Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scooby-Doo LP


Scooby-Doo and the Mystery of the Strange Paw Prints

Scooby-Doo and the Mystery of the Sticky Money

I had no idea Peter Pan Records ever did a Scooby-Doo record, when in fact they did several, some of which were book-and-record sets, like you see above. Aside from some dodgy artwork (check out Fred there), these stories are pretty close to the animated version, using (to my untrained ears) the same voice cast and some nice artwork on the interiors (which I haven't been able to find complete enough to post here...yet). Sorry about the less-than-stellar audio files, they were the best I could find via YouTube.

Sure, these are not Power Records, but even as a kid I always sort of lumped Scooby-Doo in with the world of superheroes, comics, and sci-fi, probably because they met Batman and Robin, and that was good enough for me! Rooby-rooby-roo!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Star Trek - The Robot Masters


The Robot Masters


In 1979, there was a brief run of new Star Trek book and record sets tied in to The Motion Picture. Using the same voice cast but featuring art (and presumably story) not from Continuity, these four audio adventures were released from Peter Pan, with the Power Records bug nowhere to be found.

Maybe that missing logo was the reason I didn't have much interest in these as a kid, maybe it was the cheapjack covers (a far, far cry away from Neal Adams and friends), or maybe it was the fact that I didn't enjoy the first movie too much--I don't know. In any case, I only heard these particular Trek adventures recently, in preparation for the POWER RECORDS PODCAST and the return of the blog. "The Robot Masters" isn't too bad--it feels like a classic Trek kind of story, though the art included in the comic is...uninspiring, at best.

The history of Power Records is a murky one, so I'm only guessing here, but I think these four Trek movie-related records (The Robot Masters, The Man Who Trained Meteors, Dinosaur Planet, and The Human Factor) were the last new recordings ever done for the slightly older market, the same kids that the Power Records were aimed at. By the early 80s, Peter Pan/Power were simply reissuing the stuff done in the 70s, not producing anything new. So these might have been their swan song.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Spider-Man - Conquistador



Even after years of scholarship on the subject, I had never seen this beautiful 45" sleeve until my POWER RECORDS PODCAST co-host, Chris Franklin, sent it to me in anticipation of our sixth episode, focusing on Spider-Man. It features Spidey as drawn by Neal Adams, which was pretty darn rare thing!

After a grabber of an opening, "Conquistador" turns out to be a pretty good Spider-Man adventure, even if it does spend too much time with weary, wise-cracking cops. Still, the Conquistator does make for a great and completely batty bad guy.

By the way--what is the name of this adventure? Is it just "Conquistador", as seen here, or "Return of the Conquistador" as on the Spider-Man Vol. II LP? Power Records always did play fast and loose with their titles.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Batman - The Scarecrow's Mirage


The Scarecrow's Mirage

The Scarecrow has always been one of my favorite Batman villains. Partly because of the character itself--he's got a great hook and a great look, but also because (IMO) he was so generally ignored, at least compared to The Joker, Catwoman, etc.--he never appeared in the 1960s TV show, and nor did he in the first set of Batman films. 

But Power Records clearly liked him, picking him above bad guys like Two-Face and The Penguin for a shot at audio glory. And they did a really good job on the characterization--whoever plays the Scarecrow sounds like his voice is coming through a burlap sack, a great, creepy touch. The story itself isn't all that scary, but that didn't bother me as a kid, as I played the Batman LP it appeared on over and over.

I never had this single 45" release of it--and that's too bad, because the Neal Adams sleeve is, of course, a killer (no pun intended)!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Superman - The Mxyzptlk-Up Menace


The Mxyzptlk-Up Menace

One of the best Power Record sleeves Neal Adams ever did (and that's saying something), which perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Superman and Mxy. That look of annoyance on the Man of Steel's face at the bottom is priceless.

This audio adventure features a moment where Superman tries to comprehend how to communicate not using vowels--"'Why'? 'Rhythm'? Can't make a sentence out of those words!" For some reason, that sentence has been stuck in my brain since I was seven or eight, and has never left.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back Issue! #36 - "Marvel Monster Records"

I have been fortunate enough to write some articles on the Power Records for TwoMorrows' fine publication Back Issue! In BI #36, an all-monsters issue, I discussed Marvel's "monster" line of records, which you can read here via PDF.

If you're interested in purchasing this or any other issue of BI (and you should be), head over to the TwoMorrows site where every issue of the magazine is available in print and digital form!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Star Trek - LP

Yet another Star Trek Power Record adventure that I somehow missed posting during the blog's first run! This beautifully designed LP features three adventures, all of which appeared in 45" form. Dig that back cover, with an incorrect Uhura and a really pissed-off-looking Enterprise bridge crew!

At first glance, this looks like the work of Neal Adams. But after examining it, it seems more like the work of some combo of Dick Giordano, Sal Almendola, and others from Continuity. No matter who did it, it looks great.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Star Trek - In Vino Veritas

Another Power Record adventure that I somehow missed posting during the blog's first run, "In Vino Veritas" concerns the crew of the Enterprise trying to broker an uneasy (it's always uneasy) agreement with the Klingons and the Romulans. Unbeknownst to any of them, noted troublemaker Coriolanus Quince has spiked the drinks! This leads to lots of uneasy truths between the three sides, none of whom trusted each other to begin with.

Power Records continued its penchant for crafting unusual stories, especially when you consider they were meant for children. This plot is basically about how people drop their guard when they drunk, full stop (with a reference to "giggle weed" for good measure). I dunno, for my money it doesn't sound all that bad. Maybe if I had had this record as a kid, it might have led to a life of alcoholism.

The cover is by Neal Adams, and it's of course quite nice. But I will say one thing--I get the sense Continuity Studios was getting close to the deadline, so someone probably said "Eh, just put a big star pattern in the background, call it a day." Toothbrushes all around!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dr. Strange - The Origin of Dr. Strange


No, this is not a long-lost Power Record! This is a custom book-and-record sleeve I created to go along with an audio track from...the Dr. Strange radio show!

Yes, there was a Dr. Strange radio show. In 1967, an enterprising producer at WBAI in New York decided to put together a Dr. Strange OTR program, complete with a voice cast and sound effects, and give it a go. It didn't last long, and it pretty much completely disappeared from anyone's radar after that.

I never knew it existed until a fan of my Power Records podcast asked me about it, sending along this link to an interview with the creator of the show. My interest, as you might imagine, was piqued! Before I even got a chance to look into it, the followed up with a second email, this time to Booksteve Library's blog, featuring a link to buy CDs of the show! By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!

I listened to the shows (seven episodes across two discs). They're a lot of fun, and really quite true to the spirit of the original Lee/Ditko comics. So then I thought, considering the fact that Power Records occasionally bought up pre-recorded audio tracks and slapped a new album sleeve on them, maybe they would have done the same with Dr. Strange? After all, he did star in a 1978 TV movie, so he probably had enough built-in fame to earn a Power Record, along with fellow TV stars Spider-Man, Captain America, and the Hulk.

So click the track link above to listen to a complete episode of the show, "The Origin of Dr. Strange." If you're like me, you'll want to hear more, so I suggest you head over to Booksteve's Library and order the CDs for yourself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Original Power Records Art by John Romita

Check out this awesome original black and white art by the legendary John Romita, which appeared on the inside front cover to many of the Marvel Power book-and-record sets. When else would you get the chance to see Spider-Man, the Hulk, Dracula, Man-Thing, and the Planet of the Apes all intermingling?!? Click to embiggen, and note the slight changes that were made between Romita's original and the final printed version.
Thanks to Al Bigley's Big Glee! blog for the image!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Spider-Man - Invasion of the Dragon Men Cassette

I really enjoy recording episodes of THE POWER RECORDS PODCAST, and a large reason why is due to my co-host, Chris Franklin (aka Earth-2 Chris). He grew up listening to the Power Records like I did, and he always has numerous fun observations about each audio adventure we profile on the show.

But sometimes he also drops some nerd knowledge on me--case in point, that Power Records released some of their productions on audio cassette! A few episodes back, Chris mentioned he owned "Invasion of the Dragon Men" on tape, which was a total shock to me! I had never seen any Power Record on tape, either in person or on eBay. A little while later, Chris found the tape (see above, oh-so-carefully labeled "Invasion of the Dragon MAN") and was kind enough to send a picture. Sockamagee!

This can't be the only Power Record released in this format, so now of course I'm dying to find others--most likely there's at least a Superman, Batman, and Hulk. The search continues, thanks Chris!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Batman LP



I don't know how I forgot to write about this awesome LP during the first iteration of the blog--it's Batman, it's Neal Adams, and I even own a copy! Not sure what went wrong there.

Anyway, as I mentioned, this second Batman record-only LP has got some amazing sleeve art by Neal Adams--it's unfathomably iconic. The Batmobile makes its first (and only) appearance on a Power Records sleeve, and it looks so exciting here I wish we had a bigger glimpse of it. The only (minor) complaint I have is that, tonally, "Gorilla City" doesn't fit with the rest of the stories, which are darker and grimmer. Probably had something to do with how much material could be fit onto the LP. In any case, a great Power Record!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Aquaman - City On The Edge of Nowhere!

Sadly, this book-and-record set from Power Records does not exist; it's a creation of Tyrone Biljan, who is a whiz at these things. Using Nick Cardy's cover to Aquaman #50, he crafted this little number, coming up with something that I would simply kill to listen to!

And bonus verisimilitude points for using actual interior pages from the comic for the inset, top right. Nice work as usual Tyrone!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Power Records "7 Super Adventures" Gift Set

This is a super-cool, hard-to-find Power Records "Gift Set" that includes seven 45" records featuring the biggest stars of Power Records, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Flash, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, the crew of Star Trek, and of course Aquaman, all rendered by the man, Neal Adams.

I had heard of this set, but had never seen it (even on eBay), until my pal
George Rears got it for me, which was, as usual with him, extraordinarily generous.

There isn't anything in this set that Power Records hadn't released before, but its still a fun little set, and it was nice to see the Aquaman (oh, excuse me, "Aqua Man") record get included, as opposed to other Power Records' stars, like Wonder Woman, the Hulk, or Conan, by Crom.

Thanks George!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Peter Pan Records Display Ad

I found this awesome ad over on my pal Brian Heiler's blog Plaid Stallions. Brian says that he doesn't remember the Peter Pan/Power Records being displayed like this, but I do, sort of: my memory of finding these gems was at department stores like Woolworth's, who kept them on racks similar to what you see above, alongside the comic books (which makes total sense, from a merchandising point of view). This particular ad was designed for the 1978 toy fair.

It's hard to see (Brian has closer pics), but up top there are Welcome Back, Kotter and Laverne and Shirley records! Anyone remember ever seeing those in the real world?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Planet of the Apes - Dawn of the Tree People



Another POTA TV show-centric plot, another stunning Neal Adams cover. "Dawn of the Tree People" features pour intrepid astronauts Burke and Virdon running afoul of a small pocket of surviving humans who live in the swamps, who don't take too well to strangers, to say the least.

Like the other audio adventures from this series, there's a lot more excitement to be found in the premise than in the execution. Maybe when the Power Records folks were contriving their own Apes stories they felt more constrained than when they were adapting the movies, which featured nuclear devastation, lobotomies, gun play, and city-wide ape riots.

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