Monday, December 31, 2007

Juno

I don't know what the best film of the year is, but one of the funniest films, in a year filled with some damn funny films, is Juno.

One Hundred and Seventy-Five Days Later

I went to work today. It wasn't a full day, being New Years Eve we got off early. I actually arrived 45 minutes before the lobby to my office opened and still only worked six hours. It may not have been the most productive six hours, but it was the most satisfying. It's good to be gainfully employed once again.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Brother Jack

He rarely comes to this site, but Happy Birthday anyway bro!

The Tango

I needed to do a series of pieces for the class I was in this last semester and decided to make the piece I had done earlier this year, Festival, the first of a series on dance. This was the next piece I did, a watercolor under-painting with Nupastels and Unison pastels on top on a 12x16 Art Spectrum Colourfix Plein Air Board. There are also a few pastel pencils in this one. This was my first attempt on the Colourfix boards and I really liked the way they grab and hold the pastel.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dreadlock Holiday Revisited

I went to the movies yesterday with my brother Jack who is in town for the holidays. We saw National Treasure, Book of Secrets, which we both thought was not nearly as bad as the critics are saying. By no means a great movie, but it was a lot of fun in a mindless fun sort of way, much like the first National Treasure film.

After the movie we stopped by The Yard House for a couple of beers and some onion rings (this was real treat for me as for dietary reasons I don't drink beer at home anymore, only when I go out). They play the rock music pretty loud at The Yard House and while we were talking Dreadlock Holiday by 10CC was played. I have a CD with this song on it that I used to listen to almost every day, but rarely hear anymore since getting my Sirius radio two years ago.

Every time I hear the song I think back to about eight years ago when we took a cruise of the Caribbean, more precisely I think back to our day in Jamaica. The ship docked in Ocho Rios at what they call the 007 Dock (since it was used prominently in the film Dr. No) and we had no plans for the day. That ended up being a mistake.

My wife, son and I took a crowded van "taxi" to a nearby tourist trap shopping center, where after a few minutes perusing the exact same merchandise in one store after another, we decided to leave the relative comfort and security of the gated and guarded tourist trap shopping center for the winding streets of Ocho Rios. Outside we hailed a cab that wanted to take us to some waterfalls (we should have listened to the guy) but instead insisted on going down to the beach. This would be mistake number three by my counting.

Jamaica is not Mexico and a Jamaican beach in not like a Mexican beach. First, we were the only white people we saw on the beach. Second, not only was the smell of pot in the air, but most everyone we saw was openly smoking dope. Third, everything on the beach seemed rather "make shift," the boats there for charter seemed unprofessional and not very safe. Which, fourth, when taken together just made it clear that as they say in the song, "You'd better understand that you're alone. A long way from home."

My wife was really sort of freaked by the whole thing and felt intimidated by the people hawking their boats for charter. Maybe she inhaled too much of the pot smoke, 'cause she definitely became paranoid and once she did she spread that paranoia to me. In the end we just kept walking and eventually left the beach and started back on the main road out of town, beating a hasty retreat to the 007 Dock and the relative safety of the ship.

It was a few years later that I heard Dreadlock Holiday for the first time in years and unlike before, I listened to the words this time. I know exactly where 10CC was coming from with this song:


I was walkin' down the street
Concentratin' on truckin' right
I heard a dark voice beside of me
And I looked round in a state of fright
I saw four faces one mad
A brother from the gutter
They looked me up and down a bit
And turned to each other

I say
I don't like cricket oh no
I love it
I don't like cricket oh no
I love it
Don't you walk thru my words
You got to show some respect
Don't you walk thru my words
'Cause you ain't heard me out yet

Well he looked down at my silver chain
He said I'll give you one dollar
I said you've got to be jokin' man
It was a present from me Mother
He said I like it I want it
I'll take it off your hands
And you'll be sorry you crossed me
You'd better understand that you're alone
A long way from home

And I say
I don't like reggae no no
I love it
I don't like reggae oh no
I love it
Don't you cramp me style
Don't you queer on me pitch
Don't you walk thru my words
'Cause you ain't heard me out yet

I hurried back to the swimming pool
Sinkin' pina coladas
I heard a dark voice beside me say
Would you like something harder
She said I've got it you want it
My harvest is the best
And if you try it you'll like it
And wallow in a Dreadlock Holiday

And I say
Don't like Jamaica oh no
I love her
Don't like Jamaica oh no
I love her oh yea
Don't you walk thru her words
You got to show some respect
Don't you walk thru her words
'Cause you ain't heard her out yet

I don't like cricket
I love it (Dreadlock Holiday)
I don't like reggae
I love it (Dreadlock Holiday)
Don't like Jamaica
I love her (Dreadlock Holiday)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Strange Adventures #209

Strange Adventures #209 (On Sale: December 26, 1967) features just another wonderful Neal Adams Deadman cover.

"How Many Times Can a Guy Die?" is plotted by Carmine Infantino, scripted by Jack Miller and drawn by Neal Adams. Deadman suspects that the Eagle was responsible for his death. He takes over the body of a circus hand named Pete and leaves a note for the Eagle which claims that he knows about his crime. The Eagle brings the note to Vashnu who recognizes the handwriting as Boston Brand's.

Deadman then follows the Eagle and learns that the acrobat is really a thief. The Eagle and his gang steal some jewels, so Deadman attempts to gather evidence while in Pete's body. The Eagle catches Pete and tries to kill him. Deadman, still animating Pete, is able to stay alive until the police arrive. The cops take the Eagle into custody, but they also confirm that the Eagle was responsible for another theft elsewhere at the time of Boston's murder. This story was reprinted in Deadman #3.

The back-up story is "The Man with Four Minds" by Ed Hamilton and Carmine Infantino and is a reprint from Strange Adventures #69.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas Present

When earlier this month a friend of mine asked the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" on a discussion board I frequent, I was the first to answer; I said simply, "A job." I was surprised to see how many other people on the board chimed in that they too wanted a job for Christmas; the economy seems to be much worse than Washington would like you to believe. Anyway, after our cruise, the complete disintegration of the deal that was in the works for a job with Countrywide, my Mom's stroke and my subsequent bout of pancreatitis, I finally started seriously looking for a job in mid-November. At my step-son John's suggestion I began using indeed.com and found a number of jobs for which I was really a good match. One of them was with Corinthian Colleges. I got the call a few weeks ago for an interview and was called back a few days later for a second interview.

When they called me back for that second interview the man I met (my new boss) asked, "So, surprised that we called you back?"

"No. Not at all."

"Oh, cocky and confident, eh?"

"I saw the job specs. It's like you read my resume and then wrote up the job description. I'm the guy you are looking for."

"Well, we shall see about that." Five minutes in, I knew it was mine; I have never been so relaxed in an interview, ever. It's going to be a long drive in and out each day, but it will be to a job that's just what I was looking for and pretty darn close to the money I was looking for. And, best of all, it has nothing to do with the mortgage industry!

No, I take that back; best of all is that I will be working for a company that has as its core purpose, giving people access to a better life through education and training. I can't think of a better industry to be in than one that provides people a more enriching future.

I start December 31st and will be spending a few weeks in the January/February range in Florida learning the ins and outs of a new system the company has just purchased which we are going to be modifying for our specific use.

Friday, December 21, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #81

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #81 (On Sale: December 21, 1967) features a great Neal Adams cover. The second issue I bought and I was hooked I tell you, hooked!

"No Witnesses in Outer Space" by is by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger. Continuing from last issue, Lois has moved to Coral City and started a new life. Superman misses her and decides to go back in time to repair their relationship. He plans to arrive at the birthday party he missed, but circumstances cause him to be delayed again. After concluding once again that the past can't be changed, Superman returns to the present.

Lois, in her new job as a nurse, assists Dr. Culver with an experimental gas test performed on death row convicts. Some of the convicts break loose and take Lois as a hostage. Superman arrives to stop them, but Lois is exposed to the gas. The gas gives Lois limited E.S.P. and allows her to read Superman's mind. She finds out that he does love her, but his excuse that she would be a target if they married is a real fear he has.

Lois realizes that she can't marry Rand Kirby as she had planned, but also can't bear to hurt him. When her E.S.P. gives her a vision of the future in which Superman is trapped by Kryptonite in space, she sees Rand rescue him. However, her vision shows Rand dies in the process.

Lois stows away on Rand's rocket and saves Superman herself. When the Man of Steel is free of the Kryptonite, he snaps Lois's lifeline in space.

The back-up story is "How Lois Lane Got Her Job" reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #17 and is by Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger. During a celebration of her anniversary at the Daily Planet Lois tells Clark Kent how she got her job by getting three scoops without any help from Superman. Lois relates how she caught a safe company employee who was selling safe combinations, how she got a picture of a reclusive Rajah who was really a jewel thief, and how she beat a deadline by sending her story on an archeological find in a bottle to reach the Planet. Clark recalls the events surrounding each story and realizes that Superman’s actions nearby inadvertently helped Lois get each of the scoops, but Clark decides to keep the knowledge to himself.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Heart Throbs #112

Heart Throbs #112 (On Sale: December 19, 1967) sports a cover pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

"Sweet Mystery of Love" is penciled by Howard Purcell (why do I keep thinking, "...at last I've found you!"?). This is followed by "Temporary Sweetheart," a reprint from Girls' Romances #69 and is drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs. Lastly we have "3 Girls -- Their Lives...Their Loves, Episode 11" penciled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Barbara Frielander.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More From Dodd and Saying "Enough" to Bush



People you might like to thank:

Chris Dodd: (202) 224-2823
Barbara Boxer: (202) 224-3553
Sherrod Brown: (202) 224-2315
Russ Feingold: (202) 224-5323
Ted Kennedy: (202) 224-4543
Bill Nelson: (202) 224-5274
Ron Wyden: (202) 224-5244

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chris Dodd Stops Telecom Immunity

Senator Chris Dodd interrupted his long-shot presidential campaign to return to Washington to lead the charge against telecom immunity. Way to go Chris! I think they call this leadership.

Damn Liberal Necrophiliacs!

"It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia."

-Mike Huckabee

Kennedy on Telecom Immunity

"The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies."

-Sen. Ted Kennedy

Friday, December 14, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superman #204

Superman #204 (On Sale: December 14, 1967) has another cool Neal Adams cover. This was the first issue of Superman that I purchased.

The issue begins with "The Case of the Lethal Letters" by Cary Bates, Rose Andru and Mike Esposito. Superman receives a warning that harm will befall his friends if he does not abandon his crime-fighting career. When Lana Lane and Lori Lemaris are both attacked and disappear, Superman suspects that Lois Lane will be the next target. Despite his efforts to protect her, Lois also disappears.

Superman announces that he will end his career and asks that his unknown opponent return the missing girls. Following his announcement, television reporter Lorraine Delon returns to her hideout in preparation to kill the kidnapped women. Superman follows her after picking up her excited heartbeat following his announcement.

Lorraine incapacitates Superman uses Q-Energy which originates from another universe. She explains that her real name is Lorraine Lewis, a brilliant female scientist. She holds a grudge against Superman because his girl friends with the same initials have upstaged her own achievements. Reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-31.

Next is "The Duplicate Superman," reprinted from Acton Comics #222 and created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. Superman is divided into two beings during an experimental Q-bomb test. One Superman does not possess X-ray vision, while the other is missing telescopic vision. Together the two Supermen take turns as Superman and Clark, appearing in the same place at the same time for Lois Lane.

Later, Superman-T turns criminal and steals a gold plated statue. Superman-X confronts him, but is forced away to deal with an emergency. Alone, Superman-T constructs a lead shield from the inside of the statue.

The final story is "The Fortress of Fear" by Cary Bates and Al Plastino. An alien life force takes control of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. The Fortress itself then attacks the Man of Steel and nearly defeats him.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From the Man Who Brought You "Compassionate Conservatism"

Bush vetoes kids health insurance bill

I think the headline says it all.

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Justice League of America #60

Justice League of America #60 (On Sale: December 12, 1967) has a Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson cover. This was the first issue of Justice League I purchased.

"Winged Warriors of the Immortal Queen" is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene. Zazzala the Queen Bee again attempts to press the Justice League into her service, but only succeeds in paralyzing J'onn J'onzz, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman. Succeeding in gaining control of the Atom, she reasons that she must reduce the other heroes in size in order to overpower their wills. She then changes Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Superman, and Batman into tiny winged thralls.

Having managed to open the vials of immortality elixir, Zazzala has gained immortality, but finds herself gradually becoming paralyzed as a side-effect. She therefore intends to send the League after the components of an antidote to the original serum.

When Batgirl, who has followed Batman, invades her headquarters, Zazzala changes her into another thrall. Green Lantern and Atom procure a special urn from the planet Gram, Superman and Flash acquire a heat-globe from the planet Ishtan, and Batman, Batgirl, and Green Arrow bring back a liquid from Peremunda.

After taking her antidote, the Queen Bee intends to keep the heroes as her slaves. Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 7 HC and Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

The back-up story is "The Seeing-Eye Humans" a Captain Comet reprint from Strange Adventures #38 by John Broome and Murphy Anderson.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Making That Bed

It's too bad that Ike Turner, a man central to so much influential music, should be remembered as the guy who beat his wife. Oh well, you make that bed, you lie in it.

-Keller
(who thinks "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Proud Mary" were two of the best ever)

Monday, December 10, 2007

No Telecom Immunity!

There was a time, and it seem like so very long ago, when I could count on my senator, Dianne Feinstein, to act and vote like a Democrat. Back in those days I supported her reelection campaign financially, something I stopped when she voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq. After that I would tell her people when they called, to give my name to Senator Barbara Boxer's people, that since she still voted like a member of the party I was affiliated with, she could count on my money, but that Senator Feinstein's ride on my gravy train was over.

It really sickens me that Democrats have to call her up repeatedly to get her to vote like a Democrat and this FISA bill is just another example. Feinstein is becoming California's version of Joe Lieberman, not a title I would think she is interested in wearing, but, I tell you, the way she has been voting lately, with Bush and against the American people, who the hell knows anymore.

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine

If you love old comic books, or are just interested in seeing what they were really like, check out Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine. Pappy reprints entire stores from the golden age of comics of all genres, including horror, crime, science fiction, funny animals and some super-heroes. I just discovered Pappy's this weekend and plan on spending a lot of time there going back through the 200+ entries in this blogzine. Why don't you join me?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bitch-Slapping Huckabee With His Own Words, Part II

In the same article where he called AIDS a "deadly disease for which there is no cure" and referenced here, Mike Huckabee said that "In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified...An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."

Hey, I have an idea Mike, how about anyone who voted for Bush in either election get sent the bill for the Iraq war and the rest of us, the sane ones, not pay a penny? Or maybe Mike, the bill should only be paid by the multimillionaire Republicans, like yourself, who supported and aided and abetted the cause of Bush's personal war. Yeah, that seems fair to me.

I think this guy is just one loathsome idea after another. The Los Angeles Times did a front page story Saturday on how Huckabee has been unable to separate his personal belief system from governing and what problems that has caused in the past (more on this later). Some have noted that the AIDS quotes are from 1992 and so Huckabee should be given a pass on them, but that is a bunch of crap. It is absolutely irrelevant when the quotes were made since what he said is so repugnant.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How Do You Spell Whitewash?

The Justice Department and CIA announced a joint inquiry Saturday into the spy agency's destruction of videotapes of interrogations of two suspected terrorists. I can see the future results now, "Well, we looked at it real closely and, by golly, we didn't do anything wrong after all! So, he-yuck, he-yuck, there is no reason for anyone else to bother looking into this."

How do you spell whitewash?

A Vote for AIDS Concentration Camps

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.

"It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

-Mike Huckabee

Another Inconvenient Truth

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Alan Greenspan

Friday, December 07, 2007

Chilling CSI

Anyone else watch last night's episode of CSI, "Cockroaches," directed by William Friedkin? Superior television and something I would certainly like to see repeated in the future if Mr. Friedkin is available. I was never a big fan of Friedkin's The Exorcist, never really thought the film was all that scary, but "Cockroaches" was taut and suspenseful and had a dynamite ending.

"Sir, may I have some more?"

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Atom #35

Atom #35 (On Sale: December 7, 1967) has another cool Gil Kane and Sid Greene cover.

"Plight of the Pin-Up Atom" is by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. Ray Palmer learns that the foster parents of his lab assistant Enrichetta Negrini were injured during a robbery at their home, he investigates as the Atom. The crooks return to the home to steal a collection American Primitive artwork. The Atom tries to stop them, but he is knocked out and taken prisoner. The gang leader tries to make the Atom a part of one of his other collections, but he fails to remove the Tiny Titan's size control belt.

Next is "Col. Blood Steals the Crown Jewels" also by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. When Professor Hyatt pulls a strange jeweled object from the Time Pool, the Atom enters it to investigate. He discovers that the object is one of England's Crown Jewels. While in the past, the Atom stops an attempt by Colonel Tom Blood to steal the jewels. When he returns to the present, the Atom learns that Blood was later pardoned by King Charles, and he suspects that the attempted robbery may have taken place with the king's consent.

Lastly we have a "Demand Classic" reprint from Strange Adventures #41, "Last Day on Earth" by John Broome and Sy Barry.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mixed Feelings

I'm completely conflicted about the Sub-Prime Mortgage bailout. First, I don't trust Bush to not add in some provision that will siphon even more of the Nation treasure into the hands of his disgusting , thieving cronies. Second, though I understand the problems hundreds of thousands of foreclosures will have on the economy I 1), don't trust Bush to have even a clue of how to make the problem any better and 2), I was smart enough to not refinance to a sub-prime loan, you were smart enough to not refinance to a sub-prime loan and we get no assistance at all, but the really stupid people who refinanced to a sub-prime loan, knowing full well that they had a rats chance in hell of ever paying it off, are going to be, basically, let off of the hook for their bald-faced stupidity.

No one forced these morons to sign on the dotted line for a loan they could not afford, they did that all by their lonesome; these people are directly responsible for the financial mess they have made of their lives. What ever happened to making your bed and lying in it?

Pathological Liar or Idiot-In-Chief

Keith Olbermann lays it all on the table, the only two descriptions that can fit for George Bush, in his most biting commentary to date. Listen to it and weep for your country.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Batman #199

Batman #199 (On Sale: December 5, 1967) has a nifty Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson cover adorning what was the first issue of Batman that I purchased 40 years ago. The cover is a cool idea and puts into the reader's mind that Batman is a best seller and scarce and you better get your copy while you can. Great marketing idea by Schwartz.

"Peril of the Poison Rings" is by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. The batman and Robin stop a robbery at the Norwood Estate, but while most of the gang are sent to prison, gang-leader Rembrandt Dickens escapes capture, Dickens then begins a career as a comic artist, writing true crime tales involving jobs that he planned.

When his gang is eventually released from prison, Dickens gives them poison rings. When they encounter Batman and Robin again, the Caped Crusader is scratched by one of the rings. Batman is then forced to track down the latest Batman comic book which contains a clue to Dickens's identity and location.

Next is "Seven Steps to Save Face" also by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. When Batman and Robin stop a robbery in progress, the crooks capture Robin and substitute a midget in his place. Batman then sees the midget in a Robin costume knocked out, so he lets the crooks go to save his partner. He brings the impostor back to the Batcave before realizing his mistake. The midget then learns his secret identity and uses a belt radio to pass the information to his gang.

Finally there is also a solo Robin story this issue, "Operation 'Escape," drawn by Jim Mooney and reprinted from Star Spangled Comics #124.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What Were They Waiting For?

Sometimes an idea seems like such a "no-brainer" that you wonder what took them so long to actually perfect it. How many struggling musicians have not wondered, "Why can't they make a damn guitar that tunes itself?"

They finally have.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel, Dead at 69

I have been working on a couple of blog items on Evel Knievel for a while now and never thought he would be dead when I finished them, but time has finally caught up with America's last great daredevil.

I had the extreme pleasure and great thrill of seeing Knievel jump three times. How did he do? Well, you know the old Meatloaf song, "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad." The last time was the Snake River; I got a few stories to tell for sure as I was 18 at the time and things in Twin Falls were not quite the norm that week that the X2 Skycycle took to the sky.

Love him or hate him you could never deny that Evel was the real deal; no matter how outlandish or just plain crazy the statement, Knievel's word was as good as gold. "I'm gonna jump a motorcycle over a canyon," you'd have to be nuts to say something like that, and then actually attempt it. Nuts, or just pure Evel.

And man could he work up the crowd.

More in the next few days.

Seeing It In Black and White -- Part III

This is the third and last of the white on black drawings I did in my class this past week using a white charcoal pencil and a small bit of white Unison pastel on black Canson pastel paper. This was taken from a magazine ad for what product I don't recall. I was going to stop at the lapels, but the instructor said I should add in more of the leather jacket and turn the piece from a facial portrait to a character study. I think she was right and the piece is much more interesting for the effort.

Friday, November 30, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Action Comics #358

Action Comics #358 (On Sale: November 30, 1967) is like a line of demarcation in the history of Superman covers. Neal Adams' dramatic staging of a grieving and distraught Superman is just a stunner. If you ever needed an indication that this was not your father's Superman, this cover was it.

Inside is a different story though as "Superman... Guilty of Homicide" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein is only a marginal departure from the standard Superman fare. Members of the International Crime Exchange develop a plan to frame Superman for murder. Dr. Frost has created a method to temporarily resuscitate the dead. He uses the procedure on Bullets Stacey, a dead crook, now given about ten hours of new life. Before Stacey can meet Superman in a boxing match, his revived heart gives out, and he dies.

Ron Noble the chairman of the Crime Exchange volunteers to take Stacey's place. During an exhibition boxing match, Noble swallows a poison pill which kills him after a Superman punch. The hidden poison makes it look like Superman lost control of his powers and hit his opponent too hard.

Frost then complicates Superman's defense by posing as the coroner and further demonstrating Superman's lack of control. Superman is then taken into custody and will be tried for murder.

The back-up Supergirl story is "Superboy in Argo City" by Cary Bates and Jim Mooney. While retrieving a space jewel for his mother, Superboy is captured by a space-probe. He is taken back to Argo City which is currently floating in a red sun solar system. Superboy was hit in the head and has amnesia. He is taken in by Zor-El, though neither one knows that they are related. Superboy befriends Zor-El's young daughter Kara and gives her the space jewel that he intended to give to Martha Kent.

Zor-El eventually completes his project to build engines which can transport Argo City to another solar system. The city soon enters a new system inhabited by hostile alien life forms. The Kryptonians agree to leave the system, but the aliens demand that someone remain behind. Superboy volunteers.

The aliens then erase the memory of Superboy from the minds of the people in Argo City. Zor-El then pilots the city to a different solar system. Superboy regains his powers and is able to escape from the aliens, but he has no memory of his time in Argo City. Reprinted in Four Star Spectacular #3.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Seeing It In Black and White -- Part II

This is the second of the white on black drawings I did in my class this past week using a white charcoal pencil and a small bit of white Unison pastel on black Canson pastel paper. I don't draw or lay out these before I draw them, I just pick a spot on the paper and a spot on the figure and start laying out the highlighs. As such, I sometimes have proportion issues as I did here, getting some distortion in the face. Not my favorite piece, but I like the technique.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Seeing It In Black and White -- Part I

I did a few white on black drawings in my class this past week using a white charcoal pencil and a small bit of white Unison pastel on black Canson pastel paper. This one was the first one I did.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Metamorpho #16

Metamorpho #16 (On Sale: November 28, 1967) features a cover by Sal Trapani.

"Jezeba, Queen of Fury" is by Bob Haney and Sal Trapani. When Sapphire unexpectedly marries Wally Bannister, Metamorpho seeks a return to his old life as Rex Mason. He is approached by a mysterious figure known as Mr. Shadow and recruited to find the legendary land of Ma-Phoor. He embarks on the quest and soon finds the city south of Ethiopia.

Upon his arrival, Metamorpho soon realizes that Mr. Shadow is actually an agent of Ma-Phoor and has intentionally brought Metamorpho to the city. Metamorpho then meets Jezeba, the Queen of Ma-Phoor. She tells him about her history and of her former lover Algon, who is a doppelganger for Metamorpho.

Jezeba believes that Metamorpho is Algon and wishes to marry him. With Sapphire lost to him, Metamorpho agrees until he learns that Jezeba plans to invade the outside world. This story has been reprinted in Showcase Presents:Metamorpho Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Spineless Republican Throws In The Towel

So Trent Lott is taking his toys and going home too! Another spineless Republican who only wanted to be in office if he could bully the other party around and now that he can't the little shit quits like the spoiled child he is. Boo Hoo you fucking baby!

None of the these GOP assholes are real patriots, they only stay in power so long as they can abuse it and when they no longer can they CUT AND RUN!

COWARD!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And I Think to Myself: What a Wonderful World

Over on the Daily Kos, Bill in Portland Maine makes great fun of Washington Post columnist David Broder who spins that the problem with the country is that the parties are too ideologically set and that, to fix the country, the parties need to become even more alike in ideology.

Bill offers this list of things Democrats can do to become closer aligned to Republicans and hasten Border's wonderful world:
    • Discriminate against minorities a little more.

    • Be a little more skeptical about global warming, and give "global cooling" advocates a seat at the table.

    • Think a little less about the poor.

    • Slow down on trying to provide guaranteed health care for all Americans. The ones who don’t have insurance are probably fat, drunk, chain-smoking lazy asses, anyway.

    • Don’t be so quick to badmouth abstinence-only education, even though studies show it's not effective. We just need to give it more time. And money.

    • Practice putting profits above people---those who don’t earn much money have been blessed by God with conveniently-located Wal-Mart stores, so everybody wins!

    • Repeat after me: Every time the government takes away one of my civil liberties, I become a little safer.

    • Dial down your curiosity and start trusting your leaders to know what's best for you.

    • Be patient with Iraq. Give the surge more time. Six, nine, twelve months tops. And stop saying how bad the Iraq war is for the troops. They're doing what they were trained to do: be the de facto police force for a bickering, do-nothing sovereign government that's not our own.

    • Ladies: a little more time in the kitchen, if you please.

    • Complain a little louder about sexual immorality, but don't deny yourself the pleasure of the occasional steamy affair or public bathroom hookup.

    • At least admit that the planet might be six thousand years old, and that Adam might have ridden a triceratops to get his Pabst Blue Ribbon at the local 7-11.

    • Stop fretting about how Republicans gutted the government over the past seven years. Look forward, not backward. Remember the famous quote: "Those who forget the past are taking the perfect combination of fine pharmaceutical products."

    • Be a little more hateful of illegal immigrants, especially now that we've just discovered over the past year that they exist. Come help build the wall---you can even carve your initials in it!

    • Ask yourself: how come there's not a single liberal judge who knows how to properly interpret the United States Constitution?

    • Be more skeptical of candidates for government positions who have the necessary skills and background to do their jobs well. Nobody likes a showoff.

    • Buy more guns---nothing builds confidence like the feel of a Glock tucked in your shorts

    • Be a little more "me me me" and a little less "we we we"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another Friend-of-Bush Pays the Price!

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is unemployed, thanks mainly to his close ties with Loser-In-Chief George Bush. Slowly, in parts of the world, sanity returns.

SYDNEY, Australia - Conservative Prime Minister John Howard suffered a humiliating defeat Saturday at the hands of the left-leaning opposition, whose leader has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdraw Australia's combat troops from Iraq.

Labor Party head Kevin Rudd's pledges on global warming and Iraq move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Howard one of President Bush's staunchest allies.

Rudd has named global warming as his top priority, and his signing of the Kyoto Protocol will leave the U.S. as the only industrialized country not to have joined it.

Rudd said he would withdraw Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq, leaving twice that number in mostly security roles. Howard had said all the troops will stay as long as needed.
The people of Australia made short work of the Blunder From Down Under.

Friday, November 23, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Inferior Five #6

Inferior Five #6 (On Sale: November 23, 1967) features an odd Mike Sekowsky and Mile Esposito cover. Odd because how often do you see Superman and Superboy on the same cover?

"How to Make a Bomb""How to Make a Bomb"is by E. Nelson Bridwell, Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito. In the offices of National Periodicals, the big boss known as I.D. seeks out Jack Miller the editor of the Inferior Five. I.D. informs Miller that the latest issue of the Inferior Five is due, so Miller corners E. Nelson Bridwell to get him to write the script. Miller and Bridwell then walk through the National office meeting other staffers in an attempt to get them to finish the issue.

When they return to Miller's office, a bald villain attacks them. The villain is removed to be used in a better feature. Bridwell finishes his script, while Miller is dragged away to a padded cell. The Inferior Five then falls asleep in Miller's office having missed out on taking part in any sort of adventure.

Besides Jack Miller, Irwin Donnenfeld, and E. Nelson Bridwell, the story also features appearances by Barbara Friedlander, Robert Kanigher, Julius Schwartz, Mort Weisinger, George Kashdan, Murray Boltinoff, Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino, Mike Esposito, Jack Schiff, Jack Adler, Sol Harrison, Gil Kane, and Joe Letterese.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Spectre #2

Spectre #2 (On Sale: November 21, 1967) has somewhat effective cover by Neal Adams.

"Die, Spectre -- Again" is by Gardner Fox and new series artist Neal Adams. This is Neal's second super-hero series at DC and one that I thought he was ineffective with. The supernatural aspect of the Spectre just seemed in conflict with Neal's style. It's like with the Phantom Stranger; Neal did wonderful, evocative covers for the book, but in the one story he illustrated I think the art fell flat.

Jim Corrigan is puzzled by a series of impossible crimes. The Spectre realizes that the crimes are being committed by an ethereal being. When he confronts the spectral criminal, he finds that his powers are not enough to defeat his foe.

The Spectre links the thief to magician Dirk Rawley, but Corrigan saw Rawley at the same time the robbery occurred. The Spectre theorizes that if Corrigan can hit Rawley's physical self at the same moment as he hits the ethereal Rawley, then the villain will be defeated.

When Corrigan and the Spectre attempt to execute their plan, the physical Rawley avoids Corrigan's blow, which allows his ethereal self to imprison the Spectre inside a gem. The Spectre manages to escape, but Corrigan is suspended for the unprovoked attack on the magician. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #495.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

And These Crazy Fucks are Bush's Good Buddies!

The Saudi judiciary on Tuesday defended a court verdict that sentenced a 19-year-old victim of a gang rape to six months in jail and 200 lashes because she was with an unrelated male when they were attacked. These are the crazy fucks that Bush kisses on the lips and walks hand and hand with and you wonder why his middle east policies are all shit?

What Does He Eat? Anything He Wants To!

How cool is an eight-foot long sea scorpion? The Los Angeles Times reported this morning on a fossilized claw that British researchers say belonged to one.

"We knew the sea scorpions were among the largest creepy-crawlies ever, but we didn't realize just how big they could get," said paleontologist Simon J. Braddy of the University of Bristol, the primary author of the report in the journal Biology Letters. The fossil was found in a quarry near Prum, Germany.

Sea scorpions became extinct about 250 million years ago, but they were precursors of modern land-based scorpions. Smaller varieties are common in the fossil record, and evidence suggests that they ventured forth onto land for at least brief forays.

But "there is no way this thing could have crawled out onto land," Braddy said.

"This is simply too spindly. Its legs would break under its own weight."
Reminds me of the Dan Brown book Deception Point where he discusses how the tasty things from the sea that we like to eat so much (shrimp, lobster) are really just very large bugs, too large in fact to live out of the buoyancy of the sea water.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

McClellan says Cheney and Bush misled about Plame leak

Here is the juicy quote from McClellen:

In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

Monday, November 19, 2007

'Tis the Season(ing)

We salted our turkey this morning. It's a nice-sized 17.5 lb. bird. Now it has to sit breast-side up in an air-tight bag the refrigerator till Wednesday morning, when we turn it over for the day. Then Wednesday night we remove it from the bag and let it breathe. All the salt will be absorbed into the meat by then. Thursday morning it goes into the oven upside down for a half hour then gets turned over and bakes right-side-up for the next two hours or so.

This is how we did it last year as I mentioned here before and it was the best-tasting turkey we have ever made. Not too late to try this method yourself.

Friday, November 16, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Teen Titans #13

Teen Titans #13 (On Sale: November 16, 1967) features another wonderful Nick Cardy cover. This was the first issue of the Teen Titans that I bought.

"The TT's Swingin' Christmas Carol" is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy. The Teen Titans find themselves reliving the events of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol when Tiny Tom Ratchet involves them in the secret dealings of junkyard owner Ebenezer Scrounge and Mr. Big, a smuggler with a strange device that recycles junk into "new" goods. With the Titans playing the roles of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, Scrounge repents and helps them bring in Mr. Big and his gang. This story has been reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-34, Best of DC #22, Christmas with the Super-Heroes #1 and Showcase Presents:Teen Titans Vol. 1 TPB

Edited by George Kashdan.

Colorful Self

Given the previous item, this is the last self-portrait that you will see for a long while with a ponytail. This one was also done for the drawing class I am attending and was meant to be a study in color. I picked the three secondary colors as my pallet. This is done on green Canson paper using my Unison pastels.

I Made a Donation Yesterday...

...to Locks of Love. It was two and a half years of growth, somewhere north of 10 inches of hair. Knowing that my hair would be used to return a sense of normalcy to an ill child suffering from hair loss made it a little easier to part with the hair. Plus, I need a job and I need to look like I want one.

My head is ready, now I just need to find someone looking for a great programmer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Our Fighting Forces #111

Our Fighting Forces #111 (On Sale: November 14, 1967) features a cover by Irv Novick featuring Lt. Hunter's Hellcats.

We begin with Lt. Hunter's Hellcats in "Train of Terror" by Robert Kaniger and Jack Abel. This is followed by "No Movies in a Foxhole" drawn by Jack Sparling.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

How Slow Can You Go?

I recently ordred a couple of books from Amazon and since I just finished a novel last night I decided to check on the status of my order this morning. Here is what I found...

As you can see the package left Bell California on November 10th and is expected to arrive in La Verne California on November 16th.

Well, I know the US Postal Service is slow, but as you can see on the map above Bell is only about 34 miles from my home in La Verne. I guess my question is why does it take the Postal Service six days to move a small package 34 miles? How slow can you go?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hydrogen for the Masses?

Two months ago we learned that plain salt water could be coerced into flame and now Pennsylvania State University has come up with a way of creating cheap, abundant hydrogen from renewable sources. Lets get this shit done and kick Exxon and the curb already!

Another Gauntlet


A few weeks ago I was writing here about the gauntlet we had to run when trying to publish comics in the 1970s. I talked about censorship and hypocrisy and was in fact in a pretty emotional state at the time. I was supposed to have my first salon showing of my artwork this past weekend and the day I wrote about the gauntlet was the day I learned it was not going to happen.

The flier above was created for the event and when I saw the Narnia artwork I hoped there would not be any problems with religious conservatives attempting to impose their out-dated beliefs and their comical prissy fucking attitudes on my artwork. I had reason to worry.

Apparently my nudes were a problem for the Narnia artist, who demanded a new flier be created, one that did not include any nudes. She also put some pressure on the supposed art lover whose house was being used for the salon and suddenly she didn't want my nudes either.

I was never told not to attend, but it was made clear that I and my artwork were not wanted.

My son said I should do the show and only take nudes, shove it right in their face and laugh at their discomfort. I thought about doing that, though I never considered my nudes a political statement of any kind. Maybe I should. In the end my pancreatitis sapped all my strength and ate up all the time I should have been using to prepare for the show and maybe that is just as well.

Fuck, I'm still pissed.

Reasons to Strike

One of the main things the writers are striking for is a piece of the Internet revenue generated by the products they help create. Some have argued that there is no profit to be made from the Internet, well, that's the story when writers ask for a piece anyway. here is the other story, straight from the horses' asses mouths...

Harlan Ellison on the Writer's Strike

HARLAN ELLISON
- Sunday, November 11 2007 11:58:36

STRIKE OBSERVATION

I got out here in 1962, very soon after the WGA strike that damn near bludgeoned into poverty every screen/tv writer I knew ... including the magnificent, dear Robert Bloch, who loaned me $300 to find a place to live upon my arrival. Three hundred bucks Bob did not have, nor could he afford to loan out. It took me six years to pay him back.

I have been through every strike since that time, sat on prelim negotiating committees, sat on the WGAw Board of Directors for two tough terms, have worked on policing committees whose purpose was to keep the Alliance honest, and I have written "pr" voicing the writers' position for all manner of mediums...many many times.

And I must tell you, from a clear and high view of the past, THIS strike is singular. It is unlike any OTHER strike of the writers I have ever been witness to. In the following way:

The general public...all of YOU who come here...totally uninvolved and essentially unaffected people in Wisconsin and New Jersey and Montana and even Hawaii...you all GET IT!

Miraculously, unbelievably, no amount of AAMPT badmouth of writers in general ("MILLIONAIRES PICKET FOR MORE $$$") is making any inroads. Heaven only knows what it'll be like in a month or two, but RIGHT NOW this is perceived by the general public and (to my amazement) the internet as a gestalt, as a RIGHTEOUS WORK STOPPAGE!

As one who has unrelievedly been a growl and snap pit bull about the Internet, per se, I humbly and a bit embarrassedly thank you all for your yeoman support.

And you may post this everywhere, anywhere, it makes you feel good to have a committed viewpoint tug its forelock in public.

I ain't saying I have come to love trolls or scammers or YouTube jackasses...but gee whillickers, folks, I am impressed as hell by your sagacity and solidarity.

With considerable respect,

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Reason to Go To Denver

I remember not too long ago that many were boycotting the city of Denver. OK, maybe it was a while ago, but times have changed. If you were ever tempted to go to Denver (I used to live there, so I have been tempted in the past),, Denver recently added another arrow into its quiver of enticement: they legalized marijuana!

Ain't nothing like that Rock Mountain High!

RoboCop, Closer Than You Think!

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times ran a story on the new equipment the LAPD has started to use including the T3 personal vehicle pictured to my right.

Two cool things they have added to a new LAPD SmartCar are an automatic license plate recognition system that identifies stolen cars parked on either side of the street and in traffic ahead of the car, and a dart-gun system that when fired can attach a GPS tracker to a fleeing car.

Maybe RoboCop is the wrong image; maybe the Batmobile is closer to the truth!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Father

Right up until the time my mother had her stroke, our Mexican cruise was pretty much a wonderful vacation. Besides being with family, I had hoped to get some artwork done on the ship. Toward that end I brought most of my pastels and an easel. I did paintings of both my mother and my father, and as usual the one of my mother just did not turn out. I have never created a good likeness of her. However, the one of my father I think turned rather well, based on a photograph taken during our first night's dinner on the ship.

Odd Numbers

As previously mentioned, I had a CT scan on Tuesday, which revealed a few problems with my liver and pancreas, but that most of my digestive system was in pretty good shape. The CT scan was enhanced with a contrast agent, in my case I believe it was an iodine solution. As a diabetic on Metformin, the contrast solution causes problems, as the two mixed together can have an adverse effect on my kidneys. So I was told to stop taking the Metformin until told to begin using it again.

This leaves me in a bad place. Earlier in the year I was taking Metformin, Glyburide and Actos for my diabetes, but the Glyburide worked too well and sent my blood sugar dangerously low, putting me into hypoglycemia three or four times a week. I had to quit the Glyburide. Actos was found to increase the risk of heart attacks and I was taken off of it in July leaving me with only Metformin between me and high blood sugar and now I was being told to stop the Metformin.

An odd thing has happened though. My blood sugar numbers this morning, four days after last taking anything to regulate it, are better than they have been in months and as an unregulated fasting blood sugar, are better than they have been in years. In fact, the 112 reading I had this morning is not even considered diabetic.

Could all this be because I have been on a very low-fat diet for two weeks? Could it really be that changing my diet and, hey, maybe even exercising now and then, could really get me off of these pills, at least for a few years? I'm reminded of what Bill Maher said in one of his "New Rules" just two months ago...

In Hillary Clinton's health plan, the words "nutrition" and "exercise" appear once. The word "drugs" 14 times. Just as the pharmaceutical companies want it. You know, their ad weasels love to say, "When diet and exercise fail..." Well, diet and exercise don't fail. A fact brought home last week by a new Duke University study that showed exercise - yes, exercise - is just as effective a cure for depression as Paxil and Zoloft.

So ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you!
Son of a bitch!

Friday, November 09, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #80

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #80 (On Sale: November 9, 1967) features a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams. They made a pretty good team and I love the visual here of Lois ripping out the words "Girl Friend" from the logo.

"Get Out of My Life, Superman" is by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger. When Superman misses Lois Lane's birthday party, the girl reporter is humiliated. She leaves town and moves to Coral City, home to America's space program. Lois changes her last name to Lorne, takes a job as a nurse, and vows to forget about Superman. Her plan is made easier when she saves the life of astronaut Rand Kirby which begins a romance.

Superman misses Lois after she has left town. When he is assigned to cover a story in Coral City as Clark Kent, he finds Lois. She tells Clark that she doesn't want Superman to find her, but when danger presents itself, she suggests calling Superman for help. After the danger has been averted Lois pretends to be under the influence of truth serum and tells the Man of Steel that she doesn't want to see him anymore.

I believe this was one of three comics I bought the first time I bought comic books. The other two come out in a few days.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Health

I had my CT scan on Tuesday and a nurse from my doctor's office called yesterday to say that it showed sort of what they expected. I have a fatty liver (not sure what can be done about that except the obvious change of diet and more exercise), some inflammation of the pancreas indicating pancreatitis, two small polyps on my pancreas and no problems with my gall bladder or any thing else.

I am scheduled to see the doctor again next Monday; until then I am to keep eating a low-fat diet. Ha! Like I'm gonna chance feeling that pain again! I should know more after I talk to the doctor.

I am feeling a lot better today. I ate beef for the first time in almost two weeks last night to no ill effects and, except for feeling tired and rundown and a little sore in the digestive tract area, feel pretty good. I stopped the vicodin after a few days and just use Tylenol for pain.

I think I am mending.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Wonder Woman #174

Wonder Woman #174 (On Sale: November 7, 1967) features a cover with the unusual team of Carmine Infantino and Irv Novick.

"Steve Trevor – Alias the Patriot" is by Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. Angle Man discovers a way to remove Wonder Woman's super powers. He knows that she will continue to fight crime, so he provides Steve Trevor with pills which give him powers. He hopes that Wonder Woman will retire and marry Steve, then he will ensure that Steve runs out of pills and cannot renew his powers. However, Steve shares the pills with Wonder Woman and together they track down Angle Man. Wow, is this a really awful sounding story or what?

The back-up story, "Wonder Woman Vs the Air Devils" is also by Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. Capital City honors several super-heroes with statues placed around the city. Wonder Woman's statue is made of gold and is protected by Steve Trevor. The King of Crime plans to steal the gold statue by diverting Wonder Woman with attacks on the other statues. He succeeds in taking the statue and kidnapping Trevor. Wonder Woman is unable to pursue him to his island hideout because she fears for Steve's life.

Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island, where she meets with her mother. A passing meteor shower gives Wonder Woman an idea of how to rescue Steve. She hitches a ride on a meteor which strikes the King of Crime's island. Her surprise catches the crook off guard, allowing the Amazon Princess rescues Trevor.

And people wonder why the O'Neil/Sekowsky/Giordano Wonder Woman reboot was so desperately needed?

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Slowly Working It

When my doctor found out that the ER released me without determining what was wrong (basically they released me from the ER in the exact same state I entered the ER) and didn't even perform the CT scan he had requested of them, he was furious. I have been waiting since then for the hospital to call and schedule the CT scan; it only took them thee days. I now have a CT scan scheduled for Tuesday and maybe then they can start to figure out, besides the initial attack of Pancreatitis, what all is wrong with me.

I actually got to eat something I could chew today, some chicken and rice that my wife made. Along with some peas it constituted the first real meal I have eaten in eight days. I had a small portion and it seemed to give my stomach a slight problem, but now four hours later I feel fine. I've lost 13 pounds the hard way and would love to keep some of that off, but at some point I will regain an appetite. My digestive cavity is still tender and I have a hard time sleeping, but I am hopefully off the Vicodin and only on Prilosec and Tylenol.

I hope to be back to normal soon; of course, since my mother's stroke, back to normal will be anything but.

Friday, November 02, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Aquaman #37

Aquaman #37 (On Sale: November 2, 1967) features just a stunning Nick Cardy cover; it's beautifully designed and masterfully executed, full of raw emotion. How could anyone pass up this comic on the stands? To me this cover marks the beginning of Cardy's ascendancy as one of the greatest cover artists of all time.

"When the Sea Dies" is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy. A great cataclysm under the sea interrupts a fight between Aquaman and the Ocean Master. The sea itself begins to rot. Aquaman traces the source of the disturbance to a scorpion-shaped vessel piloted by the Scavenger. The villain is searching for a time decelerator hidden under the ocean. Aquaman's best efforts are unable to penetrate the Scavenger's ship, so he forms a temporary alliance with the Ocean Master.

Mera and Aquababy are then kidnapped. Aquaman is unable to free them, but when the Ocean Master locates the time decelerator, the Scavenger leaves his ship. Ocean Master tries to double-cross Aquaman, but he is stopped. The Scavenger uses the time decelerator in an attempt to become immortal.

This strip is sort of a turning point for Aquaman as it features the last appearances of Tusky the Walrus, and Storm and Sea Imp, Aquaman and Aqualad's giant sea horses. I know, I said this about the sea horses in Aquaman #35, but I was misinformed I guess.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Back Again

This is going to be short. I began having the same problems as before on Tuesday night, but wanted desperately to stay out of the hospital, so I took some of my wife's Vicodin and toughed it our through a pretty rough night. Since all they did in the hospital was manage my pain and not feed me I though I might be able to do the same at home, but I wanted to let my Dr. know what was going on. He wanted to see me within the hour and after looking over my file from the hospital stay told me to go back, that they would be waiting for my in the ER. So back to the hospital I went. Unlike the first time, my amylase count (a digestive enzyme that only goes high if you have Pancreatitis) was low, so after seven hours they cut me loose again, with my own prescription for Vicodin. Morphine it is not. I hurt like hell and almost constantly, but it seems to be getting weaker over time. I hope to beat this thing by just not eating.

So I'm back again, but for how long I have no idea.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Strange Adventures #207

Strange Adventures #207 (On Sale: October 31, 1967) features Neal Adams' first Deadman cover and his fifth cover of the month.

"What Makes a Corpse Cry?" is by Carmine Infantino (plot), Jack Miller (script) and Neal Adams (art). Deadman leaves the circus to search for his killer. He remembers an encounter at a night club prior to his death in which he was threatened by Rocky Manzel. Deadman returns to the club hoping to learn if Rocky was responsible for his murder. He takes over the body of Paul the bartender and discovers a counterfeiting operation under the club. Deadman's efforts get Rocky apprehended by the police and free Paul and his girlfriend Liz from Rocky's grip. Reprinted in World's Finest Comics #226 and Deadman #2.

The back-up story is "Man of a Thousand Shapes" by Joe Samachsom, Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs and is a reprint from Strange Adventures #66.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm Back

I know, you didn't even know I was gone, right? Yeah, that's the way things work these days, sometimes people disappear and you don't even notice they are gone till much later, sort of like that favorite comic strip that you used to read every day and then one day you notice that you haven't read it in weeks and only then do you realize that it has been ousted from the pages of your newspaper.

So, I'm back. I was only gone for a short time, but it feels like it was a lot more. It started Saturday evening with a pain on my right side, just under the diaphragm. It felt like a hunger pang, so I paid no attention to it and ate a little; but it didn't go away. It wasn't a bad pain, just a little irritating, so I ate some more (this gorging on food consisted of a Healthy Choice pizza [not recommended] and a Healthy Choice dinner [not too bad]) and it filled me up, but that little nagging pain remained. Much later on I had a few grapes as a snack and about fifteen minutes after that all hell broke loose inside my body.

That little pain mushroomed in size and became a consistent pressure, like really bad gas, that surged across my body along the course of my diaphragm. Burping brought no relief and the pressure kept mounting. I knocked back two Pepcid to no affect. And then I began to vomit, also to no affect; the pressure kept increasing and with it the pain. I went up stairs and told my wife something was wrong with me and then I went and vomited again. When I came out of the bathroom my wife was dressed and ready to take me to the hospital. It took another 45 minutes of pain and more vomiting for me to agree with her.

The waiting room was the worst part; I was pounding on my head and gnawing at my knuckles, anything to get my mind off the waves of pure agony that coursed through me. Eventually they admitted me to the ER and gave me a shot of something that did not work. Next they gave me a shot of that liquid bliss called morphine and within minutes my agony became a dull ache I could easily live with.

They said it was my gall bladder, then gallstones, then pancreatitis caused by gallstones, then pancreatitis caused by an unknown agent. The only way to deal with pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, is to give the pancreas nothing to do and the only way to do that is to not eat. I spent Sunday in the hospital eating the occasional ice chip and nothing more. Every three to four hours as the pain came back I was given another shot of morphine. By Monday morning I was going about nine hours between morphine injections and feeling not too bad.

I saw a doctor on Monday around noon who told me that I did not have gallstones, or pancreatitis, and in fact they did not know what was wrong with me, but that they were going to let me go home anyway. I was feeling good and had a last morphine injection at about 3:00PM on Monday and was released about 6:30. But they had given me somethings to eat, broth and jello and the like and there was some discomfort in my stomach. By the time I went to bed at around 9:30 I would have killed for a morphine shot.

The original pain was gone, but it felt, and still feels, like a baseball bat was taken to my abdomen, like every organ in my digestive system is black and blue. It was a hard night, made only slightly better by Tylenol.

So I'm back and feeling like crap and unable to move much and unable to sit much and unable to lay down much, which pretty much means I cannot in any way get comfortable. But I'm back.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Gauntlet

I was reminded today, and I'll tell you at a later time how that came about, of censorship and right-wing hypocrisy and how fragile is our freedom to express ourselves artistically in a country where religious nuts are allowed to run wild and impose their screwed up version of morality on the rest of us, and it got me thinking about another time, long ago, when I ran into almost the exact same scenario.

My comic book partner (hell, we went to high school together) Baron Mrkva and I were finishing up work on our first comic book, Mayhem #1 and were in search of a printer. We had little real knowledge of what we were attempting and almost zero contacts with anyone in the business, so we trusted in each other and few others, to maneuver our way through the gauntlet, where we started out as high school buddies who knew nothing about publishing comic books and where at the end we had a comic book published. It was a fairly daunting gauntlet, but one we were jazzed about traversing.

This was before the Internet or on-line forums; there was really no place to go for information except to those who had already made it through the gauntlet, and like I said, we did not know any of those people. As it came closer to the time of publication, I began scouring the indica of existing underground comic books for clues as to where they were printed and found information in one that pointed to a printed in Riverside California, not more than 20 miles from my home in San Bernardino. We called the printer up, told him what we were doing and asked if we could show them some of the artwork. We were concerned about the number of half-tones the book would require and that special care would be needed with the book in that some pages were pre-toned using zip-a-tone sheets and some were not, being done in wash and some had a little of both.

We made an appointment and trudged down to the printer with our originals where we discussed prices and volume and timing. All seemed to be going well till we began showing him the artwork. He had a problem with my artwork. "There are naked people in here."

"Yes, yes there are."

"Well we don't print pornography."

"Good for you, this is a comic book with a few naked people in it, not pornography."

"No, I won't print pornography. It's a sin."

"The last comic you printed was 'Tits and Clits #2'!"

"No, we never printed that book."

"It's where I got your name you asshole!"

The guy suggested I might want to change my artwork to conform to his idea of morality. Fat chance that was going to happen, then or now.

So, but for a tit-shot or two, one flopping soft penis and a not actually shown blow job, all far tamer than almost anything in Tits and Clits, we would have had a printer.

Sometimes The Truth Just Appears Like Magic

Friday, October 26, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Justice League of America #59

Justice League of America #59 (On Sale: October 26, 1967) sports a Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene JLA cover.

"The Justice Leaguers' Impossible Adventure" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene. Five Justice League members are teleported to the planet Marithania by its rulers, the Impossibles, to have their super-powers taken away on the grounds that, whereas their fellow members have earned theirs, these members came by their abilities by mere chance. (Superman, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter gained their powers by accident of birth, Flash received his super-speed through an accident, and Wonder Woman's abilities were a gift of the goddess Aphrodite).

When the Impossibles' enemies, the Contras, attack, the powerless heroes are forced into battle, and actually benefit from their loss, because their various weaknesses have also disappeared. Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 7 HC

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Brave and the Bold #75

Brave and the Bold #75 (On Sale: October 24, 1967) features the fourth Neal Adams cover of the month and Neal's first shot at doing Batman.

"The Grasp of Shahn-Zi" is by Bob Haney, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Historians note, this story takes place on Earth-1, but does not explain how and/or why the Spectre, who lives on Earth-2, is visiting. Later stories reveal that there is an Earth-1 Jim Corrigan, but only one Spectre. Therefore, this story is considered the first appearance of the Earth-1 Jim Corrigan. If you don't know what all this Earth-1 Earth-2 mumbo jumbo means, don't sweat it.

Batman is a guest at a Chinese New Year party in Chinatown. The mayor of Chinatown, Bill Loo, admits that the old ways of his people are slowly changing as the new generations, like his son Danny, embrace modern culture. Shahn-Zi, a near-immortal river lord, is angered by this cultural transition. He seals off Chinatown from the rest of the city with a mystical barrier. He then tries to force Danny Loo to become his successor.

The Spectre is the only being capable of penetrating the mystical barrier. He enters Chinatown and joins with Batman to stop Shahn-Zi. While the Spectre battles the river lord directly, Batman acts to break the spell under which he has been put. Reprinted in Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

I owned this book for a while before I actually read it. As a kid this Adams' cover just scared the shit out of me.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Update on My Mother

We have spent the past five days at the hospital with my mother. Since we checked my mother into the hospital her heart has been constantly monitored, she has had three CAT scans, one EEG, daily speech and physical therapy and been put on and off a number of new drugs. Also, the manufacturer of her three-month-old pacemaker have been in doing something or other (apparently they have a number of units that are failing and killing patients). It has been very difficult for us to get any word from the doctors, until last night when we talked to all three of them (she has one for her heart, one for her brain and one for the rest of her).

A few days ago they had her on cumadin to thin her blood. She got a phone call and lightly hit herself in the cheek when answering the phone. Within a few minutes the whole area under her eye was black and bloated with blood. They took her off the cumadin as she is blind in one eye and very disoriented as a whole right now.

Yesterday they put her back on the cumadin as her heartbeat is extremely erratic. The doctors now believe that the erratic heartbeat triggered the stroke and could trigger another one if they don't get it under control. Her heart doctor said that Mom will not be going home until it is under control, which means she will spend at least two more days in the hospital. The neurologist could not find the results of one of the CAT scans, but is sure they will turn up soon. She also said that the EEG showed a lessening of brain activity on the left side, which is exactly what they expected.

The night nurse told us tonight that so far the cumadin has not corrected Mom's erratic heartbeat. The pacemaker is pacing her a lot of the time and then it goes up quite a bit as well.

My sister and her fiance are still here, but he will be going back to Oregon on Sunday, the same day my brother from Washington flies down. I have a brother in Nevada that is planning on coming next weekend and a brother in Texas who is still deciding when will be the best time to come.

The hospital is draining the life out of all of us as we spend 8-12 hours a day there. My sister and I were there yesterday evening and the TV was on in Mom's room and Gladiator was on. My Mom kept looking at the screen and finally said, "This looks interesting, too bad we can't hear what is being said." I went over and turned up the sound. We then showed her for the umpteenth time how to adjust the volume and she shook her head as if to say, "That is too complicated for me to learn." Some things have changed, but she was very much like her old self last night, which right now is the best we can hope for I guess.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Star Spangled War Stories #136

Star Spangled War Stories #136 (On Sale: October 17, 1967) features another Joe Kubert War That Time Forgot cover.

Inside "The Hot Rod of Death" is by Robert Kanigher and Jack Abel and features the War That Time Forgot.

The back-up feature is "The G.I. Who Cried Tank" featuring Sgt. Mule (I've never heard of this one) and is drawn by Jack Abel

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Less Than Royal Treatment

We got back from our Mexican cruise on the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas, in honor of my parent's 65th wedding anniversary on Sunday. Except for dropping $200 at the Texas Hold-Em table everything was going fine until our last night on the ship. We had a cocktail party in my uncle's cabin before dinner, my Uncle Gordon, my parents, my sister Barbara and her fiance Mick and Dayle, Brian and me. We left to get ready for dinner and a few minutes later Barbara, Mick and the three of us we seated at our table in the dining room, having just ordered our drinks when Uncle Gordon came in and said, "We think Rosalie (my mother) just had a stroke!"

We spent the next three hours in the ship's medical facility. My mother's blood pressure was 198/97 and she was incoherent. The doctor (at least we think he was a doctor), a big Russian man who spoke in broken English and possessed a loud barking voice, ordered the nurses about as they began dripping something into my mother, which slowly began to lower her blood pressure . When it got to 145/90 he said she was "out of trouble," that for her that would be "normal" and that she could not survive on a normal blood pressure of "120 or so." He and the nurses then left the room and I sat there watching her blood pressure slowly go down to the "normal 120 or so" and then still lower. When it got to 103 I found the doctor and asked about it. He then took her off the drip and her blood pressure went back to the 140 area.

They released her (against our wishes) and we kept asking the doctor about a stroke. "She no have stroke. Stop saying that word. No stroke here. High blood pressure only problem. No stroke." We watched her through the night and when we got off the ship in the morning I drove her to her hospital and we spent the day getting her checked in. They looked at her in the ER, did a CAT scan and said she had had a stroke. Duh! She had trouble forming words, didn't remember anything about Saturday, was docile and quiet. When we checked her in she had to sign an admittance form. She signed "Rosalie" and then stopped and stared at the paper. I said, "Keller" and she slowly signed her last name. She got into a room around 9:00 PM, ten hours after we arrived at the hospital.

She was better yesterday, remembering the cocktail party and the doctor (she thought he was handsome), but not much else. She was speaking better, being able to form more words. They will be looking for heart damage today and to see how her new pacemaker is working.

We did this trip this year because we were not sure both my parents would be around for a 70th anniversary; I hope we were wrong.

I did some checking this morning and it appears that Holland America is rated as having the best medical facilities and we may take that into consideration next time we cruise. When we took Holland America to Hawaii in 2003 we awoke the first morning to a Coast Guard helicopter hovering outside our balcony. A passenger had had a heart attack and they called for an air-lift. They also TURNED THE SHIP AROUND to meet the helicopter and put us 8 hours behind schedule when we hit Hawaii five days later. On Royal Caribbean the doctor would have most likely argued with the passenger over the chances that a heart attack had occurred.

Friday, October 12, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Blackhawk #238

Blackhawk #238 (On Sale: October 12, 1967) sports an unusual cover by the usual team of Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera.

Inside we have "The Walking Booby-Traps" by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera, a continuation of last issue's story. The Blackhawks are captured by the international criminal Barbarossa and the traitorous android G.E.O.R.G.E. agent, Johnny Vak. The team is knocked unconscious, then mysteriously released. When they return to G.E.O.R.G.E. headquarters they each discover powerful explosive implanted into the skulls. Though Mr. Delta places them under arrest for going off on their own while suspended, the team escapes in order to prevent the explosives from hurting others.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Tales of the Unexpected #104

Tales of the Unexpected #104 (On Sale: October 10, 1967) has a very dramatic cover by Neal Adams. When the mystery/horror craze hits in full stride over the next few years, Adams will be the guy who does the majority of the covers. Here is his first "mystery" cover for DC.

Inside we have "Master of the Voo-Doo Machine" by Carl Wessler and Bernard Baily which would later be reprinted in Unexpected #162, "I Was King of Dagger Island" drawn by the amazing Leonard Starr (known mainly for his 22-year run on the syndicated "On Stage")and reprinted from My Greatest Adventure #1 and finally "The 24-Hour Nightmare" drawn by Jack Abel.

Edited by Murry Boltinoff

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Off to Mexico

I leave this morning for a week-long cruise to Mexico in celebration of my parent's 65th wedding anniversary. Our group will consist of my wife Dayle and me, our son Brian, my parents (duh!), my sister Barbara, her fiance Mick and my Uncle Gordon. First time cruising for Barbara and Mick, but the rest of us are old-timers at sea. We will be hitting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The brochures say there is wi-fi in all the cabins and most of the common areas, but we shall see if this is so and how much will it set me back. I may post from the ship or I might just say, "Fuck it; I'm on vacation."

When I get back I have to get serious about finding work as it will be closing in on three months of unemployment by then, but I also have a salon showing of my artwork in early November and I need to get a few more pieces done. I shall be busy when I return, but hope to not think of much of this while at sea, though I am taking most of my pastel supplies, so if the mood strikes I can get a few pieces done on ship.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Something Republicans Could Learn From

Did anyone else catch the amazing video of Marion Jones on Countdown Friday night?



You can tell she isn't a Republican. Honesty, contrition, guilt and shame, things Republicans know nothing about.