Saturday, September 27, 2008

Separated at Birth: Now that you've gone/All that's left is a band of gold

LSH v. 5 #1, 7, 18
L: Legion of Super-Heroes v.5 #1 (February 2005), art by Barry Kitson and Dave McCaig
M: Legion of Super-Heroes v.5 #7 (August 2005), art by Barry Kitson and Chris Blythe
R: Legion of Super-Heroes v.5 #18 (July 2006), art by Barry Kitson and Nathan Eyring
(Click picture to Gim Allon-size)



Saturday Morning Cartoon: Foxbusters...plus Nazibusters and Deathstarbusters


"Foxbusters" (pilot) (1999), directed by David Freedman and Alan Gilbey, produced by Cosgrove Hall Productions, based on the book by Dick King-Smith. More info about the cartoon.

I was pleased to recognize that the main music in the chicken-bombing sequences as one of my favorite pieces of British light music, the title theme to 633 Squadron, the great 1964 film whose bombing sequence inspired the trench attach in Star Wars:


Which of course, is as good a reason as any to post this delightful mash-up:


So. Chickens!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Sad news: The end of a comics legend

Today it was announced that the popular Li'l Jinx series of comic books is cancelled, and I for one am a sad comics fan.

Li'l Jinx


There are far too few young-adult-oriented comics on the market, and the antics of young Jinx and her tubby pal Charley Hawse delighted kids and adults of all ages. The brilliant and colorful artwork of master draftsman Joe Edwards was always a stand-out, and the funny and touching tales of a young girl bewildering and baffling her father time and time again are timeless stories of adolescent fun.

Li'l Jinx


It's especially sad because Jinx was one of the few comics on the stands specifically targeted towards young females, giving them stories of adventure, empowerment, love and stealing pies.

Li'l Jinx


I for one will miss her. I mourn the cancellation of Jinx, and...

What's that?

Minx comics have been cancelled? Minx???

...

Nevermind.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bully's Sketchbook: Stan Sakai

Here's another wonderful drawing from my sketchbook...heck, it's one of my favorite sketches of all! At San Diego Comic-Con 2008, I was lucky enough to meet Mister Stan Sakai. Y'all know him as the creator/writer/artist of one of the Funnest Comics of All Time, Usagi Yojimbo, as well as the letterer on Groo the Wanderer. Stan was funny and pleasant and created a beautiful sketch of me that I prize tremendously: it's me as an Oushi Yojimbo!

Bully, by Stan Sakai


Stan even posed for a photo with me (taken by the ever-delightful Lucy-Anne):

Stan 'n' Bully


Arigato, Stan! You're tops in my book! And if you're interested in Stan's books, you can pick 'em up at your local bookstore or comic book store, on the official site, or at Amazon.com:




Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My enemy, my narrator

Arch-enemies. Every comic book character has 'em. Superman has Luthor. Batman has The Joker. Spider-Man has The Green Goblin. Iron Man has Oxidation.

So, who, true bull-lievers, do you think is the ultimate arch-enemy of Scott Summers, the mutant known as Cyclops?

Is it Magneto?
Cyclops vs. Magneto


Is it Mister Sinister?
Cyclops vs. Mr. Sinister


Is it Wolverine?
Cyclops vs. Wolverine


No! It's this guy:
Chris Claremont

Chris Claremont


What? Chris Claremont? The guy who popularized the X-Men? The master of the mutant magazines? The writer who invented Gambit? (Okay, let's not hold that one against him.) How could Chris Claremont be the arch-enemy of Cyclops? I hear y'all argue: he isn't even a character in the Marvel Universe!

That's where you're wrong, wrong, WRONG! Chris Claremont is indeed a character in the MU and a denizen of Earth-616. Why, check out his appearances in The Uncanny X-Men and Man-Thing:

Chris Claremont
Chris Claremont
Chris Claremont


Okay, so yeah, our pal Chris exists in the same universe as the X-Men, Man-Thing, Daredevil and Royal Roy...but what possible harm could he do our favorite red-eyed mutant? He hasn't got adamantium claws or an enchanted katana sword or been exposed to radioactive zebra bites or has the strength of a thousand men when you write him a critical letter pointing out that The New Exiles really just isn't that good at all.

No, but Chris Claremont has the most deadly weapon of them all...words. Like Doug Piranha, Chris knows all the tricks: embellishment, exaggeration, magnification, overstatement, ornamentation, promulgation...and hyperbole. What's more, he knows how to use a thesaurus. And in the mouth of an ordinary man that can be a very dangerous thing indeed. But the amassed evil skills of Chris Claremont are only concentrated into a blood-hot furious weapon when one takes on the role that Claremont himself had in Cyclops's life: omniscient narrator.

Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops
Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops
Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops
Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops
Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops
Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops


Golly. Chris is relentlessly evil. No wonder Scott Summers went googly-googly nuts. Well, that an' his girlfriend dyin' all the time.

But weep not for Scott Summers, dear reader. He knows how to take care of himself:
Chris Claremont vs. Cyclops



PS: I was jus' kidding about Royal Roy.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I think that I have never seen/A poem as lovely as Wolverine.

Let's Visit the X-Men!

Those fans who wrote to Marvel books
Some of 'em had quite clever hooks

After each issue, without fail
They kept on sending in that mail

From all over Earth notes arrive
To Mad. Ave., Number Six-Two-Five,

"Make mine Marvel!" "Long Live Stan!"
"Will Gwen Stacy kiss Spider-Man?"

Demands of fights they want to see
Sub-Mariner versus DD.

And picky fans with countless tries
To catch Stan out and win No-Prize.

But best of all, you will agree
Are writers who send poetry

So let's look at letters sublime
Sent in to X-Men, all in rhyme.


X-Men #139
This one's from X-Men one-three-nine
(Soon after this John Byrne'd resign)
An elegy of sad dismay
For Phoenix. (That would be Jean Grey.)


X-Men #47
In X-Men forty-six I read
That Professor X is dead
Here's a salute to that bald man
From Robert Rapp out in Spokane.


X-Men #35
And here's one from an early year.
Holy cow, it's Mark Evanier!
I think somehow he always knew
He'd be writing those poems in Groo.


So next time you pick up your pen
To write to Marvel, think again
You should write some poetry
Address it to Mister Stan Lee
Try to recapture the Age of Silver
...

...
Blast!



Monday, September 22, 2008

Mystery Science Monday: Money Talks


Part 1


Part 2

"Money Talks" (1955). This MSTed version is from Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 621 (1995), starring Mike Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, and Kevin Murphy.



Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Wodehouse a Week #73: Hot Water

A Wodehouse a Week banner
Bonjour, ma petite fromages! Hot Water (1932), like French Leave, takes the usual Wodehouse couples in love and plops them en masse not in the London countryside but in a French chateau. Why isn't it called Eau Chaude? The world may never know.

ChateauNot everybody is who they seem during the house party at the Chateau Blissac in beautiful Brittany. The debonair Vicomte de Blissac? That's really American Packy Franklyn, who's tête oveur talons d'amour with Jane Opal, daughter of blustering American Senator. Problem 1: Jane's engaged to Blair Eggleston, who in a comedy of errors becomes the Senator's valet. Problem 2: Packy's engaged to the prickly and snobbish Lady Beatrice Bracken.
Packy was feeling mildly surprised that, considering how deeply in love he was with Beatrice, the recent embrace had not revolted him more. He had not enjoyed it, of course. He could scarcely have been expected to do that. But it had not really revolted him. He was, however, conscious of a feeling of relief that Beatrice had not been an eyewitness of the episode.

Jane was thinking rather along the same lines. It would be too much, naturally, to say that she had derived any pleasure from Packy's kiss. On the other hand, it had not jarred every fibre of her being. But she was glad Blair had not happened to be looking on at the moment.
Is there any reader in any doubt who will wind up with whom at the end this novel?

Along the way we have the usual comedy derived from the protagonist pretending to be someone he isn't when he meets someone else (confidence trickster Oily Carlisle, who later re-appears in Cocktail Time) pretending to be someone he isn't, both of them pretending to be able to speak French when they can't:
'Still, you did get here, didn't you, Duke?' said Miss Putnam, smiling in a roguish sort of way. 'And how nice it will be for you, having somebody to talk to in your own language. I was saying to the Vicomte only just now that, however well you speak a foreign language, it is never quite the same.'

A somewhat strained pause followed the delivery of this dictum. For the space of perhaps a quarter of a minute the French aristocrats stared at one another dumbly. Here, you would have said, watching them, were two strong, silent Frenchmen.

Mr Carlisle was the first to rally from the shock.

'Parfaitement,' he said.

'Alors,' said Packy.

'Parbleu!'

'Nom d'une pipe!'

There was another pause. It was as if some theme of deep interest had been exhausted.

Packy indicated the sky, as if something to which he felt the visitor's attention should be directed.

'Le soleil!'

'Mais oui!'

'Beau!'

'Parbleu!' said Mr Carlisle, rather meanly falling back on old stuff.

They paused again. Packy, except for 'Oo la la' which he did not quite know how to bring in, had now shot his bolt.

But Mr Carlisle was made of sterner stuff....after what he would have been the first to confess a bad two minutes, was his resourceful self once more.

'But really, my dear fellow,' he said, with a light laugh, 'all this is vairy delightful, but you must not tempt me, no. My English is not good, and I promise my instructeur that always I would speak it only. You understand?'

The interval of silence had enabled Packy to dig up a really hot one.

'C'est vrai,' he said, with a glance at Miss Putnam which suggested that, in his opinion, would hold her for awhile. 'Mais, c'est vrai, mon vieux. Oo lá lá, c'est vrai! I also, study the English and do not want to speak the French.'
Miss Putnam, in keeping with the Wodehouse Rule of Maximum Occupancy of Imposters, is also not who she seems:
'Presenting Kate Amelia Putnam, of the James B. Flaherty Detective Agency of New York," she said amiably, holding the pistol in her hand on a steady line with Mr Carlisle's pelvis. 'Drop that gun. And you,' she added to Packy, 'keep your hands up.'

Mr Carlisle's automatic dropped to the floor. Miss Putnam seemed well content.
(Although, in this little stuffed reader's opinion, this dénouement is slightly ruined by exposing it several chapters before to the reader, well before Packy and Oily discover it at the point of a gat. But I'm second-guessing Mr Wodehouse, and we all know that leads to tears.)

Silver cow creamerOh sure, between the love-crossed youngsters and the masquerading as Frenchmen story there's also a plot about trying to steal away an incriminating letter written by Senator Opal, but that's just a MacGuffin (or, as we like to call it, a Silver Cow Creamer) to set up a lot of laffs, lovely...
'...When I married you, my late husband's sister Mabel made herself extremely unpleasant. She seemed to consider that a woman who had been Mrs Wilmot Brewster ought to be satisfied for life. I'm not sure that when Wilmot died she would not have liked me to commit suttee.'

'Do what?'

'I was only joking. Commit suicide. When an Indian dies, his widow burns herself on the grave. They call it suttee.'

A wistful look came into Mr Gedge's face. It was just his luck, he seemed to be thinking, that an unkind fate had made the late Wilmot Brewster a Californian and not an Indian.
...and groan-worthy...
'I knew a man who was fired for removing a spot from his employer's clothing.'

'What a shame!' said Jane. 'Why?'

'It was a ten-spot,' explained Packy.
...to lines even Chico Marx might be ashamed to utter:
'.,.Did they deport you?'

'Oh, no. My mamma send a cable that I should go out West to Colorado. I left New York to arrive there. It was a great wrench.'

'You were sorry to go?'

'No, I liked going. I had fun.'

'Then why was it a great wrench?'

'Because it was. A great cattle-wrench.'

'I get you,' said Packy, 'Your habit of dropping into Yiddish is a little confusing at times, but I get you.'
But nobody describes scenery the way Wodehouse does. He ought to have been a writer for Town and Country:
He found Mrs Gedge in the Venetian Suite, a large apartment with a heavily carved ceiling which always looked as if it were going to come down and bean you.
So, in short, Hot Water: oo la la.

A Wodehouse a Week #73: Hot Water


How to get Hot Water: fill a teakettle from the tap and put on the range, being careful not to set your fur alight. Turn around and don't watch it! Quickly the teakettle will whistle and...oh wait, I've made another one of my foolish mistakes. Like me, you can have a copy of Hot Water bubbling merrily in front of you in no time by clicking with upon the Amazon box to your right. (Prefer l'edition français? Simplement le clique ici.) I find it best enjoyed with some French toast made out of French bread. But that's just moi.

A Wodehouse a Week Index.


Ten of a Kind: I'm Not Dead Yet





















(More Ten of a Kind here.)