Friends, if you take just a few moments to look out your window – you might possibly see a giant signal light reflecting off the clouds over the city. There is no cause for alarm, that is just the usual way that the latest Super Blog Team-Up is convened – a call for the best artists, podcasters, and bloggers to come together once more to discuss matter relating to comic book and pop culture related properties. Although for this particular Super Blog Team-Up, the group has been split into two teams to tackle separate themes – the Red Team have chosen to discuss Creators like Steve Gerber (Howard the Duck) and Carl Barks (Uncle $crooge). While my fellow Gold Team members and I have decided to answer Uatu the Watcher‘s recent question… what if?
While my contribution to this latest Super Blog Team-Up has a connection to comic books – to be honest it is a tenuous one at best – although a surprisingly significant one. I am going to be speculating what if a television series for The Sinister Dr. Phibes had been picked up – an idea that appears to have been on the table at one point. Based on the character created by William Goldstein and portrayed by the legendary Vincent Price in 1971’s The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again – which was released the following year.
Which leads us to the genesis of this article, it appears that back in 2007 – an eBay auction generated some buzz – as it was presentation art by none other than Jack “King” Kirby for something called The Sinister Dr. Phibes. In truth it wasn’t even completely inked but if you are familiar with the beautiful artwork of the late and great Jack Kirby – you know that doesn’t detract from how amazing it truly is. As a matter of fact you can check it out for yourself – courtesy of a 2011 article from the Kirby Museum.
The artwork was found and sold on eBay by Jeremy Kirby, the Grandson of Jack Kirby – who as I’ve read online assumed it was artwork meant to drum up interest for the 1972 film. Back in 2007 when that auction took place – some fans hypothesized that the artwork was for a pitch by Jack Kirby for a Saturday morning animated series. As Kirby of course was known for working with the likes of Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears, and DePatie-Freleng – producing production artwork for characters featured in the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian, Space Stars, Turbo Teen, and others – that was not an unreasonable assumption.
This was not the case for The Sinister Dr. Phibes however as it was intended to be a live action television series on NBC, with the information I have found online strongly suggesting that Goldstein even delivered a spec script detailing how such a TV show would play out. Instead of wrecking havoc on those who he felt responsible for his Wife’s death or attempting to secure the secrets of eternal life – each episode would find Phibes would strike at those he felt deserve punishment for some specific wrongdoing. The good doctor would use disguises to get closer to his victims – then dispatch them by using his fiendish inventions – all personalized to the individual target.
What if The Sinister Dr. Phibes television series had been picked up though? In my mind’s eye, it would not only feature Vincent Price but would now paint the character as an antihero. Having made good his escape with his beloved Victoria, returning her to life, they are now globetrotting and dispatching various lawbreakers, murderers, and criminals that cross their path.
As the proposed TV series is believed to have been around 1972 – that means that the Mission: Impossible television show was on the air – so perhaps Phibes and Victoria would likewise target the mafia, dictators, and those abusing the weak?
In addition I think a team of law enforcement officials would be created to track down and capture Phibes and Victoria – always arriving mere moments after the duo have departed to a new city. Even better though, The Sinister Dr. Phibes would reveal that one of the targeted doctors from the 1971 film… has survived… and is intent on using his vast resources to hire numerous assassins to dispatch Phibes and his Wife.
And that is how I picture what The Sinister Dr. Phibes TV series would be like – if it had been picked up and produced. I would love to hear your ideas though in the comments section for how you feel it might have played out.
The Super Blog Team-Up fun is far from over though – make sure to check out the work of my fellow members:
Between the Pages: Scrooge McDuck Tales Woo-Hoo!
Comics Comics Comics: Sergio Argones – It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World
In My Not So Humble Opinion: Kurt Schaffenberger, The Definite Lois Lane Artist Of The Silver Age
Magazines and Monsters!: Comic Book’s Unsung Heroes! Steve Gerber!
The Source Material podcast: What If Captain Confederacy
The Superhero Satellite: What If Peter Parker Became Speedball Instead Of Spider-Man?
Comic Reviews by Walt: What If The Ultraverse Had Continued?
The Telltale Mind: Arak, Son Of Thunder A Lost Adventure