and tone for me. They’re part of a bedrock of British television that has formed and shaped me as a writer. In one way or another, it informs everything I do. I’ve now been given the opportunity to come full circle and write about the characters who inspired me to do what I do in the first place." Cover price is $3.99 and you can find issues #1 and #2 at your local comic shop or on-line at Boom! Studios. Issue #3 and #4 coming up seem to sport  especially uninteresting covers, so I'm hoping Boom! will offer some variant designs to entice collectors to keep buying individual issues. They might also consider sticking with Zhang. As a fan of Francavilla, I'd also love to see what he'd do with the characters.

Hey Spy Vibers, want to win cool stuff? Spy Vibe passed one million visitors last weekend! I'm celebrating by giving away vintage prizes. Contest details here.


Selected Spy Vibe posts: One Million PrizesDesigner: Gene WinfieldAvengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 27, 2014

ONE MILLION: PRIZES

We passed ONE MILLION visitors last weekend! Thanks to all the secret agents out there for making this community possible. As many of you may know, I started Spy Vibe just over five years ago as a place to celebrate 1960s style in action. I work as an art teacher by day and writer/artist by night, and it's been great meeting you all here in the Spy Vibe lair to highlight Cold War fashion, architecture, music, cinema, and cult TV. It's been an exciting time with many anniversary events and new media releases  I've especially enjoyed posting interviews, where I've had a chance to talk to collectors and current artists and writers working in the '60s mode. Over the years we've chatted with a Playboy Bunny from Swinging London, designers from Batman Animated and the Powerfuff Girls, Fantagraphics creator Richard Sala, Lee Pfeiffer from Cinema Retro, Raymond Benson (James Bond, Black Stiletto), Jeremy Duns (Paul Dark novels), the creators of Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet, Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman, Miss Fury), and current authors covering The Avengers, Fu Manchu, Honey West, The Green Hornet, and many others. To celebrate this milestone, I'm giving away some cool contest prizes! See below for details.


Prize Contest: Enter to win one of the prizes below by sending an email to spy vibe[at]gmail.com with the "prize name" in the subject line (names are in italics below). Write your name and mailing address in the body of the email. I will choose winners in a random drawing on September 17th. All emails and info will be deleted after the drawing. Spy Vibe will cover postage, but won't be responsible for any snafus that might occur during shipping. One prize per winner. Now, here's what you can win: OSS117: Lost in Rio (DVD/former rental), The Phantom: Slam Evil (DVD/former rental), Heil Harris: The Avengers (vintage TV cover paperback), Laugh Was on Lazerus: The Avengers (vintage TV cover paperback), Moonraker (vintage Signet 007 paperback), Dr No (vintage Signet 007 paperback), The Saint: Sees it Through (vintage Roger Moore cover paperback), Spy Ghost (vintage Norman Daniels paperback), Man From UNCLE #8 (comic book). Good Luck! Readers, can you help support Spy Vibe? As a teacher, the cost of the site domain and forwarding can be tough on the budget. Please consider making a small donation in the Paypal tip jar at top-left of the page. Thanks again! -Agent Jason 


Selected Spy Vibe posts: Designer: Gene WinfieldAvengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 25, 2014

ACTION FIGURES KICKSTARTER

Kickstarter: Action Figures. There is a cool project to produce action figures based on public domain heroes like The Black Terror, Daredevil, and Stardust from the Golden Age of comics, and Captain Action, the famous toy from the 1960s. The project has 6 hours left to go to raise the last $1,000. Check out the video below and consider backing these neat figures! Details at Kickstarter HERE




Selected Spy Vibe posts: Designer: Gene WinfieldAvengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 23, 2014

DESIGNER: GENE WINFIELD

Take a Saturday drive with Gene Winfield. Winfield grew up in Modesto, CA, where he established himself as a talented designer and driver in the hot rod scene (Trivia: my great-grandfather was the High School principal in Modesto). He became a leading innovator in custom cars and revolutionized new blends of automotive paint. Winfield's talents were spotted by Aluminum Model Toys (AMT), who hired him in 1962 to design model kits. His talents soon brought him work designing full-scale concept cars and vehicles for Hollywood. Spy Vibers will know some of his creations, like the Piranha U.N.C.L.E. car (1964), Get Smart's Sunbeam Tiger, Shuttlecraft Galileo in Star Trek (1967), the modified T.H.E. Cat car, and no less than twenty-five vehicles  designed for Blade Runner (1982). One of Winfield's creations, The Reactor, really got around! Originally called the Autorama Special, the car was built on a Citroen  DC chassis and powered by a Chevrolet Corvair engine, and featured electronic doors, hood, and roof. The Reactor appeared as Ertha Kitt's Kitty Car in Batman (The Joke's on Catwoman/1967), Bewitched (Super Car/1967), The Flying Nun (Old Cars For New/1967), as the "Jupiter 8" in Star Trek (Bread and Circuses/1967), and Mission Impossible (The Freeze/1968). The original can be seen at the Darryl Starbird National Rod & Custom Hall of Fame. Winfield's custom shop also constructed other famous vehicles for outside designers contracted to Hollywood. He will appearing with the Piranha at The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Golden Anniversary event in Hollywood this September! Learn more: Custom Car Builder, Kustomrama, Uncle Car articles and prints, T.H.E. Cat car, Legendary Custom Cars and Hot Rods of Gene Winfield book, Star Trek Wiki, Gene Winfield website. Thanks to Agent K of Mod Tales for putting Winfield on my radar. Now let's open his garage and take a spin!













Selected Spy Vibe posts: Avengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 22, 2014

IAN FLEMING: GOLDENEYE

Matthew Parker's new biography about Ian Fleming's Jamaica, Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born, has received a positive review from Robert McCrum in The Observer. "Fleming, for whom 'all history is sex and violence', took every inspiration from Jamaica. Matthew Parker does not replace two excellent, competing Fleming biographers, John Pearson and Andrew Lycett, but his account of the role Goldeneye played in the evolution of 007 is persuasive, well-researched and entertaining. Parker describes very well how this outpost of empire supplied Fleming with the perfect cocktail of old-fashioned British law, order and imperial restraint mixed with danger, sensuality and exotic excitements: the same combination, indeed, that made the Bond novels so successful." Read the full review here. A hardcover edition of Goldeneye was released in the UK on August 14th by Hutchinson. The US hardcover and eBook editions will follow on March 15th, 2015. My first edition has arrived and I look forward to diving in and sharing my thoughts soon. Meet me underneath the mango tree!


Selected Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming: Wicked Grin50th eventsGoldeneye US Designnew Fleming booksSE Asian 007Cumberbatch as Ian FlemingFleming Jamaica BookBond Japanese EditionsFleming Chinese EditionChitty Chitty Bang Bang 50thIan Fleming: Mt. Demon Hell JapanCollecting Fleming007 Audio Books UpdateAppropriating Bond Exhibit, Fleming Letters MysteryThe Goldfinger VariationsDouble 007 Book DesignsDouble 007 designs IIrare Ian Fleming editionBook Design DopplegangersTurkish Bond designErno GoldfingerNoel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 DesignsJames 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.

Selected Spy Vibe posts: Avengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 20, 2014

AVENGERS BLU-RAY

Breaking news: North American fans of The Avengers may finally want to open that bottle of John Steed champagne. A&E has announced the release of Season 5 on Blu-ray! I wish I could report the imminent release of the entire series, but this is still great news. A&E is starting with the color Mrs Peel episodes, which I hope is just the tip of the iceberg. Cover art is ported over from their last Emma Peel Megaset (matching Optimum's UK box design), but it is not clear yet if A&E will be sourcing from Optimum's celebrated Hi-def transfers. Reports are also speculating the absence of special features. I join my fellow fans in hoping the set will use the best prints possible and include bonus extras. Season 5 will be amazing to see on Blu-ray, especially fave episodes like From Venus With Love, The Winged Avenger, The Living Dead, Epic, The Joker, and Return of the Cybernauts. Street date is November 11th.


I investigated the Optimum UK set last spring on my all-region player, and though the episodes looked stunning, the PAL-NTSC speed-up issues made everyone sound like they were on helium. See my test-comparison video here. I'm thrilled to see this new NTSC Blu-ray release, which should offer us the best visual quality played at the correct speed. Spy Vibers can now pre-order the A&E set from Amazon for a low $20.99 here. Blu-ray page. I'll update with further details as they are announced. Read Spy Vibe's feature interview about The Avengers production history with Michael Richardson here.


Selected Spy Vibe posts: Avengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.
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