Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture

written and designed by Mark Voger  (TwoMorrows Publishing)

(NOTE: This is kinda Part Two of a discussion of recent books and other media about the 1960s that have recently appeared or are in the pipeline (like ready to be ordered in the new July 2017 Diamond Previews). Part One can be found over at the other place I occasionally write at, Comics Worth Reading.)

KC wearing a groovy hat

KC wearing a groovy hat

A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture

Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture

Mark Vogler’s Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture is a great companion book to Michael Eury’s Hero-A-Go-Go, only a little more so, as its scope is broader, covering far more topics than just comic books (albeit it does discuss some positively insane comics). Speaking as somebody who actually lived through the sixties (yet didn’t really completely understand it until a decade or two later), the revolution that was happening in comic books was relatively minor to what was happening in other media (especially films, TV, and music), as well as even further far-out concepts including politics (both international and domestic), the sexual revolution, drug culture, and other stuff. (As they say, “If you remember the sixties, you weren’t really there…” What’s fascinating about this slogan is that nobody seems to remember who actually said it in the first place. There are a lot of candidates, however… So it’s a good thing there are books like this one.)

But this stuff is even farther out than Groovy’s reach. What Groovy seeks to do is cover the world of pop culture — concentrating heavily on movies, TV, and music, as well as comic books and cartoons. Plus other “of their time” phenomena like Psychedelia, Festivals, and the Summer of Love in general.


In Groovy, you can learn all about 1960s music: The Beatles and all their classic mid-60s albums, including Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, just to name three; The Beach Boys, especially their classic Pet Sounds album; and The Rolling Stones’ odd (but of its time) Their Satanic Majesties Request (unlike any of their other albums). Dozens of other artists and their work are examined, including Tommy James and the Shondells (local heroes around where I live for performing “Mony Mony”); The Cowsills (the original family band, who sang “We Can Fly”); Paul Revere and the Raiders (“Kicks”), who were major teenybop stars who actually evolved musically (not that anybody noticed); The Turtles (“Happy Together”), the hugely harmonic and sweetest sounding band around (as well as the most sardonically humorous!); and The Lovin’ Spoonful (“Summer in the City”), The Rascals (“Good Lovin’”), Donovan (“Mellow Yellow”), The Grass Roots (“Let’s Live for Today”), and more!

That’s the popside! If you like your ‘60s music a bit more serious, there’s also Cream, The Doors, The Byrds, Steppenwolf, The Moody Blues, and The Zombies.


It's the Banana Splits!

It’s the Banana Splits!

Groovy ‘60s TV shows include Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (an amazing show that defined its generation), The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (the first political/variety show?), Batman (twice weekly — holy cliff-hanger!), The Green Hornet (not as cool as Batman, but Bruce Lee!), The Monkees (you know, they really did make their own records!), The Brady Bunch (the suburban King Family — a joke no one will get), H.R. Pufnstuf (What the heck was he?), and my faves, The Banana Splits (Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky! — the furry Beatles!).


The ‘60s in film was all over the place, but there’s a special corner of film history that celebrates the Teen Exploitation flicks from the late sixties. These include Riot on Sunset Strip, The Trip, Psych-Out, Wild in the Streets, and probably dozens (hundreds?) more. The cult classics from this era that are actually worth watching repeatedly include Easy Rider, the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, and (don’t laugh) the Monkees in Head — easily the most misunderstood (and misinterpreted) film from this era. Must-see concert flicks from this era include Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and the earlier (and occasionally forgotten) high-energy The Tami Show.


Showcase #69

Showcase #69

The biggest (and oddest) 1960s comic book titles are also investigated here. DC Comics (who were notoriously slow to change with the times) famously produced The All-New Wonder Woman, completely changing the character when she is forced to give up her powers to remain on Earth. I’m not sure if Brother Power, The Geek is in this book… but it should be! It’s a comic that needs to be seen to be believed!

Of course, the 1960s revolutionized Marvel Comics, reviving Golden Age classics (Captain America, Sub-Mariner) and creating new characters (Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and even the X-Men, who wouldn’t really catch on for another decade…). Former Marvel guys Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko are interviewed for this book! Plus, the ‘60s were responsible for a new kind of comic book material with the advent of the so-called Underground Comics — which are also overviewed here. But if you really want to see both the grooviest and the grodiest 60s trends in four-color glory, the Archie family of comic books is your best stop to see how much the world changed in fashion, music, education — and in one famous story Archie actually gets drafted!


More information about Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture can be found at author Mark Vogel’s Blog.

And the first 40 pages of the book can be found here.

Groovy reading!

Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture will be published in October, but it’s being solicited for pre-ordering now! (Vogel also wrote 2015’s Monster Mash book — also published by TwoMorrows — which covered all things mysterious, spooky, and all together ooky!)


KC CARLSON once dreamed he was on The Banana Splits Show. Unfortunately, that was just last night. Uh Oh, Chongo!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. I think I’ll go for a walk outside now. The summer sun’s callin’ my name…


Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed In Pop Culture