Friday, March 31, 2006

Last of the hiatus

No, that's not the title of an obscure Classics Illustrated comic that is in the shortbox, it means that this is another empty post, a hollow gesture that somehow maintains a veneer of continuity to these proceedings without requiring very much participation from the rhetor. I am still in transition, this time with moving residences rather than vacationing, but all will be back to normal next week.

In the meantime, here's a preview of the next selection:

What are they calling these long, drawn-out stories today - decompressed? Well, I looked at the opening of this comic as I was scanning the cover, and I have to tell you, thirty years ago they (in this case, Denny O'Neil and Howard Chaykin) were still writing stories in that ultracompressed, almost golden-age style: there is more plot and exposition in the first six panels of this piece than in some full stories I have read. And I love it.

See you next week.

Friday, March 24, 2006

No post today

This is the view outside my current window:

so I imagine that you can guess a few reasons for that.

I did make a quick search for a Hawaiian super-hero, but all I really found was a guy's RPG character, illustrated by his wife. Anybody know of any others?


Friday, March 17, 2006

Crisis on Infinite Blogs

Or, this one, anyway. Although the skies are not turning red, ripples from Earth-Prime are having their effect on this blogoverse. To wit, or three wit even, I just finished posting the last grades for the quarter about two hours ago, I leave in sixteen hours for a vacation in the tropical sun, and I am literally in the middle of moving from a great apartment into a great townhouse. So, no scans, no review, no article today; instead, here's a bit of a linkblog, with entries mined from my bookmarks.

Scipio, of The Absorbascon, is a good friend to this site, and many of you are already familiar with his blog and the Big Monkey Comics website. I wonder, though, whether everyone knows about Big Monkey Radio. Scipio hosts this station on Live365 radio, playing all sorts of serious music and novetly songs, all of which have something to do with DC superheroes. It has a great playlist that's not all Danny Elfman and Puffy Ami Yumi, either; The Ballad of Barry Allen (by a relative of Carmine Infantino) is one great overlooked song by any standards, and even Dolly Parton had a Superman-themed song. I often use it to rock out and keep my energy up while I am working, and you should see my S.O. do her best Eurotrash-clubber impersonation when the technopop Batman is Bruce Wayne comes on. ) I listen a lot (I'm listening now) and you should, too.

Here is an odd but intriguing article on some anti-Superman (and anti-Jerry Siegel) propaganda from the Nazis. It includes a link to a story, printed in Look in February 1940 (before the U.S. was in the war), in which Supoerman captures Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

Becuse anyone who cares about comics -- or even free speech in general -- should know about and support this organization, here is the home of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They do good work, and I don't hear about them as often as I think I ought to.

Here is a hilarious and near-perfect essay that examines the Batman mythos through the lens of literary historiography.

And let's finish with a blatant plug for a comic shop that I have been going to since 1981 - Seattle's Zanadu Comics.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Note: this post may contain incidental images of the human female breast. This blog is not responsible for possible side-effects. Don't let this happen to you!

This week's selection is One Fisted Tales #2, published by Slave Labor Graphics in September 1990, during the heyday of black-and-white erotic (and/or pornographic, but let's not parse the terminology too much) comics in the late eighties and early nineties. (See cover image below.)The foremost source for these was Eros Comics, the adult line that apparently kept Fantagraphics in the black through some lean years, but a lot of publishers made forays. This particular issue remains in the Shortbox for a few reasons:

1. It is One-fisted number Two, and I just like that juxtaposition.

2. It contains Nipples of Satan (where the "warning panel" above originated). This story, written by Dolf Brickyard (?) and illustrated by Theo Watson and Buddy Holocaust (??), tells the sad tale of Jason Wilbur, who after accidentally seeing "bare bosoms" on network TV, becomes depraved, commits atrocities, is caught by a "multi-national peace-keeping force," cannot be redeemed, and is hung. A cautionary tale indeed, and apparently the rationale behind recent FCC decisions regarding television broadcasting.

3. This comic really remains in the shortbox primarily for the story Lo, if the Earth should Move!, Sidney Mellon's foray into "mature graphic themes." I don't know if this was actually "created, plotted, and written by" Gerard Jones himself, but the Mellon Marvel-zombie fanboy persona is captured perfectly - as is the complete inexperience in sexual matters that such types are marked by. The story, er, saga, was pencilled by Norman Felchle and inked by Mike Christian. We open on our frustrated hero, Simon:

After this self-aggrandizing pathos, Simon/Sidney wanders around mooning over his unrequited love, Corey Grey, who is having her own problems on a date:

In no time, Simon transforms into the hero Thunderskull and rescues Corey from a fate worse than death:

After dispatching the evil Biff, Thunderskull and Corey consider hooking up, but Corey would have to get a transfusion of some of T-skull's magic power for it to work, and the big boy is hesitant: "Too long have I known the agony of power! And no power is worth such agony!" (Now that is pure, distilled Stan Lee.) But Corey flashes her not-inconsiderable breasts ("Lo! I have bairn my breasts for thee, o man!") and the two fly up to make geek love in the skies over the city, culminating in what must be the funniest money shot ever:

Big happy ending, as the magical fallout from their simultaneous orgasm spreads peace and love over the land (no, really - even Biff says he has "learned to respect all women now.. respect them even as I would respect a human!") and the lovers fly off together.

Jones gets major props for tapping into that vein of naivete / wish-fulfillment / immaturity / intelligence that runs through the comics nerd archetype, with just the right balance of ridicule and warmth, and for doing so in such a funny way.

(The rest of this comic has some other junk in it that really isn't worth noting, as it isn't very funny, or particularly sexy, or even interesting. So I won't.)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Late and short

A few years ago, the Seattle Public Library started a deal called something like What If Everybody in Seattle Read... [fill-in-the-blank]. The idea was to generate a community literary experience by having lots of people read and discuss one author's work (or works) at the same time - sort of a great metropolitan book group. Well, the idea caught on, and although they have shortened the name to Seattle Reads, they do it every year. And this year, the book they are reading is a graphic novel: Marjan Satrapi's Persepolis.

I have the pleasure of participating in one the events associated with Seattle Reads this year, and that has added to the academic busy-ness that has kept LSB from being as chock-full of nostalgic goodness as I had hoped it to be. I want to share with passersby some info regarding this project.

This is the info page for Persepolis from the publisher, Random House.

This is the SPL page for the Seattle Reads project.

This is the SPL page for this year's activities.

This is the detailed schedule of events. (Unfortunately, Satrapi is had to delay her visit from March, when most events are occurring, until May.) maybe you can figure out which one is me.

If you are in the area, I hope you get a chance to participate in this. I think it's evidence of how cool Seattle is that it can consider and approve a graphic novel as its library's book-of-the-year. I also think it is one more step in the mainstreaming of comics / comix / graphic novels / sequential art. (Man, we need to agree on a name for this stuff.)

Anyway, just so this space doesn't get too high-falutin', here's the cover of the next comic book:

This is the issue that has the Sidney Mellon-scripted Thunderskull "erotica." But more of that anon!