Sunday, August 26, 2012



Are you frightened yet?  Not even a little bit? Well then, the various media producers have failed miserably because the mere mention of his name like that of Dracula is intended to strike fear into the hearts of mortal men.

As most of us already know, that Frankenstein is a novel written by Mary Shelley about a creature that was created as a result of an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one but for some reason the first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818; but needless to say, Shelley’s name appears on the second edition, that was published in France about 5 years later (1823).

In doing her research for the story, reportedly Shelley traveled throughout the region in which the story takes place, and the topics of galvanism (that which involves the use of electricity to make muscles move) and other similar occult ideas were themes of conversation among her and her companions, particularly her future husband, Percy. It’s often told that Mary, Percy, and a few other friends decided to have a friendly competition to see who could write the best horror story; in this way, the story of Frankenstein became a legend of medical science gone bad.   In any event, as the story goes it's further said that the storyline emerged from a dream that Shelley experienced. After thinking for weeks about what her possible storyline could be, Shelley dreamt about a scientist who created a monstrous life form that he was confounded by. Armed with this background information she was well equipped to write the story of Frankenstein, whereby she won the little private literary competition amongst her friends and fiancé.

Ingolstadt, Germany is a real town wherein Frankenstein was allegedly created and the home office of today’s auto manufacturer, Audi. There’s also a town called Frankenstein in Germany, where the police academy for the notorious Waffen-SS during WW II was located; you might say that this burg was once a training ground for real Monsters.

The first printing of Frankenstein by Classics Comics (latter Illustrated Classics) was in December’s 1945 issue, the cover price was 10 Cents.  A 1910 film made by Edison Studios was the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in fact some sources credit Thomas Edison as the producer.

For many years, this film was believed to be a lost film but in the early 1950s a print was purchased by a Wisconsin film collector (Alois F. Dettlaff) from his mother-in-law, who was also a film collector.  However, he did not realize its rarity until many years later; in fact, its existence was not revealed until the mid-1970s, so ol’ Alois was probably unaware of the historic nature of his find 20 years earlier. Although somewhat deteriorated, the film was in viewable condition, complete with titles and tints as seen in 1910.  Dettlaff had a 35 mm preservation copy made in the late 1970s and he issued / released 1,000 copies on DVD.

The only horror movie mainstay that’s more common than Dr. Frankenstein and his monster is that of Dracula.  The most recognizable of many “Frankenstein” movies was the Universal movie release, in 1931 staring Boris Karloff.

By the way, Youtube offers a free viewing of the 1931 version when you click this LINK.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Classics Illustrated Comics in the Movies

Three Musketeers, Issue #1

Classics Illustrated is a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics such as Moby Dick, War of The Worlds, and Huck Finn.  Russian-born publisher Albert Lewis Kanter (1897–1973) created Classic Comics for Elliot Publishing Company in 1941 with its debut issues being The Three Musketeers, followed by Ivanhoe and The Count of Monte Cristo. In addition to such literary adaptations, these comic books featured profiles of the authors, educational fillers, and an ad showcasing the upcoming title. The one thing you can count on, if you’ve ever read them, you have a favorite issue (Mine’s The Time Machine).

In later editions, a catalog of titles and a subscription order form appeared on the back cover of each comic book. Kanter was quick to recognize the appeal of early comic books and was sure he could use the new medium to introduce young and reluctant readers to “great literature”.

This series is different from the Great Illustrated Classics, which is an adaptation of the classics for young readers that includes illustrations, but is not in the comic book format; they’re  more like the original text but with colorful images displayed  on approximately every other page and Great Illustrated Classics have hard back covers.

The first five titles of Illustrated Classics Comics were published irregularly under the banner “Classic Comics Presents” while issues six and seven were published under the banner “Classic Comics Library” with a ten-cent cover price. Arabian Nights (issue #8) was the first issue to use the “Classics Comics” banner.

The ‘comic book’ format, as you probably know, originated in 1933; American comic books first gained wide popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which showcased the debut of Superman. This was followed by a superhero boom that lasted until the end of World War II. After the war, superheroes were often sidelined, but the comic book industry rapidly expanded, so as to include categories such as westerns, romance, funny animals, and sever types of humor which ensured the livelihood of the industry in general. The 1950s saw a gradual decline in sales and production, due mainly to new censorship laws as well as the spread and popularity of TV. The 1960s saw a superhero revival, and superheroes continue to be the dominant genus today, although many other categories continue to find audiences as well.

Therefore it’s not a huge leap from the format of ‘big screen movies’ and ‘TV’ alike to recognize the connection between the many classic works that can be found in the countless publications offered by Classics Illustrated. Here’s just a few of the many Classics Illustrated publications that’s made it to the movies: 1. The Time Machine; 2. Robin Hood; 3. Sherlock Holmes; 4. War of the Worlds; 5. The Invisible Man; 6. Ben Hur; 7.Frankenstein; 8. Alice in Wonderland; 9.The Three Musketeers; 10.The Jungle Book; 11.Christmas Carol and, 12.The Scarlet Letter.

Perhaps most importantly, we should keep in mind that the purpose of the Comic Book medium has always been that of pure entertainment that allows each of us to “escape”, ever so briefly from the confines of our hectic environment. With this thought in mind, is it any wonder that many of today’s most successful film features are derivatives of the comic book?  


Monday, August 13, 2012


By Apple

The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media.  It includes books, magazines, movies, music, games, various software applications and web content.  Its size stands at 9.5" x 7.31" x 0.34" with a 9.7 inch widescreen screen display and weighs in at 1.5 pounds which falls somewhere between the size & weight of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. The iPad runs the same operating system used on Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone which is called iOS (previously iPhone OS); it can run its own applications as well as iPhone applications. 

Like iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad is controlled by a multi-touch display; a departure from most earlier tablet computers, which generally used a pressure-triggered stylus and a virtual onscreen keyboard in lieu of a physical keyboard. The iPad is sold with Wi-Fi capability; the Wi-Fi connection is used to access local area networks and the Internet. 

In December of 2011 you could buy you very own iPad2 for about $399.00 with 16 GB (Gigabyte) of memory capacity. Today (August 2012) the price of the newest iPad (3rd gen) with as much as 64 GB’s runs about $699.00 but there is a 16 GB size available in the new version which is $499.00. If you only need 32 GB’s there’s a model available for $599.00.    However, you might want to visit different stores around your area to compare the prices. Keep in mind while shopping that on average most folks never use even 8 GB’s.

Apple, Inc. reportedly had a five man team working on the iPad design as early as April 3, 2008 but it wasn’t released in the United States until April 3, 2010 and released internationally on May 28, 2010. The iPad 2 was released in the United States on March 11, 2011 and the 3rd generation was released March 16, 2012. 

The new iPad is just that: The iPad updated for a new year for millions of new iPad users. It’s not smaller or lighter, but it’s got an incredible screen, a much better rear camera, plus support for cellular networking that can run at Wi-Fi speeds. 

Current users of the iPad 2 shouldn’t worry: Their iPad investment is good for at least another year. However they probably shouldn’t look too closely at the new iPad’s screen. Arguably, once you see the capacity of the newer screen display, it may be hard to go back to anything else.

Way back when, Alan Curtis Kay (born May 17, 1947) an American computer scientist of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, published a paper in 1972 detailing a device somewhat like Apple’s iPad. Keep in mind that back then, most people had no idea what a personal computer was. There was no Internet back then and visionaries of the time denied that “ordinary” people would ever even use a computer. For example, Ken Olson, founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation (a really big American computer development company from the 1960’s until 1998 when they were purchased by Compact), said in 1977 that “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”

Kay’s paper, you see, discussed a mythical device he called the “Dynabook.” He made a number of predictions, many of which are true of the iPad most recently released by Apple. In his paper, Kay states that “current trends in miniaturization and price reduction almost guarantee that many of the notions discussed will actually happen in the near future.” OK, so “near” didn’t happen for about 38 years, but his predictions are almost scary in how accurate they were, including his price estimate of $500.00 per PC.  In any event as of March 31, 2012 Apple has sold approximately 84.1 million units.