Saturday, July 24, 2010

BSBdG: Trevor Von Eeden

Sending out one of those super-duper multi-cover tribute Bacardi Show Birthday Greetings to Trevor Von Eeden, 51 years young today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Closer to Seeing the Dream Come True.

Just found out via a watched comments section on the For the Love of Harry blog that at long last, the Harry Nilsson documentary Who is Harry Nilsson and Why is Everybody Talking About Him? is set to be released on DVD on October 26 of this year, according to! Now, release dates and schedules working the way they do, this may be changed, but at least we Nilsson fans who have been waiting to see this for years now can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

In keeping with this blog post title, "Don't tell me that isn't what you wanted to do"...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Still I am Mightiest of Them All!" Part 4.

Continuing my glacially-paced look back at a randomly-chosen run of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Mighty Thor #'s 144-168 (1967-69).

#147 picks up where the last couple of issues left off, with the now-less-than-godlike Thor in deep doo-doo with the police in the aftermath of the botched Giant Golden Bull Caper, in which the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime hypnotized him into trying to steal a huge statue from a museum. Pinned by gunfire from the cops (and I'd imagine in his de-powered state, a slug could be fatal), he picks the golden bull back up (and off the trapped Princess Python), carries it laboriously back to its resting place, and surrenders peacefully. The Princess (who seemed to be crushing a bit on Goldilocks) pleads with them not to arrest him, "He's innocent!" she proclaims...but she's also making noise so her giant python can find her and carry her down to the street below the museum, where the Ringmaster and the other Circus members await. The last time we see them, they're hauling ass out of town, claiming it was Thor's fault their plan went all pear-shaped. Meanwhile, the Thunder God is taken downtown and booked...and he even gives up his hammer.

Change of scenery now, as we go to somewhere else in the universe, and find none other than good old Loki, in exile, on a big interconnected asteroid/barren rock-like thing. He helpfully muses to himself (and us, of course) that even though Odin sentenced him to eternal exile on that barren planetoid, he knows that the big guy is a sap and won't leave him there for much longer. And sure enough, on the very next page, Loki feels "stirrings" and disappears, rematerializing in Asgard, in front of Odin. The somewhat random All-Father tells Loki that he is also merciful as well as vengeful, and if Loki promises to be a good boy from now on, then he is free to go (since, after all, if Loki stays on the rock, then Stan and Jack can't use him in new stories!). Loki, in his best Jon Lovitz voice (that's who I'd cast in the role in the Thor movie), promises to be a good boy from now on (you may roll eyes) just as Sif and Balder burst in, and call Odin out on his decision. Now, if we've learned one thing in these last four issues, it P-I-S-S-E-S Odin off when people question his judgement, no matter how cockeyed nuts it may be, so he gets all uppity and reminds them that Thor stepped up to him too, and got depowered and stranded on Earth for his trouble. Sif and Balder take the hint and leave, and Loki slinks off chewing on this new morsel of information about his hated stepbrother. He decides to head to Earth and deliver a little payback to the Thunder God C.O.D. for all the ass-whippings he's suffered in the past.

Meanwhile, in his jail cell, Thor is sitting and talking to his cellmate when the cellmate begins to mess with him, suspecting he's really a plant, a spy of some sort. He even thump's Thor's helmet off his head! (The other prisoners are wearing jumpsuits, Thor gets to wear his costume for some reason, including his hat) Thor does not appreciate this at all, and hoists the con up in the air in order to perform a yea verily beatdown on his butt when he is interrupted by a guard- someone has stood Thor's bail, and he's free to go! As he reclaims his hammer and signs his release, he asks to meet his benefactor, and is greeted by a slim, familiar looking fellow in a fedora and cool shades (kinda resembling Speed Racer's Inspector Detector), who states that he's not interested in gratitude, and will explain his reasons in his car as they leave. As they drive three cars wide on the freeway, Thor puts two and two together and realizes that the man is, you guessed it, Loki- and they proceed to indulge in your basic five-page Lee/Kirby slugfest, with a god-powered Loki beating the crap out of valiant and strong, but mortal, Thor. Much grandiose soliloquizing and shattering of brick walls happens in these five pages, until they are interrupted just in time by Balder and Sif, who have decided to defy Odin and beam down to Earth to help their (boy)friend. Odin looks down and sees what hath transpired, and once more is P-I-S-S-E-D (I wonder if Norse Gods have anger management therapists?) O-F-F, firing a beam of mysterious power down to the planet below. Next month: "LET THERE BE CHAOS!"

The second part of the Inhumans backfeature is quite interesting. The robotic Kree Sentry is shown visiting the city of Attilan, just after their king Randac has exposed himself for the first time to the Terragen Mists. The Sentry was set by the Kree to watch the city, and appear to them when they become advanced enough. As they await his fate, the Sentry informs them that their people were granted superior intelligence by his masters, which explains the reasons why to their satisfaction. Turns out he, too, is there to find out how the mists have affected their monarch. Just then, he arrives and demonstrates, firing a powerful, but ineffective, force blast at the giant robot. The Sentry observes that the mists have given him power beyond any other human, and shall henceforth be referred to as...Inhuman! Randac, for his part, vows to expose the other subjects to the mists, and will live in the Great Refuge. Satisfied with this, he admonishes Randac to tell his people to use their powers wisely, because if the Kree ever does return, they may "meet as...deadly foes". The Sentry departs, "never again to be seen by...the Inhumans". And thus concludes...Thor #147!

Comments: I will say that after the mundane Ringmaster two-parter, the return to the more cosmic godstuff was welcome. Ironically, though, that whole juxtaposition of the ordinary Earthstuff, the reactions of the man on the street to Thor and his friends (well illustrated by this issue's prison scenes, as well as the sight of Thor and Loki driving off in a car), was to me one of the most interesting things about the whole series. I guess, though, that there are only so many double-takes by Joe Blow on the street that one can do before routine sets in, which probably explains the shift to more grandiose story ideas beginning soon. Besides, I'm sure Stan and Jack both realized that the Ringmaster and his cronies didn't belong in this milieu, and that whole thing just smacked of "We need to ground Thor a bit, let's try this", and it wasn't altogether successful, even though I liked Kirby's slimy, reptilian rendition of the Ringmaster. Also, I will hand it to Vince Colletta for a not-bad inking job this time out. Of course, unless one owns a whole set of Kirby Collectors in which a page or three from this might have appeared in penciled form, showing what he left out, we'll never know for sure what might have been.

Next time, we find out exactly what mojo Odin hath cast this time, and how it affects our quartet of battling gods.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Add Some Post-Apocalyptic Native American Adventure to Your Day.

From Scout #10, cover dated August of 1986, here's a nifty pinup gallery featuring some very good artists doing their versions of Tim Truman's characters, including Tom Yeates and Steve Bissette:

I included J.K. Snyder III's because it's his written and drawn-by back feature, which ran in the first eight issues of this title, that I'm going to be taking a look at next. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvey, I Hardly Knew Ya.

I won't lie to you: The only issues of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor I have read in my life are two of the DC/Vertigo ones that came out a few years ago, and I got comped on them. Now I realize that probably makes me automatically invalid as a comics commentator, but bear with me, OK? I'm not unfamiliar with Pekar's work in general; you couldn't read an issue of The Comics Journal in the Eighties or Nineties without running across something with his name in it- a review, interview, you name it. For what it's worth, I've read plenty of excerpts in different places as well as anthologies with stuff he did in them, and I did see him on David Letterman once or twice. Sadly, though, not the one in which he appeared for the last time. I was never really moved to seek out his work, however, (even waxed philosophical about this shortcoming of mine a few years ago, scroll down a ways for the review) even though I enjoyed the excellent American Splendor feature film, made by Terry Zwigoff and starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar.

If I ever do decide to make the effort to appreciate Pekar's work more, it won't be in his lifetime, sorry to say- Harvey passed on early this morning, and the entire comics community is in mourning. Even a Philistine like me can recognize that Pekar's influence over the last three decades has been huge, especially in the Alternative comics genre, in which he was a pioneer and an inspiration, especially for those who chose to write and illustrate slice-of-life stories. He was a talented writer with a unique point-of-view, and will be missed by all.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thanks For the Memeories.

In an effort to provide content here on a more frequent basis (stop laughing, you), I think it's high time I got back to putting music-related stuff up here. And in that spirit, here's a Facebook meme that I got tagged with by the esteemed M'sieu David Fiore.

Rules: Create a non objective list of your favorite albums of the last 20 years (anything released between 1990 and now), remember, this is your FAVORITES so, if Maroon 5's songs about Jane was your favorite album, that should be number 1, even if you feel Nevermind was a more influential album.

#1 is probably #1, but most of the rest of these are in the order I thought of them, mostly. It doesn't say how many albums to list, so I'll limit it to 25. I have no doubt that I will forget several. Also, for no good reason, I'm naming one album per artist.

1. Flaming Lips- The Soft Bulletin
2. Lloyd Cole- Don't Get Weird on Me, Babe
3. Matthew Sweet- Girlfriend
4. Ron Sexsmith- Other Songs
5. Eels- Daisies of the Galaxy
6. Los Lobos- Colossal Head
7. Wilco- Summerteeth
8. Jellyfish- Spilt Milk
9. The Jayhawks- Sound of Lies
10. Coldplay- A Rush of Blood to the Head
11. Paul Westerberg- Suicane Gratifaction
12. Shelby Lynne- I Am Shelby Lynne
13. Julian Lennon- Help Yourself
14. R.E.M.- New Adventures in Hi-Fi
15. Puffy Amiyumi- Nice.
16. Brian Wilson- SMiLE
17. The Waterboys- Dream Harder
18. Masters of Reality- Sunrise on the Sufferbus
19. Cibo Matto- Stereo Type "A"
20. Tori Amos- The Beekeeper
21. Iris Dement- My Life
22. My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges
23. Miranda Lee Richards- The Herethereafter
24. Maria McKee- Life is Sweet
25. Joe Henry- Trampoline

Others I thought of after I posted the list: Prince's Gold Experience, Patty Griffin's 1000 Kisses, Cyndi Lauper's Hat Full of Stars, Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Stone Temple Pilots' Purple, Paul McCartney's Driving Rain, Matthew Sweet's In Reverse, Jack Johnson & Friends' Curious George Soundtrack (shut up, you), The White Stripes' Elephant, Beck's Odelay and Sea Change, Fishbone's Truth and Soul, Pearl Jam's No Code.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Very Breast of DC.

In typical better late than never fashion, I read the second issue of Zatanna's new series this morning. One thing, or to be more accurate, two things kept jumping out at me at various junctures: Zee's boobies, placed by the artist and/or highlighted by the colorist to be the focal point of the composition. I guess the adolescent faction of the readership just will not be ignored.

Like Seinfeld so famously quipped, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."