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Archive of Warren Publishing's Comics-Code-beating transgressive magazines

The Internet Archive has a marvellous trove of scanned work from Warren Publishing, the maverick house behind such classic magazines as Creepy. The introduction of the Comics Code, following Fredeic Wertham's scientific fraud purporting to show a link between comics and crime, gutted comics for half a century. But Warren Publishing avoided the Comics Code altogether by changing formats and publishing as a magazine, bringing us such classics as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Eerie, and Help! magazine (which employed Gloria Steinem!). Here's the Wikipedia summary of Warren's amazing run:

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Comic-strip adaptation of On The Beach from 1957

Zack writes, "In 1957, Nevil Shute's classic anti-nuclear-war novel On The Beach was published -- and the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) put out a heavily-condensed adaptation with art by Ralph Lane that ran in 29 comic strips distributed to newspapers. All 29 strips are collected here -- I found these through a link in an eBay auction that is selling original art to 21 of the 29 strips."

This is one of those novels that brings me to tears no matter how many times I read it -- a powerful and moving piece of minatory fiction that really does the heavy lifting of science fiction with utter brilliance. The comic strip carries some of that freight (as does the 1959 classic film with Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck), but the novel really is the best version by far.

On The Beach (Thanks, Zack!)

Bimbo's Initiation: Max Fleischer's darkest cartoon

The 1931 Max Fleischer cartoon Bimbo's Initiation is a miracle of awesome, fleischerian weirdness. It's the last Betty Boop cartoon that was personally animated by her creator, Grim Natwick. It's so delightfully bizarre (Leonard Maltin called it "the 'darkest of all" of Fleischer's work), and the perfect way to end the weekend.

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Mix-tape spine-art

Steve Vistaunet's Pinterest is a treasure-trove of photos of exuberant cassette spine designs from the gilded age of the mix-tape, ranging from the hand-drawn to early desktop publishing experiments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (via Kadrey)

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Hamburger ad with a haunting grin

Henry's Hamburgers ruled in the 50s-70s but today only one store remains. Hard to believe that a burger chain that makes you smile like that isn't a thriving concern!

Henry's Hamburgers

Scans of The Wiggle Much, esoteric newspaper cartoon from 1910

Billy sez, "As far as we know THE WIGGLE MUCH comic strip ran from March 20, 1910 to June 19, 1910 in THE NEW YORK HERALD newspaper. It laid buried in time until it was partially republished in Dan Nadel's ART OUT OF TIME book in 2006. This website, comprised of microfilm scans of THE NEW YORK HERALD, is the first time most of these WIGGLE MUCH strips have been printed in a large format since their original newspaper publication over a century ago. The entire series has never appeared on the open Internet before.

The Wiggle Much (Thanks, Billy!)

Soviet particle accelerator control panel, 1968

Back in 2009, Dark Roasted Blend rounded up a truly wonderful gallery of ancient, hulking computers, called The Cutting Edge of Retro Tech . Given that retro-tech only gets finer with age, it's fitting to link to it now, especially given this magnificent beast, identified as the 1968 Control Center of the JINR's (Joint Institute of Nuclear Research) synchrophasotron in Dubna, Russia. Hotcha, that is some sweet-ass control panel design

Programmable, 19th century, 6,000-piece automaton: the Writer

The Writer is a 240-year-old automaton in the form of a boy; created by a Swiss clockmaker, he has about 6,000 parts and is programmable. By loading stacks of metal cards, the Writer could be coaxed into writing different letters with a pen that it dipped into an inkwell; the cards also specified the pressure of the pen. The BBC Four documentary Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams produced this beautiful video of the Writer in motion, narrated by Simon Schaffer.

The Writer (via Colossal)

19th century 9lb, 100-blade multitool with a pistol

This 9 lb, 1-foot-diameter "multi tool" was designed as a calling card by the F.W. Holler Company of Solingen, Germany, who were seeking to make a name for German knife manufacturers in Solingen (who had a centuries-long reputation for knifemaking) among the emerging market for Swiss Army Knives. It has 100 "blades," including a .22 revolver. And a straight razor.

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Excellent audio history of the Haunted Mansion

In this episode of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, there's an absolutely delightful history of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion (MP3). The hosts explain how the company wrangled and wrangled for more than a decade, trying to find the right design for a Disneyland haunted house, and how the project that emerged is the synthesis of three warring styles that converged brilliantly.

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Inside MAD: MAD editors, creators and celeb fans introduce their favorite MAD comics

I've always been a sucker for MAD Magazine's anthologies; those fat, floppy-covered book that collected together thematically linked comics from the magazine's history. They were the perfect blend of humor and mystery (when I was nine years old, I was convinced "Spiro Agnew" was some kind of TV clown).

MAD anthologies have grown up with their audience. The latest one, Inside MAD: The "Usual Gang of Idiots" Pick Their Favorite MAD Spoofs, is a gorgeous hardcover that's definitely aimed at adults who fondly remember those old paperbacks.

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Mel Blanc's radio show: 40+ free, downloadable episodes

Zack writes, "In 1947, Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner and other beloved cartoon characters had his own radio show spinning out of his appearances on Jack Benny's program, where he played a fix-it shop owner. More than 40 episodes are available to legally download for free on this page."

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Mad Monster Party: the comic book

Zack sez, "Is there another holiday movie more underrated than the Harvey Kurtzman-scripted 1967 Rankin-Bass stop-motion classic MAD MONSTER PARTY? If you haven't experienced it yet, sample this adaptation by Dell (no artist credits are given, though it was adapted from Kurtzman's screenplay). Nothing can compare to the film, but it still retains some of the original's charm. The adaptation is in two parts (Part 2 is here)

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Pole-climbing class for telephone electricians, 1914

This is a photo of telephone electricians learning to climb poles in 1914. There's a WWI pole/Pole joke to be made here, but I leave that as an exercise to the reader. In any event, these dudes are living the dream.

Pole-climbing class for telephone electricians

Curiously vampiric teeth of untreated syphilis sufferers

This 1863 image from the Wellcome Trust illustrates a distinctly vampiric set of "Syphilitic malformations of the permanent teeth" -- makes you wonder if the visual image of the vampire was inspired by the widespread horrors of untreated syphilis (for an exceptionally visceral window into a society wracked by untreated syphilis, have a look at the Mutter Museum's display of syphilitic skulls).

L0021139 “Syphilitic malformations of the permanent teeth”. (via JWZ)