Thursday, May 29, 2008

What a girl wants

Okay, so you got that job and have made sure you can keep it. So what is the next step? Why, ditching the rat race and catching a man as soon as possible, of course! Why work like a dog when you can take the easy route and stay home, take care of a husband, keep house and cook?

In the 1950s women secured employment for one of two reasons: They were unattractive or were pretty and on the prowl for husbands. In this tale torn from real life, secretarial pool-member Kathy shows the office skanks that predatory slutting around is not the only way to trap a man into giving up his freedom. This story is unusual because it was not the norm for a woman in 1952 not to use her body to get a ring on her finger (or at least a paid apartment in town and a generous monthly stipend). By relying on her wits and intelligence to find a good husband Kathy defeated her office rivals and secured a productive mate. True, you have to grant the story-teller a huge amount of willing suspension of disbelief at that unrealistic plot but it is still a good story.


While Kathy's story had a happy ending she took a huge risk by relying on her competence and personality to get the attention of her intended target. Most women are not so fortunate, but Kathy rolled the dice and won. If Howard somehow stopped being distracted by her physical charms he would have been repulsed by Kathy's brain power. Kathy would then have died alone and childless and been ostracized forever by all the other office hens until she lost her job for not "playing ball".

From Love Romances #82 (July 1952).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Comic Book Ad: Love's Baby Soft

If you are old enough to remember the print and television advertising campaigns for Love's Baby Soft product line then you may recall that they all shared one element in common: An Ick-Factor.

The campaign for Love's was the most overt attempts I can recall to portray young girls as objects of desire and went far past the usual innocence of the Coppertone Baby in imagery. The intent of the advertising may have been to "help" or "guide" young ladies into blossoming into a proper adult woman consumer, but the spots always came off as kind of creepy and all the packaging of the product was ridiculously phallic. I remember one television spot in particular that showed a couple of tweener kids hesitantly meeting at a party and the tag line "Love begins with Love's Baby Soft." The following commercial was for Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. Apparently the studio techs editing the placement of the commercials had an odd sense of humor.

This magazine ad from 1978, with the young model's breasts presented with a ribbon (blue, even, as if marking her as the property of a boy) like she is a gift to be unwrapped and some of the others are tame in comparison to what is regularly presented in media today. Yet for the most part current advertising for this age group, as extreme as it is on the internet and cable, does not usually present the model as innocent jail-bait up for grabs by a lecherous Uncle.

Today advertisers are wise enough to kind of shy away from the Pretty Baby imagery and when they don't, they receive some pretty fast and furious negative feedback from public and watchdog groups. Having to avoid this form of advertising must make advertisers chafe as there are entire industries devoted to the sexcapades of young starlets and celebrities. Even though the Pandora's Box has been flung wide open decades ago (so to speak) it is one thing to describe in detail a young celebrity's acts at a house party and very much another to try to sell the personal intimacy products she used during the evening to the average 16 year old.

From Marvel Comics Pizzazz #8 (May 1978).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day isn't about a Midnight Madness weekend mattress sale or three days off from work, but a call for a nation to reflect on the sacrifices made by our citizens. No matter how you feel about the rationalization for any war, past or present, don't forget that it is human beings and not slogans, flags or banners that are in harms' way.

To those who fought,

To those who objected,

To those who came home,

To those who remained on the field,

To those who were reunited with their families,

To those who were orphaned and widowed,

To those who believed and did their duty,

To those who did not believe but served anyways,

To those who sent others into battle,

To those who led the charge.
These are the people Memorial Day is for. If one does anything today to mark the occasion it should be to pledge that the each conflict is the last one and work for it until it becomes true.

Garrigan's BEMs

Planet Stories (May 1951).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Share the Gene Colan love!

Here's a Gene Colan-drawn tale of a girl trying way too hard to find love and romance. This is another cautionary story from the Marvel Romance Department credited to Stan Lee. Marge is unsuccessful at finding a boyfriend, even though she is cute and a lot of fun. After reading a romance comic book she happened to have lying around the house, Marge realizes that she is changing her behavior and sabotaging her own relationships. She then vows to change but just continues on the same course, not really changing even though she believes she does. She goes from one extreme to another.

Marge then takes relationship cues and adapts her behavior by emulating the characters from such sources as comic books and popular cinema all with disastrous results. Predictably, Marge tries and fails at love using one false persona after another until she finally takes on the long-forgotten character of the one special girl any boy would be sure to fall in love with!

But who could that be? Read and find out!

That's right! Marge choose to be just herself and found true love! Of course, her real self is a flaky, weird, neurotic schizoid with a tenuous grasp on reality as only Stan Lee could write her, but she's cute as heck! Yet, that is okay. As every boy knows, attractiveness goes a long way to balance out the crazy side of the scale.

From Our Love Story #36 (October 1975).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Totally uninformed opinion

McCain is surely self-destructing a bit but the media seems to ignore it as usual. I'm cynical enough to think that it sure feels like the fix is in for him to be our next President.

I don't know if Barack or Hillary will be the better choice, but I sure know I don't want another Republican in the White House. I heard McCain giving a speech on the radio while I was driving in to work the other day and I actually thought it was Bush for a while. The manner of speech, tone, topics and cadence sounded exactly like an old speech from George. I've had enough of that. Plus, he's 72 years old and McCain himself said long ago he would be too old to run in 2008. Think about Reagan's mental state during the latter part of his Presidency, who around him was actually running the country back then and take note that the same people are in the halls of power today.

Clinton really needs to suck it up and throw her support behind Obama and beg to be Co-President as soon as feasible and in a way that she does not appear to be weak or a quitter.

You know, I am getting tired of never voting someone in but always voting someone out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wife of the Party!

No election is complete without a few things to interest the voters other than the important issues of the economy, terror and immigration! Namely, plenty of sex, sleazy campaign managers, a brain-dead populace, torrid affairs, and factoring in public opinion when choosing a spouse!

From Our Love Story #28 (June 1974).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Science vs. Superstition

Science wins!

Science always wins when up against spooks and devils, though often the loser disputes the outcome. Such is the power of fear, gullibility and delusion.

From Devil Kids #2 (September 1962).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hobos in La Jolla: The Movie

Some say that years ago he used to be a fashion model. Take away the years of self-abuse and one could see from his build and bone structure that in his younger days it could have been possible that once he made hearts beat faster from interest whereas now it would be from the fear of being accosted.

He was discovered drunk and barely conscious in a loading dock driveway, empty beer cans nearby. When someone asked him to move out of the driveway so a delivery truck could pull into the loading dock he started screaming and crying. He said he has AIDS. He said he is having a seizure. He said "If I could get up I would knock you in the head." He said he can't walk. This was probably a new development because the last time I saw him he was running at high speed out the door of a grocery store after shoplifting a chicken and several bottles of alcohol. He begged for an ambulance. In spite of the threat of violence (or because of it) someone called the police and paramedics to assist him. His journey from walking a runway to crawling in the street could be an interesting and cautionary tale.

Friday, May 16, 2008

My two cents on Gene Colan

As many have reported, comics veteran and my personal fave comic artist Gene Colan is ill and is having difficulty meeting the expenses of health care. There are available auctions of his work and some creators have pledged that a portion or all of profits from their material will go to Mr. Colan.

While buying some more Colan goodies is fine, I prefer the direct donation approach the TCJ recommended. You can go to Paypal and make a direct donation to Gene at Now, I am by no means rolling in cash myself but I can spare a few bucks out of my Economic Stimulus check for the Colans. While the Government would probably prefer I go buy a television with it I'm using it to reduce my bills a bit and give myself a break, just like much of the populace of America will likewise be doing. Instead of buying that new memory card for the camera, patio furniture or that Starbucks travel mug you had your eye on skip a few coffees in the morning and make a donation to Gene, who gave us all so much over so many years. You'll never miss it and you'll do a good thing.

Get well soon, Gene!

The page above from Tomb of Dracula #50 is actually one of the few pieces of original art I own I have not divested myself of. When I saw it way back in the 1980s at the San Diego Comic Con I just had to have it. No, it isn't for sale and it never will be. When I do part with it I will probably donate it a museum or library or something.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Young Tarzan - JERK!

It's amazing Tarzan survived to grow into adulthood.

From Pizzazz #2 (November 1977).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

She started out pretty and smart

Click the picture to "Fly Me".

Info page about the airline personnel who serve you while on your flight. From the 1968 issue of AstroComics, an American Airlines giveaway comic book published by Harvey Comics promoting air travel.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Speed Racer - Alternate opening theme

I'm not a fan of the 70s import Speed Racer cartoon. The thrifty animation, dialog, that stupid kid brother and chimpanzee irritated me to no end. But I did always like the English and Japanese opening theme songs as they are fun and peppy. While not enthusiastic about that particular entry of anime I am very much a fan of angry, selfish alternative songstresses. So with the (short-lived) interest in all things Speed due to the live-action movie that was just released I'm presenting a third opening title sequence for your enjoyment featuring the music styling of the sometimes-uncompromising singer-songwriter Liz Phair.

It's Liz Phair, so obviously the video contains some NSFB (Not Safe For Bully) language.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Evolution gone mad!

Fish would develop limbs and venture onto land? Unthinkable!

From Amazing Stories (February 1940).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Comic Book PSA: Don't forget to register

From Showcase #5 (December 1956).

I wonder how many of these things in the PSA are illegal now or legal only because it may influence voters. Literacy test? Giving free babysitting services could be construed as vote-buying and what dirty trick-playing political hack wouldn't try to steer people who have a poor understanding of English into voting for their party? I comprehend English just fine and I have a heck of a time figuring out what those Vote NO on YES ads are really trying to tell me. Don't laugh or sneer until you read some history.

And 37 per cent of eligible voters didn't cast a ballot for President in 1952? I assume this means not the eligible people who were "mistakenly" listed as felons or didn't have photo ID but didn't bother to go to the polls. That 37% gave us Eisenhower and Tricky Dick! Ouch! We all know how that's turned out. Or maybe not. People forget what a candidate said a month ago.

The benefits of registering to vote:
  • You get to contribute to making things worse than before.
  • One less box to check on that form at the DMV.
  • You get called for jury duty.
  • Naive yet attractive college-age women may come to your house with many pamphlets, something most comic book fans are not used to.
  • 4 a.m. phone calls from auto-dialers with recorded messages about the "issues".
  • Going to the Candidates' debate.
  • The knowledge that you did something worthwhile, because that annual five dollar donation to the Salvation Army at Thanksgiving just isn't enough to erase all the crappy things you did to everyone all year.
  • The smug feeling you get when ignoring all those guys in front of grocery stores trying to get you to sign petitions and register for their preferred party.
  • Write-in candidates on ballots, i.e.: SLEESTAK FOR PRESIDENT.