Friday, July 30, 2010

And the room exploded with applause

"...And herewith introduce to this body for consideration to render into law Bill H5150, in which any person found to be using homeopathic remedies will be considered a danger to themselves and others and be remanded for psychiatric counseling and physical health maintenance by an accredited medical practitioner until such time as they are no longer deemed a threat to their own person, or in the case of communicable illness or mental impairment of judgment or behavior, to the public."
Not real but I can dream. Of course, if anything as awesome as dropping the hammer on the billions of dollars a year fake medicine industry ever really occurred Faux News would start shrieking that the Obama administration was trying to outlaw the drinking of water.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Universities Dictionary Illustrated (1922)

Pages from New Universities Dictionary Illustrated (1922). The book is all but disintegrated from age and weathering but I managed to save the artwork. No artist information can be found in the book though there seems to be a signature on the Plumage page. I can't determine if that is the artist name or the previous owner of the book.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A woody wagon is a surfin' goodie

Like most kids of the early 1960s I was an avid watcher of Bozo's Circus hosted by Bozo the Clown. Similarly like most kids I really, really wanted to win Bozo's Treasure Box of toys, not knowing I had to be present on the set to have any sort of success in doing so. Millions of kids wanted to be on the show but the bleachers only held about thirty seats so odds were that would never happen for most.

Yet, Bozo wasn't a mean clown so the show also held contests that the local stations over America that carried the show could attach to the program so the kids at home wouldn't be left out. Most of the millions of viewing children didn't have the resources to travel to Chicago to sit on the bleachers under the big tent. Eventually the majority of the children watching would have realized they had no chance of winning anything and would quit mailing in those cards and letters so involving the syndicated stations with contests was a really good idea.

Being typical, I entered one of those mail-in contests, had the post card sent off and promptly forgot about it. Sure, I watched the show but I was a kid. There were plenty of things to do in Saginaw in my youth. Play in the orchard, swim in the creek, explore the cattail swamp forest, try to cajole the semi-wild horses in the neighbor's field to come up to the fence and climb around the giant cubes of crushed scrap metal stacked in the back of the Eaton plant. We didn't have hundreds of television channels and computers and video games to play with. Mostly we had nature for that.

Then one day a month or after I had mailed off the entry to the television station I entered my Kindergarten class. Everybody started yelling when they saw me. After Mrs. Hill, the teacher, quieted everyone down she told my classmates and I that I had won one of the local Bozo the Clown contests. I was surprised since I don't recall seeing the show the previous day but all the kids new. Even my teacher claimed to have watched the show entirely by accident. She had turned the television on but wasn't wearing her glasses so she couldn't see what station she was tuned into. Mrs. Hill told us she was turning channels and heard heard my name and hers being announced, saying we had won a drawing from the Bozo show.

The prizes were a corsage for my teacher and a 45 record for myself. I was a kindergarten celebrity! While what we won may not seem like much now today's equivalent would be like clicking a spam banner on a website and actually winning an ipod instead of a come on or a computer virus. Everyone in the class was really pleased about us winning except for Vicky. She seemed a little jealous and managed to swipe and break my blue pencil that had the square eraser in the white base on the end. I really liked that pencil. Pretty soon the entire class forgot about the news and moved on to other things.

Eventually my record arrived in the mail and I played the heck out of it. I even took it to school to play in the classroom. The recordings on the 45 consisted of surf music, something that was all over the radio in the 1960s. There was a peppy vocal tune on the A side and an instrumental on the flip side of the record. The record was published by the Legend label (LEG-124) in 1963. The A side tune is What Is Surfin' All About by Jerry Norell and the The Beach Girls. The B side is the instrumental Salt Water Taffy by Morty Jay and The Surfin' Cats.

Being in Saginaw, Michigan I only had the vaguest notion of what the ocean was really like and exactly what surfing was as an activity. Not many people surfed in Lake Erie. The water, when not whipped up into foaming death swells by apocalyptic storms, had a tendency to melt fiberglass and plastic. Surf movies didn't play much in that part of the country either and my parents weren't the sort to take us to that kind of flick anyways. I was aware surf music existed from the radio but my household was usually filled with the sounds of instrumentals and Elvis. My only real exposure to music other than full orchestras and The Pelvis was from television or my uncles. They listened to a lot of the new stuff coming from the emerging rock scene and while I liked it they didn't appreciate me hanging around because my incessant questions kind of interfered with their weed smoking and listening pleasure.

I kept the 45 as a treasured memento of youth and it moved along with me to California. It still remains in storage though it is heavily scratched from years of use. Still played great though. A copy of the record is extremely difficult to locate in pristine condition and demands a pretty high price for what it is, probably due more to the rarity of the record than the quality of the artists. Information on the production and artists is nearly non-existent and I have no idea how many of the records were pressed. To make a search all the more frustrating many of the available resources routinely get the names of the songs and artists in error. I'm sure this is from a sort of "Purple Monkey Dishwasher" error through repetition. Since fact-checking is difficult the errors were perpetuated through many sources so it is here I set the record straight.

The story of how a copy of this obscure 45 was made available as a prize from Bozo's Circus out of Chicago is probably forever lost to time, but that's okay. It's all about the music, anyways. Today for your listening enjoyment here is a tune that probably hasn't been heard by anyone, anywhere other than a hard-core 45 collector in more than 40 years.

Cowabunga, Moon-Doggies!



FYI, check the street-view of that map in the Saginaw link. That hedge of bushes? Straight outta Satan's garden. I don't know what that plant is called but it is the best natural deterrent to bad guys and revenuers entering a property next to a flaming moat filled with rabid T-Rexes. When I read Sleeping Beauty I easily imagined the impenetrable hedge that imprisoned her castle was somehow magically duplicated at my house. It is that evil. The hedge is dense, tough and sends out long roots that extend for several yards in all directions just under the surface of the earth, from which project upwards wicked, long and nearly unbreakable thorns that easily penetrate the thickest leather. Many people with both nasty intent and good intentions limped away from the property after failing to circumvent The Hedge. My own mother recalls running afoul of them on several occasions in her youth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How To Read Tea Leaves

It is refreshing to see an Archie Comics feature even as old as this one actively discouraging superstitious belief and practices even though they go about it by insulting the reader in a self-aware "We're So Stupid We're Cool" sort of way. This short (probably drawn by Ernie Colon) predates the long period when the Archie cast was used as an arm of the similarly faux-magical Cult of Suffering propaganda division.

From Archie's Mad House #10 (February 1961).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Futura - Chapter 22

Planet Comics #64 (Spring 1950) marks the finale to the Futura Saga. It took far longer to get there then I originally planned but the Planet Comics issues I was seeking are pretty rare and hard to get a hold of. Fortunately there are friends and other resources that allowed me to fill in the gaps in her story. This issue is one of those online copies floating around.

For those readers not patient enough to click through her entire tale, here is some back story:

Futura's tale began in Planet Comics issue #43 in July of 1946. Secretary Marcia Reynolds is kidnapped from Earth and enslaved for medical experiments by the Brain-Men of Pan-Cosmos. She escapes, a bit too easily in fact, and steals a ship intending to head back to Earth. Unknown to Marcia Reynolds, now called Futura by her captors, her escape is being carefully monitored to measure her suitability for inclusion into the Pan-Cosmos genome.

Forced into situations that test her mettle, Futura evades her intended fate and gains allies, makes enemies and is a central witness to the fact that messiahs can be dangerous to your health. As her story continues, Futura becomes a wild card and her presence as a destabilizing threat to the status quo could not be tolerated by those in power. Fortunately for Futura the fragmented leaders of occupied space are corrupt, lazy and not used to rebellion from their cowed populace. Futura meets every challenge, fighting back ferociously and without hesitation.

For Futura does not just defeat an opponent, no. She utterly destroys an enemy by erasing their entire culture leaving them without a power base. What remains when she is done renders them in a state where they are no threat for the foreseeable future. While this tactic is not necessarily the action of a hero it certainly is that of a leader of nations. This Geo-political approach on a galactic scale is something that having recently emerged from a devastating World War the readers of the day could easily identify with.

So without further preamble here is the final climactic chapter to the Futura Saga.

Unlike many other of the Planet Comics serials Futura has a definite end to her tale, though some foreshadowing of trouble is evident. Reading the entire story of Futura I was not disappointed. While the series was sometimes the victim of the whims of scheduling, editors and creators and the series had some detours and false starts with the storytelling it was enjoyable and fantastic fun. Most serialized pulp tales, of which Futura is certainly descended from, have some element of empire-building in them and this tale was no exception. The average man, or in this case woman, is plucked from obscurity and thrust into "a world they never made" and by the end of the adventure they are Lords or Kings or Queens. Futura is cast in that mold.

Futura is different, however in that she did not simply storm the castle and sit upon the throne thereby declaring victory and an end to tyrannical rule. She leveled the playing fields of Pan-Cosmos and known space, leaving every culture she came into contact with vulnerable to being rebuilt from scratch by someone else with the strength or character and arm to do so. In this instance, Futura herself. Futura may not have intended to and she often acted for selfish reasons related to her immediate survival but the result was she destroyed a galaxy in order to save it. In her final adventure it is evident she rules Oceania and the stage is set for her to take over known occupied space.

So what does the future hold for Futura?

Fan interest in Golden Age comic books is steady and it is exposure on the internet that is most likely the reason. Forums and blogs are probably directly responsible for some collections of old stories being collected by various publishers, namely the Fletcher Hanks and Boody Rogers strips to name a few examples. These books were collected not only for fans but for those not familiar with graphic art that until recently has been lost and forgotten by even many hard core aficionados. It would be nice to see a hardbound collection of Futura but admittedly the sometimes wandering storyline could be somewhat difficult to present. Taken as a whole the Futura story does not present a particularly cohesive universe and a reader has to suspend their ideas of 'continuity' and mentally edit some entries. It could be understood that many modern fans would not appreciate the abrupt shifts in the cultural backgrounds of the Futura universe.

It is difficult to measure if there is enough of a fan base to support a revival of Futura. Often it is easier and makes better business sense for someone to create an entirely new character inspired by an old character than it is to revamp one, no matter how enthusiastic one may be for the project. Any new entries to the Futura story would have to be a personal endeavor at heart, a labor of love for the character like the one that appeared in the 1980s. One that some may not understand but hopefully can appreciate because that admiration was was shared.

So will we see Futura again? Only time will tell. I, for one, can hardly wait.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coming Attractions

Monday! Final chapter of The Futura Saga. Get caught up with Everything Futura!

Tuesday! An Archie comic that actually discourages superstition? Tuesday must be backwards-upside down day!

Wednesday! Bozo the Clown, surfing and what it all means!

Thursday! Who knows?

Friday! Sleeping in!

Saturday! Can't plan that far ahead!

Sunday! Probably something lazy from YouTube!

Plus, whatever else I find or get involved in worth scanning or taking a picture of. There's that device in the original unopened packaging I found in the garage, or that satanic toy from the 60s. Who knows?

In anticipation of posting the final chapter of The Futura Saga, here in order are all the previous entries of the Planet Comics serial up to the penultimate chapter.

Futura - Chapter 1

Futura - Chapter 2

Futura - Chapter 3

Futura - Chapter 4

Futura - Chapter 5

Futura - Chapter 6

Futura - Chapter 7

Futura - Chapter 8

Futura - Chapter 9

Futura - Chapter 10

Futura - Chapter 11

Futura - Chapter 12

Futura - Chapter 13

Futura - Chapter 14

Futura - Chapter 15

Futura - Chapter 16

Futura - Chapter 17

Futura - Chapter 18

Futura - Chapter 19

Futura - Chapter 20

Futura - Chapter 21

Futura - Chapter 22

Original battlefield apocalypse image from Mike Grell's The Warlord #3 (Oct-Nov 1976).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Inside

Take a second look. Interesting, that the frenzied 'motion lines' are the track titles.

From Inside Sauter-Finegan. Album art by Jim Flora (1953).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sleestak on the Edge of Forever

I know I'm the only one, but the thought of Kirk and the Gang traveling through time and risking Universe-altering paradox to stop Enik the Altrusian from winning Final Jeopardy is hilarious*.

Just think, if I was waiting in line at the San Diego Comic-Con this art would not have existed. The road not traveled, indeed!

* The winning answer was "Who is Hayley Mills?"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Archie, That's My Skull

Archie's Madhouse #5 (June 1960)
Brace yourself, then click the picture.

From Archie's Mad House #5 (July 1960).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My True Life Intimate Secret Desire Confessions

On the first cover by the time we see our heroine she was already salaciously propositioned and is mulling over her choice. On the second she is wryly, perhaps with amusement, dismissing a wolf. Both covers are iconically lurid but what a difference four years makes in the approach.

From My Desire Intimate Confessions #4 (Fox, April 1950) & True Life Secrets #23 (Nov-Dec 1954).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Futura - Chapter 21

Planet Comics #63 (Winter 1949) gives us the penultimate chapter to the Futura Saga. In this issue one can see where Futura's long, strange journey has been leading. Alliances shift rapidly as Futura once free of the Jar-Heads, turns against the very enslaved mutated people, albeit mind-controlled, she once sympathized with.

There is a lot of good imagery in this chapter that profiles Futura without the cheesecake that could be so common in her story. The last panel of page three is nearly iconic and the battle between the mutants and the Hawkmen is magnificent.

This chapter firmly establishes Futura in a setting more reminiscent of the Alex Raymond-drawn Flash Gordon strip. Yet familiarity with other popular forms of entertainment would not save the character from limbo. With only one more issue in the Planet Comics series to feature her story Futura would soon be consigned to the occasional black and white reprint of Golden Age comic books. An original story featuring a "Futura" character would not be produced until the early 1980s, a gap of thirty years between appearances.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Account Not Found

I really love flickr but really despise the hoops one has to jump through in using yahoo. I repeatedly have to change my password, hope the account can be found, slog through the problems with them saying the account is already associated with one email (no kidding the same one since I opened the account) and having the account locked because the password they made me change won't work.

I can't access my own photo account until at least tomorrow so instead of the next chapter of Futura, here are some links:

Disney Weirdness. The odd side of the happiest place on Earth, some NSFW images. I can relate as I goofed around with the Disney concept myself.

Support this guy. He's trying to reign in the insanity. Yes, whenever I interact with authorities I always have my cellphone camera recording and I trust them a lot more than most.

His feet must be Thor from all that walking.

I really enjoy Mike Resnick. I thought Santiago (with that cover featuring Longshot) was brilliant, even though it broke my rule about Cowboys in Space.

I might play with this a bit. Maybe transcribe some of the insane customers I deal with.

I forgot to remember.

The De-Evolution of Nellie the Nurse.

I've been getting crazy traffic in from a new link from an old 2006 post. Anyone else get stuff like that?

How stupid was it to
title this entry Account Not Found? How many clicks did I lose doing that?

Friday, July 16, 2010

I've got an idea

You know how to fix the problem with those two Utah State employees who released 1,300 names of suspected illegal immigrants to the police and media?

Retroactively to when the data was accessed immediately make every single person who is named on that list who is in the United States illegally a Naturalized Citizen. No questions asked, no waiting period.

That would be an epic backfire.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Futura - Chapter 20

With Planet Comics #62 (September 1949) it clear that tastes in science fiction have changed. What the book depicted and what the public was given was diverging with each passing month. The 1950s are just around the corner and the lurid adventure pulps are being steadily replaced in the marketplace. Not for the first time, print is considered a dying medium. Movies and particularly television are capturing more and more of the nation's free time.

Creativity, in spite of any opportunities the new medium promised, were compromised by the limits of budget, technology and corporate sponsorship. No longer was it enough to sell a story, a story was required to sell a product. It was salesmen, not editors or writers or artists, who were in creative positions. It was not enough for Flash Gordon to sell the book his image graced he also had to ensure a substantial market share of breakfast cereals, batteries and special edition bicycles.

While it was evident the entire Fiction House line was different in how they portrayed their heroes, particularly the female characters, it didn't matter one whit to parent groups and politicians. One comic book was just like another and they were all targeted due to panic, fear and misinformation. Fiction House would tweak the Planet Comics format a few more times trying to keep up with market preferences but the experiment was coming to an end. The entire company didn't survive much into the 1950s.

In this chapter of the Futura Saga the protagonist once again fights oppression with mixed results for her followers. Readers back then were not expected to care if thousands of bad guys die as the result of the hero tampering with the Atomo-Ray. If they did, the creators did not give their audience enough credit and rarely offered them the opportunity to become invested in the antagonists. As progressive as some of the Fiction House characters were they were clearly super-heroes who could do no wrong. For the most part it was a black and white universe even as it was rendered in four colors. It is Futura that existed in a perpetual state of anarchy and she took advantage of her surroundings for her benefit and sometimes the benefit of others, though rarely the end result was a positive one. For good or ill this is what made the fictional character just a bit more real than her spandex-clad peers.


More collateral damage in the next thrilling chapter!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautiful Lola

Don't you know about girls named Lola? From World of Fantasy #2 (July 1956).

The gang got kind of depressing in their final season

Once the Riverdale crew got the news they would be out of work and hopelessly typecast as players permanently stuck in period dramas set in the 1950s the tunes the band decided to play during the show became much more depressing and angst-ridden. In taking their cue from the Scooby Gang when their television show was canceled and Gregorian funeral chants became the featured music covering the chase montages said band-leader Archibald, "Reggie stole all our our money and spent it on the blond girl. I don't give a damn anymore."

Here is their farewell song from the final episode of The Archie All-Fun Smile-Palooza Hour, originally broadcast Christmas Day, 1968. It was said at the time that the sobs of children could be clearly heard as far away as the city limits.



Actually, the song is from 1966 by The Patriots and I listen to it once or twice a day. You can read more about them here. In similar fashion to the 1962 recording Turn, Turn, Turn the song lyrics come from a much older work of fiction. In this case the inspiration was from the 1932 poem As Fall the Leaves by Edgar Albert Guest.
As fall the leaves, so drop the days
In silence from the tree of life;
Born for a little while to blaze
In action in the heat of strife,
And then to shrivel with Time's blast
And fade forever in the past.

In beauty once the leaf was seen;
To all it offered gentle shade;
Men knew the splendor of its green
That cheered them so, would quickly fade:
And quickly, too, must pass away
All that is splendid of to-day.

To try to keep the leaves were vain:
Men understand that they must fall;
Why should they bitterly complain
When sorrows come to one and all?
Why should they mourn the passing day
That must depart along the way?
More rare 60s tunes later. I'm waiting to receive one special long-lost .45 in the mail and along with it I'll post a story of how it relates to my one brush with fame.

Friday, July 09, 2010

We're gonna show them who's on top!

Tagging a toilet plunger with your 'gang' graffiti? I mean, what turf is being claimed here?

That's just nasty.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Missed Connection

I've seen you around, did you see me? I bet you know I've been watching you for for a long time. Last night when you entered the store you made my heart beat ever so fast!

Your four-sizes-too-big jacket and pants with the other jacket and pants with all the extra pockets and tied-off waist and legs on them...Well, you certainly do cut quite the image when you come swaggering in. You make everybody notice. Aren't you hot wearing all that stuff? I know I am. Yet for someone so slim and tiny you sure do seem to walk like you carry a lot of weight. You have me worried. Are you in good health?

I ask because on July 30th at about 10:15 p.m. when you took that donation jar off the check stand and ran out the store to jump into that waiting white [redacted] with California license plate #[redacted] driven by that obese woman who left the passenger side door waiting open you seemed to have trouble moving your legs and arms. You know, if you were sick I could understand you needing that jar of money reserved for cancer patients. Maybe you needed to cut out the middle-man to had to pay off that guy who gives you your medicine.

Now, some would say you are in pretty good health since you have to carry all those DVDs, packages of food, liquor and pharmacy supplies stuffed in the sleeves, waistband and legs of your under-layer of clothing and that is what slowed you down and made you walk funny. I don't know. Maybe you have been prescribed weight training? If you had told me you had cancer I would have given you the $23 myself to save you the exertion of running. Those coins must have been way too heavy for you because you supported the jar by sliding it up into your jacket sleeve. Fortunately all those layers of extra clothing made sure you didn't drop any change on your way out of the store. Every nickle is important!

But last night was so special. I just can't forget how adorable you were when I took all those pictures of you with my cell phone. You acted all sheepish, covering your face as you ran away from my attentions after I saw you cutting open that Wedding Crashers DVD case. I don't blame you, how else can you be sure that the disc is actually in the case before you buy it? And Oh-Em-Gee, you looked so gangsta when you pedaled away on your Huffy!

But why so shy? A guy like you should not be ashamed of your looks. I've seen your face plenty of times from the high-quality videos and still-frames taken off the store surveillance system. Let me just say you look just like who I've been looking for: A Hispanic male, long brown goatee, shaved short black or brown hair, 5' 1", approx 150 pounds, mid-20s. Mmmmm!

You know, I show your pictures and videos to everyone at work. Everyone wants to meet you. Particularly my pals in the San Diego Police Department (a truly fine bunch of really strong, muscular guys and gals) all agree that you seem to be an interesting person (or person of interest, I forget exactly what they said because I was distracted. Me and uniforms, hello!) and they want pick you up, too! Drat! How can I compete with them? They wear bullet proof vests and carry guns and clubs and hand-cuffs for hand-cuffing and they drive those totally tricked out cars with the lights and horns and wire cages...

What was I doing? Oh, yeah. Sigh.

But I realize that after all this time I don't even know your name! That is just one crime among many, I know. Oh, I'm sure I'll find out who you are eventually. It is I think fated that we meet again. Perhaps soon we will see each other across a crowded room. I'll stand up and point to you and say "That's him!" and then everyone will know how I feel. I can wait. After all, the next time you attempt to register that car or it gets pulled over while you are in it I'm confident my pals in blue will give me a ring and we'll be able to discuss our relationship and your future living arrangements.

My Left Foot

On the side of the store that caters to males a shoe is advertised that protects the wearer from wear and tear of exercise while simultaneously allowing the user to benefit from the activity. The shoe differentiates all the harmful activity from the beneficial through some sort of I don't know, shoe magic, I guess.

Meanwhile, the other side of the same store caters specifically to women. On the flip side a shoe is for sale which reportedly does nothing other than mercilessly work the muscles of the lower extremities in order to tone the legs and backside.

The ad for the men's shoe emphasizes protection and the one for women focuses on the wearer being made more attractive at the expense of safety. Are women expected to suffer more for the desired results? This leads me to question the conventional wisdom that women are the more careful and wiser shoppers. Advertising is remarkably complex and nuanced on levels many consumers never consciously detect. Do women shop for their shoes mostly alone and accompany the men? Then the difference in the execution of the advertising makes more sense. Making safety a priority for the men's shoes would indicate the woman in the relationship would have some say in the purchasing decision as she would not want her man out of work recovering from a playground injury.

Then again, it could be that this ad reveals a situation where the right foot doesn't know what the left foot is doing.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Scaring parents since the 1960s



Been re-discovering the grooveness of both professionally polished and amazingly bad/good 60s garage proto-punk and surf bands of late.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Jonah Hex alternate ending script revealed!

As promised here is my script for an alternate ending to the recent Jonah Hex film. Previously, I playfully chose my favorite Jonah Hex comic book stories that if used could have made a better movie and may have made enough cash to allow a sequel.

While the inclusion of those classic tales would have resulted in a substantially different movie my script makes no changes to the plot of the film as it was released theatrically. This alternate ending embraces the supernatural aspects of the story that confused and disappointed so many fans. The ending makes perfect sense in the manner in which Jonah would exploit his powers and I believe my ending to Jonah Hex would have completely redeemed the entire film. Read it and see what you think.

So go ahead, keep this script in your mind and mentally edit the final scene to include my ending when you watch the DVD. It will undoubtedly be released as soon as possible. Y'know, pard'ner, I'll slap leather using my version up against any deleted scene or alternate ending the DVD might possibly include. I bet I shoot the straightest.

Click the script and get yer spectacles on...Thar's word-readin' involved!

And that, pard'ner, is how you do it.

Jonah Hex and characters copyright DC Comics. Idea and story by Sleestak.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Hex Communications via Pony Express

Be here Monday morning, July 5th for the debut of the never-before-revealed super-secret forgotten lost script for the alternate ending to the recent Jonah Hex movie!