Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wonder Woman - The Prisoner of Christmas Island


Prisoner of Christmas Island

Power Records re-purposed (of course they did) two of the three Christmas-themed stories they produced featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as solo 45" releases, with new sleeve art (in this case, it looks like the work of Dick Giordano to me) on both the front and back. With the Santa-driven piece on the back cover, I'm guessing these were all released in October and November, trying to cash in on the lucrative Christmas shopping season.

Strangely, I have yet to find the Batman story--"Christmas Carol Caper"--as a separate 45", which makes no sense to me at all. Batman was a big Power Records star, and they had the material on hand, so...? I guess that will be another question I have to find the answer to when I work on my as-yet-started Power Records coffee table book.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wonder Woman - The Return of Brunhilde


The Return of Brunhilde

All five of the stories from Songs and Stories About The Justice League of America LP were reissued as 45"s, but only Wonder Woman got one all to herself. I don't have this actual record, so I'm not sure what, if anything, Power Records did to fill the grooves, since this story is about the same length as the ones starring Aquaman, Flash, Metamorpho, and Plastic Man.

As always, wonderful (heh), iconic sleeve art by Neal Adams.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Scooby-Doo and the Mystery of the Rider Without A Head


Scooby-Doo and the Mystery of the Rider Without A Head

Another Scooby-Doo book-and-record adventure, with quite the ungainly title. When I first saw it I thought it was a Headless Horseman/Ichabod Crane thing, which would have been cool. Instead, it takes place at a rodeo, which is not a location you associate with "spooky." Although I do love the Women's Lib angle they worked in--pretty darn modern, though I always got the sense the Power Records people were overall a fairly progressive bunch.

I couldn't find decent scans of the interior book, but you can listen and see the pages as they go by on YouTube.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spider-Man - The Mad Hatter of Manhattan


The Mad Hatter of Manhattan

Featuring some of the dodgiest sleeve art of any Power Record, "Mad Hatter of Manhattan" was a reissue from the The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. II LP, which featured this audio adventure plus four other tracks. The back cover's not so bad (it looks like a trace of a John Buscema Spider-Man to me), but man that front cover...hoo boy!

These sleeve scans courtesy Sean Keating and his Power Records Pinterest Page. Thanks Sean!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Back Issue! #44 - "Spider-Man Power Records"

I wrote a second article on the Power Records for TwoMorrows' Back Issue!, in this case #44, the all-Spider-Man issue, 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!

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 - Three Exciting New Complete Stories

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 for being the blog's first Power Pal!

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