Sunday, December 10, 2017

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft by The Carpenters

'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'
by The Carpenters
Fall 1977

The apogee of 70s Cheese..........or over seven minutes of an imaginative musical vision, that reflected the tenor of the times ? 

Or perhaps, a bit of both ?

The song was originally written and released in 1976 by the obscure Canadian progressive rock group 'Klaatu'. The Carpenters decided to release a cover, which required the services of 160 musicians, for their 1977 album Passages

Released as a single in September 1977, 'Calling Occupants' and its evocation of benevolent aliens was just right for a year that saw the advent of Star Wars in May, and the much-hyped release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in November.

I remember listening to 'Calling Occupants' on the radio in those long-ago days 40 years ago. I couldn't decide if it was one of the cheesiest songs I'd ever heard, or whether it was in fact a work of singular vision and artistic imagination. Listen....... and make up your own mind..............?!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Marvel Super Special

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Marvel Super Special No. 3
Illustrated by Walt Simonson and Klaus Johnson, story adaptation by Archie Goodwin
Marvel / Curtis 1978

Designed to coincide with the November, 1977 release of the feature film, this Marvel Super Special labored under a number burdens in its execution. For one thing, the Marvel team lacked the rights to the likenesses of the major characters. According to Archie Goodwin, the studio's insistence on pre-release secrecy also meant that the Marvel team had to rely solely on the script, and a short promotional clip, as the entirety of their visual references. Making things worse, the comic was forbidden from showing the aliens in any detail. It's not surprising that artist Walt Simonson called the assignment "the worst experience of my comics career".

There's also no overlooking the fact that as a movie, Close Encounters was underwhelming. Compared to Star Wars, which had transformed sci-fi cinema just 6 months previously, it often was plodding and dull. 

To hold the interest of the comic readers, Simonson wasn't above working in some selected T & A, courtesy of 'Mom' character Jillian Guiller, who seems to have a wardrobe consisting solely of cutoff jean shorts, and a tendency to be framed from interesting points of view even when carrying out the most mundane of household chores.......

Anyways, with the 40th anniversary of the film at hand, it seems right to present the entirety of the commemorative issue of Marvel Super Special No. 3. While there are a number of websites offering scans of this issue, I used a 200 dpi resolution to give the images a (hopefully) superior clarity.

 Enjoy this flashback of vintage 70's sci-fi........