Everyone knows who Iron Man is. Everyone knows what planet Superman hails from. Everyone has seen Mel Brooks’s film parody Young Frankenstein. However, few people know the origins and backstory of a lot of these familiar bastions of comic and horror genres. That’s why we’re celebrating the less well-known illustrators, actors, and creators who have continuously shaped the course of cinema and pop culture by highlighting a few pieces of exclusive signed memorabilia we have on hand! Continue reading to find out what we have lurking behind the scenes at our storefront and discover something you didn’t know about your favorite comics and movies.
1. The Shadow Comic Signed by Alex Ross
Alex Ross made his artistic debut when he was just a toddler at the tender age of three, sketching images from television commercials. By the time he was thirteen years old, Ross was already drawing and scripting comics of his own creation, whose realistic style added depth and complexity to a number of canonized characters. Nearly every popular superhero known to man has been painted by Ross, including characters that did not originate in the more familiar DC and Marvel universes, such as The Shadow, one of the most influential characters of the Pulp Era with his black cloak and brooding voice. Remind you of anyone? DC’s iconic superhero Batman, the Dark Knight of Gotham City, was actually inspired by The Shadow!
2. Happy Days Original Production Script Signed by Heather O’Rourke
Despite her tragically short career, Heather O’Rourke made her indelible mark on Hollywood film and television history by the age of twelve. Discovered by Steven Spielberg when she was just five years old, O’Rourke infamously beat out Drew Barrymore for the role of Carol-Anne Freeling in his memorable 1982 film Poltergeist. Most notably, her line “They’re here,” ranks number sixty-nine on the AFI’s comprehensive list of 100 top movie quotes of all time. Less noteworthy, O’Rourke also had a recurring role as Heather Pfister on the hit series Happy Days in the early 80s. Spanning a whopping eleven seasons, Happy Days is one of ABC’s longest-running television shows that captured the nostalgia of American life in the 1950s for more than a decade.
3. Superman Poster Signed by Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster, and Kirk Alyn
Clark Kent has been a household name for decades; however, his co-creators have somehow eluded the spotlight of history altogether, known almost exclusively in the circles of comic aficionados. What many people don’t know about Superman’s origins is that Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster first envisioned him as a villain! A 1933 comic entitled the “Reign of Superman” presents him as a Frankensteinian science experiment who kills his creator and plots to take over the world. Superman’s character development was later spun into a “good guy” mold, taking on his now iconic identity as the glasses-wearing, somewhat squarish Clark Kent character. Siegel and Schuster later sold the rights to Superman to DC Comics in 1939 for a paltry $130! Fast forward a decade and Kirk Alyn becomes the first actor to embody the character of Superman on the silver screen.
4. The AvX Comic Signed by Stan Lee
The late Stan Lee’s death shook the comic book world to its core in 2018. The popular Avengers, X-Men, and Iron Man film franchises would not have been possible today were it not for his inspiring interplanetary worlds and genre-bending imagination. By name, Marvel Comics was begun in 1961 with the introduction of the Fantastic Four, quickly followed by Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and X-Men. Lee’s characters were noteworthy and memorable as being a strange concoction of humanity, vulnerability, and supernatural ability. The Avengers vs. X-Men series was a twelve-issue twice-monthly series first published in April 2012 that centered around a fictitious war between characters from each franchise and also boasted the return of the Phoenix Force. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, the series dominated the charts for six successive months.
5. Index Card Signed by Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr.
With Hollywood’s transition from silent films to “talkies,” Universal Studios began making a cycle of horror flicks in the 1930s that forever shaped the history of horror cinema for years to come. Boris Karloff, now a household name, became famous worldwide for sympathetically portraying the monster in the adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic British novel Frankenstein. He went on to star in other horror films such as The Old Dark Horse and The Mummy, but is perhaps most remembered for his late-career TV voice performance in the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Lon Chaney, Jr. was the only actor to portray the “big four” monsters on the big screen: The Mummy, the Wolf, Frankenstein, and (everyone’s favorite vampire) Dracula. His illustrious career spanned four decades and continues to capture the minds and hearts of even the most avid horror enthusiasts.