BELOW: my own research and supposition (though maybe Kirby did speak about in some interview?) on pages 2-3 of my 4-page verbal/visual essay on “The Origin of Jack Kirby’s Black Panther” (published in Alter Ego #118, 2013).
FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO TODAY the one-hour Twilight Zone episode “He’s Alive” (written by series creator Rod Serling) premiered, starring Dennis Hopper as a neo-Nazi coached by the ghost of Hitler; I put this meme together in the summer of ’16. BOTH have come TRUE.
Still one of the GREATEST single comic book panels of all time (Green Lanter/Green Arrow #76, April ’70), illustrator Neal Adams bringing writer Dennis O’Neil’s dialogue to such photo-realistic life that it burned its way into your brain, ever to leave its imprint on a generation of comics readers, many of whom became creative professionals and created works that also changed the world. That is the greatest living testament to King (and Kennedy, his ’68 brother in death) that either of them could have ever dreamed of. Thank you to Neal, Denny, editor Julius Schwartz and everyone at DC Comics for making iit happen!
Rod’s widow, who lived half her life masterfully maintaining the memory and legacy of her storied husband, the creator of the greatest television series of all time, The Twilight Zone. I met her in the early 1980s, when I was starting out on my trek to get a coffee table art book based on the series published, and she was gracious enough to write an essay about Rod that I designed into the book (Visions from The Twilight Zone, Chronicle Books); an excerpt:
“Rod never considered himself the time’s translator of the mystique, or the master guru of the genre, but every writer worthy of the name has something to say, and for a time, this particular hemisphere was his…The Twilight Zone was a five-year ‘trip’ for him, and when it went off the air, he sold the series to CBS and put it behind him, never dreaming that it would continue to have a life of its own and play to his grandchildren’s generation.”
54 YEARS AGO LAST NIGHT, the Batman TV series made its debut, and the world–or at least, American Pop Culture–was never the same again! The “newness” of the Batman TV show’s camp, self-aware attitude, coming at the beginning of ’66, really kicked off the beginning of the “psychedelic” era in pop culture as much as the Beatles Rubber Soul did, released just a month before! Here’s my article on the comic book origins of the show: denofgeek.us/tv/batman/251897/the-real-comic-book-origins-of-the-batman-66-tv-series
My essay on GEORGE REEVES for editor Dan Greenfield’s pop culture site, 13thdimension.com/george-reeves-a-birthday-salutethat begins like this:
“I never liked the way George Reeves looked as Superman. Yeah, I know that’s no way to begin an appreciation of Reeves — on his birthday, no less — but hey, if there’s one thing I did learn from his Superman, growing up on reruns of the TV series in the 1960s, it was ‘never lie’ — because his Superman (and the comic book Superman I also grew up with) never did…” My recent VisuaLecture in NYC based on the essay: youtu.be/m5pSCvGrUKg
My article on the history of this New Year’s Eve (and once also July 4th & Thanksgiving) tradition on the SyFy Channel:
“…these Hall of Fame television episodes—these gems of storytelling substance and economy, saying more philosophically and metaphysically in 23 minutes than other shows muster in an entire season—these works of video art one might give to the aliens as representative of the best television earthmen ever made—are simply, as writer Hamner told Marc Zicree, author of the definitive episode guide, The Twilight Zone Companion, “…great stories well told.”
Rod Serling (1924-75), creator and head writer of the Greatest Television Series of All Time, The Twilight Zone (1959-64)! The conclusion of my essay on Serling in Pete Von Sholly‘s new book, Fantastic Fictioneers:
“The Twilight Zone’s totality and cohesiveness make it Serling’s magnum opus, an oeuvre that communicated to entire generations, a legacy that continues to teach, entertain, and inspire; it is a measure of that legacy that he was able to surmount the obstacles inherent in an artistic/entertainment medium like commercial television to touch more peoples’ imaginations with more ideas of lasting impact than any American (television?) writer of our time.”