Saturday, January 20, 2018
Well now that we have a reputable medical exam which has announced our current "so-called" President to be in "excellent" health both physically and mentally, we can discard all those rampant theories of diminished capacity which many critics have latched onto to explain away the madness which has percolated daily from the bowels of the White House. It always seemed to me a bit far-fetched that this madness was the product of an addled mind, but given the raucous daily nature of the proceedings, not out of the question. Well now we have medical proof he's at least technically fit. (That's science in action by the way, so climate-change advocates need to make note that the results of the academy do have some salience in this administration when it suits their interests.)
So now the question of capacity is answered. Our "so-called" President is "fit" for office. We can only interpret his daily depredations on our daily discourse as the product of a legally sound but a morally grotesque and evil man. His vile pronouncements are not the product of a broken mind, but of a broken spirit which does not see all Americans as equal. He's doing all of this on purpose folks, God help his soul and God help us all.
Take note that this assessment comes exactly one year since the "Dotard-In-Chief" took office and as I type this the United States government has shut down. Art of the deal indeed!
Here's what's on my wall this year. On a whim I actually spent dough on a calendar this year, and I picked this one featuring the exquisite artwork of pulp master Virgil Finlay. Here the images which will share my year with me.
|Ship of Ishtar|
|Earth's Last Citadel|
|Space Travel Helmet|
|Spiral of Ages|
Friday, January 19, 2018
Gumby has been a welcome nightly visitor in my home over the last several weeks. I've collected up the dvd collections of The Gumby Show which have hit the shelves in recent years and I've dabbled in them, especially the early 50's material. Now I've just completed a thorough run-through of the series, but in a quite different way than I'd normally consume cartoons. Every evening when I retire, I cue up a few episodes of the classic clay animated series and enjoy them.
They have proven to be delightful devices to get my mind off the troubles of the day and to let me slip off to sleep with ease. Gumby and Pokey, and later Prickle and Goo are sometimes too sweet, but generally are just what the doctored ordered. The early stuff is so inventive and bizarre, it's as much about the sheer joy of making them as much as anything.
Later in the 60's the misadventures become more humdrum as plot overcomes the wild creativity of the early exploratory shows and we get a Gumby who has to share the stage with more and more characters. The inclusion of more human-looking characters seemed to undermine the weirdness of Gumby's universe at times, but made a bit of sense given the historical nature of many of the stories.
I especially enjoyed the mute Blockheads this time, as their menace was always present but their inept attacks were also always fun to watch.
There is a general Gumby revival these days, with the little clay boy and his amigos getting another comic book, thanks to the folks at Papercutz. I'm pretty tempted by this one, which is pretty bright and takes full advantage of the large cast of Gumbyworld.
There is also a new book titled Gumby Imagined out that I'm pretty eager to read about the early days of Gumby and the work of his creator Art Clokey on that and other projects such as Davey and Goliath.
The Gumby Movie has also been released. I'm sure I'll get hold of it eventually. I'm not student of the later Gumby material at all, but I'm curious about it for sure. These creations by Art Clokey have proven to have a durable life, longer than many others from the era. There is an adult sensibility about the shows which entertains children while not generally talking down to others. The 60's cartoons have bumpy moments for certain, but overall are still part of a great green saga which weirdly is greater than the sum of its parts.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
The first three-issue story arc in the Future Quest Presents series is a nifty three-part tale starring Space Ghost, Jan and Jace and of course Blip. Along for the ride this time are the Herculoids, though only Igoo the Rock Ape gets a major role. The writer Rich Parker continues to develop the Hanna-Barbera continuity begun in the pages of the maxi-series Future Quest in which we have a universe of heroes who are forced to confront a genocidal menace called Omnikron. The "Ghost Planet" we learn is the remnants of a world Omnikron has descended upon and the Space Force of which Space Ghost was once a part was destroyed attempting to stop Omnikron's advance.
Now Space Ghost is working alone to police the spaceways and at the same time trying to rebuild that force by getting more ore from the neighboring planet Amzot (home of the Herculoids) which can be used to create more power bands. He hopes that Jan and Jace, two orphans he rescued from a black hole event will mature to become the nucleus for a new Space Force. To that end they go to Amzot and employ Igoo who is made of the ore they need and they enter a mine closed for many years since the arrival of Omnikron.
Inside they find a deadly menace and we learn the secret origin of longtime Space Ghost foe Metallus. I won't spoil it anymore, but this is a humdinger of an adventure by Parker and Ariel Olivetti, the artist who drew Space Ghost's origin many years ago for DC Comics. The comic looks outstanding and reads with the deftness of understanding that Parker brings without fail to his projects. Get this series.
Here are the alternate covers. The Steve Rude one is stellar! No artist gets Space Ghost better than Rude.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Frankly I'm dismayed at all the positive chatter about Oprah Winfrey running for president. To my mind it would be an absolute disaster for the country and for the Democratic Party. A high-profile candidate like Oprah slips by much of the party machinery just like a certain "so-called" President we already have in place. And despite the fact that I probably agree with Oprah's positions more than I do those of the "The Donald" it still speaks to a broken system and spells perhaps the beginning of the end of orderly politics in the United States. Celebrity presidents are fine for fiction, but in reality they are the absolute sacrifice of style over substance.
Good government is damn difficult to do, as can be seen by the rampaging examples of lousy governance we suffer under on both the local, state, and national level these days. Politicians must transform into public servants when they are elected and stop being candidates, but in the perpetual food processor which passes for the politics these days, the campaigns never end. The much maligned media are much to blame as the horse race nature of politics offers immediate drama and the much beloved "narrative" which many journalist crave. Pitting the mighty Oprah against the forces of darkness headed by the dangerous Trump is likely irresistible for news outlets. But what's good for the news business and ad rates ain't necessarily good for the average citizen.
I hope this Oprah nonsense never gets off the ground. Trump was sufficient evidence that being President ain't a part time gig which some dopey celebrity can dabble in. It's a job of work which requires commitment and focus and energy. Does Oprah have drive and energy? Sure! But does she have the experience to go with the seeming business acumen she is credited with? No one knows, but before she lands in the Oval Office, why not take a stab at mayor Chicago and prove that the rough and tumble of governing is for real. The Democrats need to rebuild from the ground up and focus on the next generation of candidates and look to a future will be with for quite some time to come. The country needs to re-examine its political structure, especially campaign financing and gerrymandering. They need not get distracted by the sugar high of yet one more celeb who wants to audition for national politics.
I well remember as a lad gazing into the Sears catalog with wide eyes at the incredible toys contained on its pages. Most all of them were well beyond my reach as I had no money of my own and no really practical way to order anything I might want anyway.
The pages were filled with toy soldiers, spacemen and such, and the myriad gear and whatnots that were needed to make them better still.
On some pagers were robots and on some pages were astronauts and on some pages were cowboys, but all the pages held dreams. There were dreams of toys that I'd never have and dreams of what those toys represented.
Blast Off! is a tome which was released by Dark Horse over fifteen years ago, and I don't really know when I snagged a copy, but it was one of those books that was just too pretty to let lay.
Likely I got it for a discount and that made it even more charming to my wandering eye. The book is filled like the Sears catalog of my boyhood with toys I'll never have. These are toys from earlier decades -- the 30's through the 50's,-- but they are decades as far from me as those toys in the Sears catalog so long ago.
They are part of dream tapestry of vibrant images of a fun and adventure without the costs which adulthood responsibilities bring to bear.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
I want this. In the Jack Kirby canon the Sky Masters of the Space Force have in many ways been the most elusive of his projects. The series has had a few collections over the decades, but I've managed to miss them all and only have a few installments which ran in Comics Revue. Now at last we have what appears to be a quality reprint of the Sunday color pages.
The dailies for this comic strip project were reprinted recently by Hermes Press. I didn't pop the cork on that for the simple reason it didn't contain the color sections and Hermes dailies can be a little suspect (too few per page for my tastes). But I'll likely add this to my list since I want to read the Sky Master of the Space Force saga in its brief entirety.
Monday, January 15, 2018
I honestly don't know why I've waited so long to sample Afterlife with Archie. Francesco Francavilla has been a favorite artist since I first stumbled across The Black Coat several years ago. His Black Beetle is pure pulp creamy goodness. His art has texture and atmosphere unlike most of the new breed of artists who seem overcome by the computer toys they play with. But I knew I wanted to read this the second I saw it, but I just never popped for it. Maybe it was the reluctance to drop a dime on yet another new comic when I was trying to swear them off. I really don't know, since by and large I rather enjoy askew visions of the Riverdale gang.
The saga began, according to writer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa when he glommed the variant cover above for Life with Archie. the moody image of Archie Andrews being confronted by his friends converted to zombies is a hoot. And despite the scion of Riverdale's comment to the contrary, Auirre-Sacasa soon imagined that such a thing could be. It begins with Hot Dog who is killed in a tragic accident and Jughead's appeal to Sabrina to help him. But what she does literally seems to raise hell and before you know it, all of Riverdale is awash in the undead. How the minions of the town deal with this apocalyptic moment is the story and it's told with more than a touch of actual human drama. The longtime feuds and alliances are in evidence, but they given a new more sober cast. Bit players come into focus as the story shifts its focus from issue to issue.
The debut storyline, comprised of five issues is contained in the trade I read along with a nifty cover gallery and some other bits of artwork which show Francavilla's process. The story has since been extended beyond this first installment and in a few months the second trade with hit the stands. I now know I'll be there to snatch one up, because I want to know what happens next. Archie fans come in all sizes ana ages and these pliable characters have been turned into a worthy cast for a story like this. What we already know about them allows for some clever twists and turns and what we learn reveals aspects of the characters which have been there all along perhaps. It's pretty dandy storytelling, both in terms of the written word and especially graphically. Here are some more covers by Francavilla for the series.
This one is most highly recommended, but I'd guess folks already know that. There are more stories in this alternate-universe, one starring Sabrina and another focused on Jughead as a werewolf. I don't anticipate getting those as the main allure for me was Francavilla's artowkr, but I've learned never to say never. For me it turns out, that despite all attempts there is no escape from Riverdale.