Monday, November 29, 2010

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 14

Politics as usual play a large part of this chapter of Mysta of the Moon from Planet Comics #48 (May 1947) as Mysta takes an active hand in public policy. Those following the Mysta story may be surprised by events in this installment as rival political groups comprising members of the Science Council and the Humanist Party clash for control of human civilization. Lies, distortions, back-stabbing, betrayal, terror attacks, manipulation of the media and preying upon the fears of the populace in order to advance their goals are all applied in a power-grab by a certain group of power-hungry insiders.

Mysta, with a little help from Faux-Bron and the Robot eventually figure out the plot and expose the manipulators and change the course of history. By endorsing one party over the other Mysta engages in a little propaganda coup of her own. Mysta sends a clear message that effectively renders one faction ineffective and superfluous, perhaps existing from then on forward only via her tacit approval and support, acting only on her whim or per her agenda.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

You think it's going wrong again but you're wrong and I know it

Progressive early-80s band After The Fire is one of those musical groups where if you go by what is played on radio or linked to on the internet one would think they have only produced one song. Examples of this would be from performer Annie Lennox and the song Walking on Broken Glass, the Xian band Mercy Me with Goodbye To Self, The Corrs with Summer Sunshine and Duffy with Mercy. This is a bit different than the One Hit Wonder syndrome (though it certainly overlaps) that many bands are categorized with in that regardless of the extent of the catalog the performer holds from the play each song receives in stores, restaurants and the radio someone new to the names would tend to believe the tunes were just extended play ring tones and just as disposable albeit extremely lucrative.

ATF is most popular via their international video hit Der Kommissar but they had other tunes that were enjoyable enough and got some international play way back when. They have a loyal following on a few streaming video sites. Yet one pop tune I appreciate in particular seems to be missing and whenever I break out the cassette tapes the ATF compilation album released in the United States is one I always give a listen to. When friends and innocent strangers hear other tunes from ATF they are always polite if not pleasantly surprised, like when I keep insisting how awesome are the Scottish band Texas and lead Sharleen Spiteri.
   
Music videos from the early days of ATF (with the exception of the over-played Der Kommissar) are rare so I put together the audio for Love Will Always Make You Cry with some other video for this song. It doesn't really sync up but it isn't too far off most other videos of the era using concert footage for their MTV entries. I really like that one line from the chorus used for the title of this post and I keep it in the brain file for use whenever I can work it into conversation.

I know there are some ATF fans out there so here you are. Enjoy!


Lazy, rainy Sunday post.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving in 2010

Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #15 (Dec 1941)

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #15 (December 1941). Art credit Al Taliaferro.


Since a few people asked what the deal was with the cover because the gag had little context, here is the original cartoon that inspired it as reprinted from the daily newspaper comic strip for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #12 (September 1941).


Wal Disney's Comcis & Stories #12 (Sept 1941)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 13

From March 1947 Planet Comics #47 brings a tale of a space pirate, political intrigue and science-zombies. Much of the action concerns things being personal. Mysta reveals more emotion for Bron and the villain of the piece has something of a personal grudge against Mysta. Powerful forces seem to be allying themselves against Mysta as petty criminals and despots gather considerable resources against her. A member of the the Science Council also makes a short-lived appearance and Bron ends up in need of rescue. 

In reading these stories I have come to speculate that many of the crooks and pirate leaders may have been people of considerable influence before the fall of civilization. Robber barons of the future with strangleholds on various systems and economies, reduced to being small organized crime families, yet with access to large infrastructure of horded supplies and equipment from better times.

It seems unlikely that some minor space pirate would nonetheless have a giant hidden underground base unless they were long established and with resources that remained relatively untouched while humanity dragged themselves back up from the ruins of their civilization.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

They have no shield, nothing must be revealed


The Go Go's version always impressed me as a catchy bubblegum song about high school gossips. The song as interpreted by Fun Boy Three has a scarier, darker appeal that hints at a deeper story than the more energetic grrrl-power version.

Lazy, rainy Sunday post.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dangerous...Active!

By amazing coincidence, my home office cabinet has a rather thick file within it with the same name.

From Girl Comics #12 (January 1952).

You can't be too careful

Following with interest the news that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been issued a warrant for his arrest by Swedish authorities. I'm not ready to state whether he has been framed, set up, or is guilty but I am going to pay attention to the story. There are only a few people who know what really happened and we have to wait for the evidence to determine who is guilty and who is innocent.

This story has international implications. Assange is notoriously difficult to locate as he is reported to never stay in the same place more than one night. Dangerous men have dangerous enemies and I'm sure the various threats against Assange are very real. There is no telling what region he may visit in his travels. He is a ghost. He could very well be hiding in a motel in New York, Britain, Berlin, Hong Kong or even San Diego.

So just to be on the safe side I'm going to wear a t-shirt with the slogan NOT JULIAN ASSANGE on it whenever I venture out of my home. I'd hate to get tasered by cops when on the way to the mall mistakenly identifying me as Mr. Assange. This is something everyone should be concerned about. Furthermore, my wife is visiting relatives in hated Maryland soon so I have to be ready when I go to the airport to see her off. The t-shirt will divert suspicion from me being Mr. Assange and ensure that there will not occur a case of mistaken identity when I escort my wife to the TSA checkpoint. Look what happened to Frank Morris. If he was wearing one of these T-shirts he'd still be a free man today.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Like it doesn't bother you

Remaining calm in restaurants is  particularly difficult and can be quite a challenge for the average, normal person. This is because the cutlery is often magnetized through handling, cleaning, jostling and scraping in the storage racks. Trust me, it's science.

The main problem that occurs from cutlery being magnetized is that it makes lining up the flatware perfectly parallel on the napkin with even spaces on each side and without touching the implements next to it AS IT SHOULD BE extremely difficult for the average restaurant patron. Too close to the  neighboring implement and the fork is subsequently attracted to the adjacent piece of cutlery and then shifts off center and it TOUCHES the knife or spoon. I will not stand for that. No way. If the cutlery is not close enough to the other then the entire setting is NOT LINED UP RIGHT and then they won't be perfectly even on the napkin AS THEY SHOULD BE and then I get upset and nervous and then that tremble in my chest returns and it won't go away until I fix the problem.

Oh, man. Just looking at this image is making me want to photoshop them parallel.

Meet Russell Stamm

Harvey Comic Hits #59 - Meet Russell Stamm (1952)

Click to render visible. Creator profile from Harvey Comic Hits #59 (1952).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Third Man Theme

So the 1949 film The Third Man is to blame for the proliferation of all those Zithers in schools all over the nation. I don't believe there was one classroom anywhere in the United States in the 1970s that didn't have at least one vintage Zither sitting on a shelf.  Where are all those millions of Zithers today? Sitting in landfills leeching toxic chemicals in our ground water? Precariously stacked 15 feet high in a forgotten storage closet in some elementary school, waiting to tumble down accompanied by tragic yet hilarious noises on the vulnerable and unsuspecting heads of curious children exploring the auditorium? Shipped to puzzled children of developing nations as critical teaching supplies? Cool tune, though.

The Zither is a fine example of vintage Trend Ort.


As partial evidence that there was a Zither craze that swept the nation once upon a time here is a comic book advertisement from Love Letters #10 (1951).


Insider humor

Stats reveal that this funny-because-it-is-true picture of a boss yelling at a hapless subordinate is the favorite and most emailed image macro for those within the non-dairy coffee additive industry. I created it one day a while ago when bored during a meeting. I did not realize at the time what I had started.

Long story short, ever since it was initially released as part of a Powerpoint slideshow about the importance of value-added road-side convenience store impulse items it has taken the internet by storm. Or at least, that part of the internet traveled by suppliers of retail products. Too bad for me I didn't  strike while the I Can Haz iron was hot. 

I'm told that this image has even surpassed lolcats, Facebook sluts and the 4G in popularity among cubicle workers (with a subset of restaurant waitstaff growing exponentially every day). They tell me it never fails to garner a knowing chuckle and nod. The picture also served to finally kill off the impromptu office skits parodying that old International Coffees commercial. That is a bit of bittersweet news really because at least before I unleashed this picture people interacted with one another. Now they just sit by themselves in a tiny fuzzy-walled cave and forward funny email attachments to their entire global address list. So, sorry about that part.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 12

This chapter of Mysta from Planet Comics #46 (January 1947) continues themes of revenge and reprisal similar to the previous two installments. Rather than help humankind progress, Mysta is forced to deal with unintended fallout of her guidance, benevolent though it may be. In this tale a scientist is on trial for dabbling in forbidden knowledge with Mysta serving as an expert witness for the prosecution. Although dangerous, the scientist Vitor is free to act on his plans to experiment with a mysterious force known as Damp Light, which can mutate insects into giant monsters.

That Vitor has not had his research confiscated or destroyed reveals much about the politics of the Mysta-verse society. Vitor is either connected, wealthy or both. Someone somewhere has a use for giant rampaging bugs and it is probably the military-industrial complex or a group poised to take over human space. Even if Vitor was not a danger before his trial he certainly became one later as his anger at having his research curtailed leads him to use his resources and family members to attempt an assassination on Mysta.

The hit fails with the aid of Mysta's robot and assistant Bron. It is interesting to note that the body form of the robot has become less humanoid the more Bron has involved himself in Mysta's affairs. Previously the robot was quite man-like and had defined musculature whereas it is now mechanical and primitive-looking by Mysta's scientific standards. The robot is still as deadly as before though at this point Bron and the robot have largely interchangeable roles.

While there is nothing romantic implied happening between Bron and Mysta it is also telling that she still refers to her assistant as Bron and not by his true name. The real Bron was murdered and an impostor was sent in his place to betray Mysta. That she has not revealed to the public that the plot had failed I think falls in line with my theory that Mysta is not as benevolent at heart as she appears and takes steps to maintain a positive image. Letting the people (and family) of Bron's home world know he was replaced would be bad news. Mysta is certainly a heroine to the general public for helping rebuild human society but perhaps is less so to the politicians and industrialists she interferes with. 

Michael May of Michael May's Adventure Blog sees the Mysta character as being less negatively affected by her power than I do. While we both agree that she truly cares for humanity I question if her inhuman intelligence and years of isolation lets her relate to people as more than dangerous, squabbling  animals. Perhaps Bron is being allowed to stick around as a sort of reminder of her humanity.


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Monday, November 08, 2010

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 11

As the second part of a multi-part tale Planet Comics #45 (Nov 1946) continues the story of The Face and the reluctant infiltrator, Bron and their attack on Mysta's fortress.

The first part of the Bron's story can be found here: Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 10.

While there is a lot of drama in the seven page story that focuses primarily on Bron it is not all hand-wringing and weeping! True to Fiction House style there is plenty of action to be found. Answering diversions set up by Bron and his master The Face, Mysta stays busy battling mutant cavemen, monster birds and a couple of Human Torches!

It is in this issue that Bron has a very nearly larger role than Mysta and the story retrogresses to the formula of a woman, no matter how capable, in need of rescuing by the opposite gender. Since this story is about Bron's journey of redemption it is understandable that he comes out to be the hero of the story but it is a bit of a departure from the standard Mysta entry.

BONUS! Hot robot on robot action!

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Please Stand By

Not giving up, my 8 month old monitor went dead last week. The spare from the garage had a proprietary power cord I could not locate, so I had to wait. Raised a fuss about my warranty and got a new replacement monitor. Yay for saving emails forever! Without it I would have probably not had my warranty honored.

Expect a Mysta Monday sometime today!