Wednesday, February 28, 2007

CA, 1 - MD, 0

Out Of This World #008
Good flight to California out of Maryland. No delays in the flight or people with aversion to soap in seats next to me. One scary guy everyone watched, though. Big guy who kept his safety-pin print hoodie on and didn't want to sit down. Turned out his back hurt. Everything ok, still, made you pay more attention to him instead of your book. The North Carolina airport has rocking chairs all over the place for travelers. Pretty comfy. Awesome lightning storm somewhere over Nevada a few miles off the wing. Luggage lost but found and delivered by the next morning. Bonus: Luggage monkeys did not steal my electronics this time.

Update 3-2-07: Applied for an HR job this morning and already got a call back! California is better!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Your five sisters didn't seem to mind!

Strange Fantasy #9
From Strange Fantasy #9 (December 1953).


Learn from Ibis!

JLA #137 - Ibis lectures about expository dialoge
Use your Ibis-stick to enlarge!

Martin Pasko, playing the part of Ibis the Invincible, schools the super heroes and other comic book writers about the common practice of inserting unnecessary expositional dialog into a scene. This was way back in 1976 and authors are still doing it about twice an issue.

From Justice League of America #137
(December 1976).


Comic Book Ad: Crinkers!

Faster than a speeding fire truck!
Funny Stuff #38 - Bit-o-Honey ad
Crinkers! That's one perplexed fireman. From Funny Stuff #38 (October 1948).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ghost Rider is dolphin safe

Ghost Rider movie review: Other than being entertaining, all I really ask out of a comic book movie is that the film not severely reduce the chances of another comic book movie being made after it. Ghost Rider wasn't either of those things.


Sleeping Sickness Apparel © ™ : Worse ideas have made people rich

I'm gonna be rich!

Once I get to San Diego I'm going to start setting up shop and start producing clothing with the Fatty's got the sleeping sickness comic book image I posted the other day. I was going to call the clothing Fatty's © ™ but that doesn't work for marketing unless unless you spell it with a PH replacing the letter F. So I decided to call the clothing line Sleeping Sickness Apparel © ™. The prototypes have gone over well in testing with various demographics and interest is high.

The market for the Sleeping Sickness © ™ line is ripe and is a novelty niche that cries to be filled. There are empty shelves in Walmart, K-Mart and car wash spinner racks all over the country that I could make use of and make lots of money from. I will soon have shirts, hats, lingerie shoes, pajamas, those mats you put on the fender of the car so you don't scratch it with tools while working and mugs all ready to go for shipping. For now though, the baby clothes line will only have a limited production run in the beginning. Seems that some parents don't care for the negative connotations of 'Fatty' and the 'Now, for the needle!' panel. I'll stick those in the Gag Gift section of the website and see how they move. There are plenty of young couples who spend money on things instead of baby food or pediatric visits and I want a piece of that dollar, too.

I'm really enthusiastic about this opportunity mostly because of the positive feedback I received during product testing. Check out these no-lie product testimonials from real people who are not paid actors:

Fatty T-Shirt - 2
"I was sure I would die alone in my own urine in the nursing home until I started rocking this awesome Sleeping Sickness © ™ baby-doll t-shirt. Now even strangers drop by and visit me. Someone even brought me a cat just for posing in the shirt while not wearing pants." - Mrs. C. Wilson of Miami, Fl.

Fatty T-Shirt - 3
"I thought that I would be trapped in a loveless marriage with my half-brother/cousin until I saw my Dad's mail-order bride wearing a high-quality cashmere Sleeping Sickness © ™ sweater. I liked it so much that I went and got the Sleeping Sickness © ™ art tattooed on my forehead. Now, no man will touch me. Thanks, Sleestak!" - Jenny-Lyn Joe Bob Feldner of Wawtchaw, Tn.

Fatty T-Shirt - 4
"Like, I was totally lost in the parking lot. I couldn't find my car. Wowwww, I was seriously upset. All these guys, y'know, really helped me. It was totally cool. Oh, yeah. I totally, y'know, found my car." - Cathie M. of Beverly Hills, Ca.

It isn't all about making a buck. These heart-warming stories have made me realize that I am just a tool in another's hand. Look for them soon!


Comic Book Ad: If you're married, you have an additional problem

Amusing February 1974 comic book advertisement advertisement for ICS from Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #5. The ad copy is hilarious, as it offers a dead on profile of the attitudes of 70s hipsters who resented that hard work and families get in the way of their disco dancing and hemp smoking.

Bonus: 70s imagery of a porn star dude and ubiquitous male potency symbol.
Chilling Adventures In Sorcery #5 - 70s disco era ad


More wall-breakin' action with the Metal Men!

The Doc lives in his own little world, doesn't he? I think his robots are just humoring him, which is bad because he flipped out in the 1970s and isn't too healthy in the current era.

Metal Men #2
From Metal Men #2 (June-July 1963)

I've been waiting for him to address an unseen audience during his appearances in DC's 52 series. It would have been a funny hat tip to the Silver Age to have T.O. Morrow ask the Doc "What do you mean exactly, by 'keep those cards and letters coming'?"


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sleestak: SG1

While perusing the net looking for a clue as to when Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis would be on television again I stumbled across the official Stargate website. The site is full of nifty episode guides, photos and much to my surprise, full episodes of screenplays that you can download and read!

So I snagged a few and had a thought:

I could actually insert myself into the real story using a simple find and replace editing function! That way I could be a part of the SG1 team without resorting to bad fan fiction and crying myself to sleep! So I did it and had some nerd fun as follows:

STARGATE SG-1 - "Morpheus" - Episode #1002

DANIEL: No. You're not cleared for off-world travel yet. You still have to go through a psych evaluation.

SLEESTAK: What's that?

DANIEL: Uh, it's sort of an interview given to all prospective SGC personnel, designed to assess a person's psychological state, get a sense of their mental well-being.

SLEESTAK: Oh, to find out if I'm...Wonko.

DANIEL: Right. They're going to sit you down, get you talking about yourself, and ask you a few questions.

SLEESTAK: So it's a test?

DANIEL: Sort of.

SLEESTAK: And all I have to do is pass. How hard can that be?

SLEESTAK (CONT'D O/S): I have to do some research, so I'm going to use…

SLEESTAK (CONT'D): your computer while you're away on this mission.

It wasn't until I was done doing that a few times and enjoyed reading some rollickin' space adventures starring myself that I realized that I had accidentally put myself in the role of Vala Mal Doran, the sexy intergalactic thief and leather-wearing maker of mischief.

But that doesn't mean anything. Just a typo on four scripts somehow. I'll change it later so I am Mitchell. Not Daniel, though. Too whiny.


Yessiree, Fatty's got the sleeping sickness!


Don't ever change, you crazy cat!

Has Tony Stark always been a jerk? Pretty much.
Iron Man Special #2
Iron Man buries a Cuban assassin under the floor in one of his factories and then covers up the hole without a word to anyone. Never mind that the news of Iron Man handily defeating a monster sent personally by Fidel Castro himself to kill Tony Stark and humiliate the military-industrial complex and defense readiness of the country would have been a huge propaganda coup for the United States and Stark Enterprises.

From Tales of Suspense #91 (July 1967).


Friday, February 23, 2007

You know what they say about security guards, right?

Lock one up in a room containing nothing but two bowling balls and at shift change one will be missing, the other will be broken into two pieces and the guard will swear he doesn't know anything and they were like that when he got there.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Goodbye, Stranger

Mark Evanier breaks the news that Walker Edmiston, who once performed as Enik of the Sleestak on the 1970s television sci-fi show The Land of the Lost has died after a long and varied career.

While I was not intimately knowledgeable of all of his work I was certainly aware of how much an impact he made on the LotL show. His performance as the xenophobic yet merciful time traveler who is likewise trapped along with the Marshall family in The Stranger, episode #6 of the first season, made quite an impression on me in regards to the series. To me, the tragic journey of Enik was much more interesting than that of the human family he occasionally bailed out of trouble in large part due to Edmiston's performance.

You can read Mark Evanier's report here.


Civil War #7: Herc needs a new catch phrase

No one can ever accuse the Marvel Hercules with being the sharpest razor in the candy apple. When not looking for fights he is usually preoccupied with seeking out booze and women. Often he is out in space or other dimensions for years at a time wreaking havoc of some kind or crashing parties, so he can be forgiven if his catch phrases are a bit out of date with contemporary culture.

In Civil War #7 Hercules was offended by the machinations of the Pro-Registration faction in the cloning/cyborgizing/Imagineering of his good buddy and gacked the Thorbot. While doing so he bellowed a variation of the famous verbal smack down "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" said by Senator Bentsen to Senator Quayle during a 1988 political debate.

Since Civil War was very topical, reflecting either the on-going debate over the current conflict in the mid-east or the price of cable television service, I think Herc could use a catch phrase that is a little bit closer to the year 2007. I don't think anything is wrong with his usual "Have At Thee!" or "I Bring The Gift Of Battle" shouts and I don't get why it wasn't used in the big fight scene. A good explodo-font "I SAY THEE NAY!" would have rocked that panel. Possibly the writer has had this story and dialog in his head since the late 1980s and didn't get to use the Bentsen slam until now.

So I decided to update Herc's war cry with a bit of pop-cultural meme from 2001 and up to something closer to present day.

Civil War #7 (2001 catch phrase)
From 2001: Awesome sound FX added!

Civil War #7 (SHOCK and AWE)
From 2003: At least when Odin lied, nobody died.

Civil_War_herc_HOT WINGS
From my recent 2007 shopping trip: I'm not paying $12.95 for a box of 6-8 wings unless the Hooter Girl comes with it!
Have at thee!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Comic Book Ad: Hard Rockin' DUI Rick

I love this ad featuring a 1970s stoner hippie garage band member drunkenly smashing into things on his hog. As a celebrity Rockin' Rick isn't expected to pay the consequences of his bad decisions and gets to celebrate by being the opening gig for UFO.
Tragg and The Sky Gods #8 - Doper rock and roll cyclist
When playing as a kid, I used Rockin' Rick (or as I affectionately re-named the toy, 'Uncle Jeff' ) and made him fight an enraged Maskatron (who was a member of M.A.D.D - Maskatrons Against Drunk Driving) out for justice after Rick drunkenly mowed my sister's Barbie down in a tragic DUI-related hit and run.

From Gold Key's Tragg and the Sky Gods #8 (February 1977).


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gerber Madness!

Look at this Marvel Spotlight #22 stuff from Steve Gerber circa June 1975. If Steve Gerber wants to write a comic book then there should be a rule that comic publishers have to give him one. Even in the unlikely event of the title being a loss-leader it is still better than 90% of the output of his contemporaries working today.

Marvel Spotlight #22 - Son Of Satan


Makin' It: Emergency Bachelor Living

I finally got my plane ticket back to California. It will be good to get to a region where the IQ is greater than the average local shoe size.

So until my lease runs out I'm staying at the apartment, which will be a few more days. The spouse, in her usual Hurry/Panic mode started packing things up and giving away our stuff weeks before I would actually be vacating and leaving. So while she and child hang out at her sister's house for a few weeks I am taking the opportunity to revisit 1983 and live like a bachelor again. It can be a lot of fun, except that in Las Vegas I played craps and drank a lot. Since I don't own any guns (as far as you know, so don't try anything funny) here in Stupidlandia I am unable to pass the time shooting squirrels, deer, ceilings or stop signs like everyone else. I also don't drink booze any longer so I have to find other ways to stay occupied. Getting drunk and fighting with the spouse is something of a popular hobby around here but that, like being a swinging single guy supporting himself on games of chance in old school Vegas, is more of a young man's game.

As a temporary bachelor my needs are simple, as I reveal here.

The Bedroom
The dining room is now my bedroom and here is where I sleep or at least, toss fitfully for several hours prior to blacking out. The nightstand is fashioned from a spare box but like most guys I am not using my furniture properly. I should have my wallet and keys on it but I just throw them anywhere and then I spend precious minutes searching for them. The Krazy Kat books I reviewed in an earlier post are at the head of the bed, neatly stacked for easy sleepy time reading. The books are keeping the dark, crushing loneliness at bay with steady doses of Herriman humor (Thanks, Bully!).

My Office

Formerly the living room, now the office, is where I perform all my adult chores and waste hours cruising the internet while waiting for the day I leave Stupidlandia. When my former employer bothered to pay me for the work I did, I used the net to pay my bills. The wife presently takes care of all that using treeware. Now, I just prepare future blog entries, write stuff, peruse news from my feeds and read e-books from Project Gutenberg. The bed is pulled out into the room in this picture so I can lay down and watch DVD's borrowed from the library in comfort and is easily pushed back when I am ready for a nap. Which, oddly, is more often than usual lately.

The KitchenI'm living alone for the time being, but I'm not a slob! On the counter you can see all the fine quality cleaning supplies I use to keep disease and health inspectors away. It doesn't keep the bugs away but I can thank the 13 former residents in a two room apartment upstairs for that problem. When I leave the apartment for the final time this week I'll put all the cleaning supplies in the laundry room. Maybe the neighbors will take the hint and use them in their own residences. I doubt it.

I find that I need little more than two pans and a coffee cup to drink from to maintain a pleasing and varied diet of hot food. I heat water for my cocoa or coffee in the large pan and pour into a cup. Heated water is also left in the fridge to cool off and be more tasty and hopefully less bacteria-laden than straight tap water. I use the larger pan of the two for cooking hot dogs (Chicken dogs 98 cents a pack), ramen noodles (79 cents for six packages! Sweet!) and is faster for re-heating sliced pizza than lighting up the oven (5 bucks for a medium single-topping, will last over two meals!). Hot foods are then transferred to the small pan for use as a bowl or plate because it is cool to the touch and will not harm boxer-sheathed laps or burn pillows and is easier to hold while eating.

Money saving tip: When food shopping stop by the deli or salad bar and pick up a complimentary plastic fork & spoon sets. Deli clerks will give you the evil eye for not actually getting something from their expensive department so don't be greedy and take more than two packages. I found a set that also included the knife this week. Score! Think green and don't just use them and throw them away. Re-washing the utensils allows you to save money and trips to the store. But be careful when cooking as plastic forks melt when subjected to relatively low temperatures. When the fork tines get droopy and twisted from heat they can seriously lower the enjoyment levels of a meal .

Food presentation for the bachelor is important. Little mealtime rituals, as long as they remain little, can keep the crazy away. A semi-clean paper bag or unfolded granola bar box can serve as a dandy serving platter for your hot dogs or pizza.

Also, a single guy can avoid the need for a separate spoon for your instant beverage mixes by saving the freshness-seal that protects the contents of your purchase from tampering by psychos. Folded into a V-shape, they can be used as scoops.

More to come!


Comic Book PSA: Who's the monster?

Marvel Two-In-One #34
Dude. Dude, it's that thing with the tentacles on it's face. Were you not paying attention?

Marv Wolfman has Nighthawk do some preachifyin' in Marvel Two-In-One #34 (Dec 1977), in a inventory story so mundane that the star of the book doesn't bother to hang around for the Very Special Moment at the end. The most interesting thing in this story is the sci-fi element about the Tunguska Blast and that isn't saying much. Next couple issues were looking up, though. They feature the original creepy Jessica (Spider-Woman) Drew years before she got figuratively de-fanged and the Thing's Girlfriend in peril!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If I wrote Spider-Man: Reign #3

Who would have predicted I'd have two posts about bodily fluids in a row? Not me, I am just a humble slave to the muse.


This review at The Savage Critic(s) nails it.


It didn't start with Anita Blake

And you thought that Anne Rice, Laurel K. Hamilton and a legion of internet faux-goth slash/fic writers were the ones that originated creepy vampire porn fiction? Think again!

For the true origin of vampire pornography look no further than this excerpt from the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, published in 1897.

Chapter 15

Van Helsing went about his work systematically. Holding his candle so that he could read the coffin plates, and so holding it that the sperm dropped in white patches which congealed as they touched the metal, he made assurance of Lucy's coffin. Another search in his bag, and he took out a turnscrew.
That irrepressible Bram!

So, how many knew that sperm has a few definitions other than that of part of a genetic delivery system? Read a book, you!


Zip! Pow! ♥: Krazy Kat review

The old saw states that "you can't tell a book by its cover", but that does not hold true for the George Herriman Krazy Kat and Ignatz collections by Fantagraphics and available through W.W. Norton. Each cover of the Krazy Kat and Ignatz collection is trippy, surreal and make your eyes spin to look at them, and that is good. The covers are fair warning that you have to be At Least This Cool to get on the dark ride to Coconino County and lets a reader know that there is some great comic strip storytelling inside.

Each book in the collection starts out with a bit of Herriman history and some of his rare art featuring early work, political cartoons and even articles about his work in other media. I am an unabashed Herriman fan, so any collection is a a great thing for me. I can't really give a good review of the work of Herriman itself, his strip is a classic of the genre and speaks for itself. I can however speak to how much I enjoyed the quality of the collections. The Fantagraphics Krazy Kat series is a good package. The books are printed on respectable stock and has quality binding. The printing is crisp, rendering the often scratchy original art of Herriman that was intended for a mediocre newsprint medium as legible and clear. The re-colored pages are a particular delight. It is disappointing to read some publisher collections and have the pages fall out and the ink smudge, and these books have held up well to my moving about between residences, page flipping and casual style of reading.

One aspect I appreciate as a parent is that other than the minor cartoon violence of a mouse throwing bricks at a cat's head is that the books are remarkably child-safe for a body of work from the 1920s-1930s. The usually negative stereotypes of ethnic groups common for the popular media of the era are nearly absent from Herriman's work.

The Krazy Kat collection is suitable for the casual reader, the fan and can be positioned on the coffee table so as to appear smart without being pretentious. So you can put away those unread copies of New Yorker cartoons, Anne Liebowitz photos and Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and replace them with these. Even the casual or professional art and genre historian can appreciate the books for the influences of the Herriman-style on more modern works (The landscapes drawn by Herriman can be seen as the inspiration for the desert settings in the Warner Bros. Road Runner cartoons). Best of all, these books are very fun.

Disclosure: Copies of the Krazy Kat and Ignatz collections were supplied for the purposes of review by Bully of Comics Should Be Fun! You can contact him for more info on the collection.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

I shall return, bearing gifts

The coming of Sleestak

This is something of a placeholder post, because I'm surprised I still have internet service at the nearly empty apartment. It is nice to have for a provider a company that takes just as long to disconnect your service as it took to start it. Like most of the internet-addicted my broadband access and my computer is the last thing to get disconnected and packed before I leave. This is probably my last night in the old place before I take temporary shelter with the in-laws prior to departing this miserable state. Posting will be sparse as everywhere I am going to be living for the next several weeks is populated by Luddites, selfish control-freaks or the primitive (Dial-up? What, did we lose a war?).

So I am not tossed in the junk-pile of forgotten blogs I have several posts sitting in draft form and all I will need is a few minutes net access to publish them. Sadly, you will find there is no difference between a post I slap together in a rush between teen-agers using the phone line and one I spend an hour laboriously creating. I'm also working on a review of some incredible Krazy Kat & Ignatz books I received from Bully. Trust me, you should order your own copies. If you are not a fan of the surreal or George Herriman you will be after reading them.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Neo-Con Nancy

I don't know why this synopsis of the forthcoming Nancy Drew movie gets me angry, but it does. Bold text by me.

"Based on characters created by Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew follows Nancy (Emma Roberts) as she accompanies her father Carson (Tate Donovan) to Los Angeles on one of his business trips and stumbles across evidence about a long-unsolved crime involving the mysterious death of a beautiful movie star. Nancy’s resourcefulness and personal responsibility are put to the test when she finds herself in the middle of the fast-living, self-indulgent world of Hollywood."

Maybe it is that last sentence that annoys me. Gosh, I really hope pure and chaste Nancy doesn't succumb to the evil lure of liberal Hollywood and descend into a degenerate life of drugs, indiscriminate sex parties and the making of seedy porn films. Hopefully she won't stay in that town long. I hear that Hollywood evil is so pervasive that in just one day men choose a homosexual lifestyle and women get pregnant just to have abortions, kind of like a hobby.

As a kid I read all the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Jr. books, even the many different versions that were published under the same titles decades later. The original Hardy Boys story 'The Missing Floor' with the hypno-beam and spinning saw blades descending from the ceiling was much more frightening and entertaining than the new story published later.

But one thing that was clear in the books was that the characters lived in an idealized world, like Leave It To Beaver only with bank robbers and the occasional revenge-poisoning. The Drew's and the Hardy's were all wealthy, Caucasian, conservative Christians who traveled the world either for fun or in the case of the Hardy's FBI agent father, for work. The books were a product of the times when middle-America was delusional about reality and culture but wanted their kids exposed only to the "right" mores.

How would Nancy Drew address the civil rights movement? Though a fine detective in her own right, Nancy would not even know it existed thanks to her conservative upbringing. Her familial blinders would be firmly in place. Would the Hardy Boys be concerned with integration and busing? No, they each have their own custom hot rods built from scratch and drive themselves to their private school.

The poster on the site reveals most if not all of the mandatory stereotypes for a movie. The cute white girl, the hot, non-threatening boyfriend and the fat kid. I don't see an Asian girl or black male in the cast, but I'm sure that they are somewhere in a crowd scene or they are in a picture on a magazine sitting on a table or something. While I don't expect the new Nancy Drew in this film to have a pierced tongue and a tramp-stamp I think it is pandering to a specific and fearful audience.


Grocery Store Artifact: Live Nude Bears

I kind of like this packaging and the minimalist approach. The company is of course playing off the sex aspect of the name with a play on words but it isn't so cute I'm going to get all cynical about it.
Bear naked logo
What I noticed is what the product is doing to attract a customer. The flowers and tree-hugging approach is gone from many products as people have come to despise hippies (and rightly so). Too much consumer guilt caused by environmental messages thrown in their faces makes the people driving SUV's reluctant to buy their stuff*.

The main symbol of the product resembles an Asiatic character, appealing to those who believe there is an ancient secret to healthy living (there isn't). The art in the logo uses stylized bear claw slashes in the lettering, ensuring that the macho are not embarrassed to buy the product and be seen carrying it. I know that I have often wished for more masculine packaging when I'm out camping with a bunch of guys. It is so humiliating when they see my granola package and it is covered with unicorns, rainbows and "Fun Family Recipes".


*As their website reveals, The Bear Naked official van, is indeed, covered with great big hippie flowers.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fantastic Four - The Ever-Lovin' Livin' End!

F4-The End - Pies

Admit it, everyone else who read Fantastic Four - The End #5 thought the same thing I did, that the Vision was hustling pastries! I had to look twice to make sure I wasn't reading an advertisement. I could tell that was what the artists really wanted to draw the Vision holding anyways so I fixed it for them.