Monthly Archives: July 2011

Elvis Presley to Become a Comic Book Hero

The above title was the heading of a recent news announcement on the official Elvis website,



The announcement heralded a new oversized coffee-table book called Graphic Elvis, a collaboration between EPE and Liquid Comics.  Elvis’ love of comic book superheroes is credited as the inspiration for the Graphic Elvis.  As a teenager, Elvis was a huge fan of Captain Marvel Jr., who influenced his hairstyle, his TCB lightning logo, and his colorful jumpsuits and capes.


On the tour through Elvis’ boyhood home at Lauderdale Courts, a Captain Marvel Jr. comic book is visible on the nightstand in his bedroom.  Graphic Elvis features original artwork by leading international graphic artists and is praised as an homage to Elvis’ lifelong appreciation of comic books.

The press release also quoted part of Elvis’ acceptance speech at the “Ten Outstanding Young Men” in 1971:      

“When I was a child, I was a dreamer.  I read comic books, and I was the hero…”

I think Graphic Elvis will be a terrific book, and I would love to have one, but I vowed years ago not to buy any more Elvis stuff.  The book is priced at $195, which may put it out of reach for many fans.  However, it will have a limited printing of just 2,500 copies, so I’m sure it will sell out.  Graphic Elvis is available by mail-order here, and it will ship in time for Christmas.  According to, if you buy before the end of August, you can use the discount code ELVIS FANS and get a $50 discount.  Graphic Elvis will also be in stores by early April 2012.

Some of the artwork has been included in the media reports.  Let’s look at a few.  The triple Elvis drawing above is good work, but all three images show him in familiar attire.  I’m not sure about the relevance to comic book superheroes.


Artwork by Mukesh Singh for Liquid Comics

This image is really clever.  You see young Elvis sitting on the floor surrounded by comic books.  Then a swirling vortex of comics rises above him and morphs into some kind of Arabian Nights hero.


 Artwork by Jeevan J Kang for Liquid Comics

The next two images certainly capture the essence of Elvis in all his jumpsuit splendor.  The one on the right could possibly be a caped crusader ready to leap into action, but the one on the left appears to simply be Elvis performing on stage.


Artwork by Mukesh Singh for Liquid Comics

This one is my favorite.  Look closely and you can make out young Elvis playing guitar at the bottom.  His superhero powers must be in all those tentacle-like things coming out of the guitar.  The press release did not give the titles of these pictures, and I can’t imagine what they will call this, either.  One thing for sure, if any bad guys try to mess with this Elvis, they will be asking for trouble.

After seeing the sneak preview of some of the images from Graphic Elvis, I wondered what else is out on the internet that portrays Elvis as a comic book superhero.  Here are a some good ones.



Stone Cold Elvis

The Winged Avenger


The Masked E-Man


Fluid Man



Undead Elvis 




Elvis Klingon Master (and his cute sidekick)


Rock Star Android (with very large sock stuffed in his pants)


In fairness to Graphic Elvis, it gives a modern generation of artists a chance to create works inspired by Elvis’ music, his personal and public appearances, and the many reflections on life that he jotted down in books.  So, the artwork will cover a lot more than comic book heroes.

Maybe EPE could put together a smaller, cheaper book of just superhero-inspired Elvis art.  I might have to break my vow and buy that one.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Rupert Murdock's Tabloid World and Elvis

If you follow the news, you certainly know about the cell phone hacking scandal involving the British tabloid News of the World.  When billionaire publisher Rupert Murdock saw how bad the mess was, he took the drastic step of closing down his paper.



The current issue of Time Magazine has a cover story that digs into the history of Murdock and his media empire.  One illustration for the story was a shot of his six tabloid papers.


When I saw that one of them was The Star, I remembered my collection of supermarket tabloids with cover stories about Elvis.  Dozens of them came out in the two years after Elvis died, including at least nine published by The Star.  That’s how many I purchased years ago from an aging Elvis fan.  Here they are in the order of their appearance.


September 6, 1977                                                                          September 20, 1977



October 25, 1977                                                                                December 20, 1977      


January 31, 1978                                                                             May 2, 1978



August 15, 1978                                                                              

November 28, 1978 

April 10, 1979

As you can see by the cover story titles, these issues of The Star treated Elvis in a sympathetic and positive manner — themes like family, wedding photos, love letters, and Christmas.  Priscilla is pictured prominently on four of the covers.  The only cover story that disappoints me is the first one – Elvis: What Happened

That is of course the title of the hatchet job book authored by three Elvis body guards and released just two weeks before his death.  The Star printed an excerpt from one of the most gruesome sections in the book.  A sub-title across the top of one page said, “Elvis was sprawled across the bed, gasping… the girl’s eyes were like glass marbles.”  You get the idea.

However, this was followed by a beautiful two-page pictorial tribute showcasing seven large color shots of Elvis though the years.  I wondered why they would diminish this nice feature with the junk from the book.  Then I noticed a footnote.  It said that Elvis: What Happened? was copyrighted by World News Corp, which was owned by Rupert Murdock.

Murdock had an uncanny knack for knowing how to make money, so we shouldn’t be surprised he was behind that sorry exposé about Elvis.  It’s a good thing cell phone technology wasn’t around during the 70s, or Murdock’s minions probably would have hacked into Elvis’ phone looking for more dirt.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Bad Hair Day / Good Hair Day — You Call It

My friend Alan Hanson writes a wonderful blog about Elvis Presley.  The Elvis-History-Blog is well researched and it’s full of interesting and informative articles.

Above is Alan’s blog for this week.  He and I have often come up with similar ideas, but usually they are years apart after time has dulled our memory of the other’s work.  This week we both independently decided to do a blog on Elvis’ hair.  One thing I especially like about Alan’s story is this quote by Red West from his book Elvis, What Happened?:  “That hair has always been [Elvis’] crowning glory. I have never known any other human to take more time over his hair.  He would spend hours on it, smoothing, mussing it up and combing it and combing it again.”

With that much concern for his hair, you would think Elvis had nothing but good hair days.  However, as you will see here, he had some bad days, too.  Also included are some shots where you might have to think about whether you would label them bad hair of good hair days for Elvis.



Here are two easy ones.  Mid-seventies Elvis looked good in his long hair and enormous sideburns.   The picture on the right looks pretty rough, but in fairness to Elvis, it was taken after a strenuous karate workout.  A good shower and shampoo plus some of that relentless smoothing and combing certainly had it looking sharp again.



Here are two young Elvis shots.  In that iconic photo on the left, that we have all seen many times, it looks like Elvis worked on his hair quite a bit.  Larry Geller, Elvis’ long-time hairdresser, has written about how unruly his hair was.  In the second photo, it looks like Elvis’ hair had a mind of its own and rebelled about being slicked into place.


Speaking of slicked down hair, how do you like the left shot?  Red West also wrote, “The handfuls of Vaseline he put on it made it look much darker than it was.”  Elvis had a few handfuls on his hair the day this photo was snapped.  The other picture shows Elvis with a more natural look.



Most folks would agree that Elvis never looked better than when he appeared in the ’68 Comeback Special.  However, after several hours of filming, his hair was falling in his face a good bit.  I don’t care.  He still looks great to me.  A quick look at the picture with Tom Jones makes it seem Elvis had a huge mop of hair.  Look closely, and you can see that much of it is just the shadow from the photographer’s flashbulb.



Here are two photos of Elvis in Hawaii, one from 1973 and one from 1956.  He looks to have been outside in both shots, but the wind was probably blowing only in the 1956 shot.



The wind most likely was responsible for this unusual look to Elvis’ hair as he captained a boat on vacation.  It seems like Priscilla wasn’t too keen on having sea air blowing through her hair.

Here’s another photo of Elvis and Priscilla, plus cute little Lisa.  There are some other photos from this family setting floating around on the internet, and Elvis’ hair looks good in all of them.

This is a Photoshopped picture.  You can tell the sunglasses were added, because Elvis did not wear this type sunglasses in the 70s.  They are not like the custom designed models he favored and spent a lot of money on.  The hair is real, however, and it was a good hair day when the original photo was taken.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis' First Trip to Las Vegas was a Blast

A few weeks ago, when I was reviewing pictures in my files for the recurring feature Postscripts to Earlier Elvisblogs, there were several photos from Elvis’ first appearance in Las Vegas.  That was his two-week engagement at the New Frontier Hotel’s Venus Showroom from April 23 to May 6, 1956.

I tried to find the original ElvisBlog article to check out just what pictures had been used to illustrate the story.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t find the article.  I freaked out until finally remembering that the story hadn’t been used on the blog.  Rather, I submitted it to Elvis International magazine, and it was published in July 2010.

The editor, Darwin Lamm, decided not to use any of the photos I submitted with the story.  They were mostly small low-resolution pictures that work OK in a blog but not in a first-class magazine that mostly uses full-page photos.  Darwin got four good ones from EPE to illustrate the story.

So, now I get to pick from both my original photos and the newer ones to illustrate a blog article on how much fun Elvis had during his first stint as a Vegas performer.

Elvis on Stage (nice bowties)


There are a few photos that show how Elvis spent his daytime hours at the New Frontier.

DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and Elvis Poolside at the New Frontier Hotel


Elvis with a Fan Out on the Vegas Strip


Elvis and Two More Fans at the Hotel Pool


Elvis in Front of Huge Poster Advertising His First Las Vegas Appearance


There do not seem to be any photographs chronicling what Elvis did at night after his performances at the New Frontier.  However, a 1956 Associate Press story by Steve Kanigher in the Las Vegas Sun states, “Presley enjoyed the Las Vegas nightlife… Presley and his posse would stay up all night and hit the shows.”

How do you like this quote about Elvis from long-time friend and partying pal Joe Esposito?  “He enjoyed Vegas tremendously because this was the only town you could do 24 hours a day.”  Of course, Joe was describing Elvis in the 70s, but it seems Elvis' love of Las Vegas nightlife started in 1956.

The Las Vegas Sun story added a revealing line about Elvis and the guys going backstage after some shows:  “They were constantly surrounded by showgirls.”   That’s probably one perk Elvis arranged for himself with no help from Col. Parker.


Elvis sent this New Frontier Hotel postcard to his friend and Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips.   Part of the message on the other side was, “I hope you can make it out here before they fire me.  It sure is crazy out here.”

I’ll bet it was… and Elvis enjoyed every minute of it.


©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved


Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc

Happy 4th of July, Elvis





©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.