Sunday, January 31, 2010
Drink Hole Dialogues: Effects of the Recession 4
Superman continues to lack foresight while Batman and Iron Man set bad examples:
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Saturday Morning Stretch - "SHAZAM"!
Yesterday had a cameo by Captain Marvel and I realized I have been remiss here in not having featured him as yet. One of my all time favorite comic book heroes and I had left him by the wayside.
I'll do a proper spotlight on the character, created in 1939 by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker later, and on the law suit between DC Comics and Fawcett Comics that buried the character for over 20 years, but for now, here's "The World's Mightiest Mortal"'s first ever appearance.
The character was originally called Captain Thunder and was slated to appear in Flash Comics issue 1. An "ash-can" proof was printed and the powers that be realized that they couldn't copyright "Captain Thunder" OR "Flash Comics" because they were both already in use by competitors, so come time to publish to the marketplace, Captain Marvel (shortened from the suggested Captain Marvelous) debuted in the renamed Whiz Comics #2.
Here you go. Enjoy!
Tomorrow: Back to the Drink Hole!
Friday, January 29, 2010
Drink Hole Dialogues: Effects of the Recession 3
See ya tomorrow!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Drink Hole Dialogues: Effects of the Recession 2
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Drink Hole Dialogues: Effects of the Recession 1
"The Drink Hole", as you may have guessed, is actually an amalgam of various comfortable places I like to hang out in in real life. My fictional Drink Hole is better though. The beer is cheaper, the girls who work there (Jeffy's Angels) actually know me by name rather than by how many $1 bills are in front of me and probably most importantly, instead of conversing with the mooks at the real bars, the clientele in my blogs' Drink Hole are much more interesting.
Case in point: Superman and I discuss the effects of the recession. Even the "Man of Steel" is not invulnerable to our economic crisis:
Oh yeah...click images to embiggen to readable size.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Jules Feiffer and his "People"
Jules Feiffer is an accomplished cartoonist, author, playwright and screenwriter who has been, not only active, but also vibrant, vital and relevant since he began working for the Eisner-Iger studio in 1945 when he was just 16 years old.
His work as a writer covers everything from the plays "Knock Knock" and "Little Murders" to the screenplay for the Robert Altman film "Popeye" to "The Great Comic Book Heroes" one of the first ever (and one of the best) essays on Comic Book Fandom in America. He's written adult books for children and childish books for adults.
His cartooning work is some of my favorite.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Harold Gray and Little Orphan Annie
I saw it come and go, but with hurricane force winds, biblical rainfall and what-not of last week I failed to comment on it. Shame on me!
Little Orphan Annie was one of those epic comic strips that could only belong to years past of room for it's creator to move and unfold. It was also such and extension of it's creator and his own philosophies and outlook on life and the world around him, that it was a true work of art!
Who's that little chatter box?
The one with pretty auburn locks?
Whom do you see?
It's Little Orphan Annie.
She and Sandy make a pair,
They never seem to have a care!
Cute little she,
It's Little Orphan Annie.
Bright eyes, cheeks a rosy glow,
There's a store of healthiness handy.
Mite-size, always on the go,
If you want to know - "Arf", says Sandy.
Always wears a sunny smile,
Now, wouldn't it be worth a while,
If you could be,
Like Little Orphan Annie?
That's the theme song to the radio adventure serial based on our heroine...and that's me dressed like her with Sandy. My apologies to her and to Harold, this is what happens when your at the drawing board too late at night.
The stories that were told in the LOA strip were dense and layered...and really took their time getting you in the right state of mind. Annie began as a humor strip in 1924 about a little girl in an orphanage that quickly evolved into a continuity as she was adopted by the Warbucks' in 1925.
As the strip and years crashed on, so did the stock market and America's economy. Gray's own views about honesty, hard-work, self-reliance and so on, began to be reflected more and more through his characters and morals to his stories.
Like I said, stories so dense and layered that it took a year or more to tell each adventure.
Can you imagine anyone doing that in a newspaper strip today? Or any medium?
And he did it really well.
Gray's more conservative views became more and more black and white as he grew older and by the 1960's. as America was beginning to see ironically in more shades of grey, and his strip fell under heavy criticism. By his death in 1968 he and his strip were looked on as an old dinosaur of the past.
So it goes and always for a reason.
But the strip that Gray worked on and his skill as a storyteller can't be denied and should always be remember and read. I've refrained from posting any samples of the strip this time around, because single strips can't do it justice. Those year long stories have to be read and digested in full.
I'm happy to see that there are some reprints being done of the strip, ambitiously titled "The Complete Little Orphan Annie" and you can find them here. If you're at all interested in reading a true American classic and a real work of art you should check it out.Thanks Harold! You really told some great stories and told them well!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
These Kids Today...Ahhhh, Maybe The Kids ARE Alright
Do you ever hear yourself sounding like that? You don't really have to be old chronologically to sound like a crotchety old man (though I can see "Old" pretty clearly on the horizon) sometimes it's other factors that bring it out.
I find myself talking about "These kids today" and "Things used to be different" whenever I get frustrated with whatever is forced down my throat by whatever the "Top 40" or "Mainstream Media" has to offer.
I sounded like this when I was a teenager in the late 1970's and the music industry was convincing America that Disco and Corporate Country were the best music could be.
The truth is, the mainstream ladles up whatever appeals to the lowest common denominator because that's what will sell the most. Offend the sensibilities of or challenge the artistic sensibilities of the least number of people and you got yourself a hit.
Ask yourself this the next time someone says about the music of Brittany Spears, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny G, Michael Bolton...or whatever middle-of-the-road, namby-pamby, white-bread, bullshit pop star of the day or your generation, that they are the BEST EVER! I know because they sell the most records!!!! Is McDonalds the BEST EVER hamburger made by ANYONE? They MUST be...they sell more.
No. McDonalds sells more burgers because they're non-offensive, packed with sugar, kids want them because they're the same everywhere.
Just like the music of (fill in the blank), the movies of (fill in the blank) and books of (fill in the blank).
And the reason I get the "Angry Old Man" syndrome is because the performer/artist that takes the easy way out and does things with the minimum amount of creativity or work, reaps the reward. The next generation learns from this and they work even less to contribute something good.
Settle down all you "Angry Old Men". There's still some people out there willing to put in the effort.
Let your hearts rejoice and have some encouragement for the human race.
I don't know the full story behind these videos, but they are two wonderful examples of a younger generation that understands that it's worth being creative and putting in the extra effort.
Keep it up kids! You can play in my yard ANYTIME!
Do something really well. That's what's WORTH DOING!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Sunset Beach return and the coming of Dick Deluxe!
Without getting too off the track, I'll lay it out for you. Sunset Beach is a little community along a mile long stretch of beach just a mile from my house. It's an unincorporated community here in Orange County that is staving off being annexed by Huntington Beach where I live.
Home to such wonderful places as "The Harbor House Cafe", "Mother's Beer and Wine", "Harpoon Harry's", "The Irish Mist" and others, I used to haunt all these places each and every week. Then...I dunno...I got distracted and didn't for a while. I'll backtrack at a later date and fill you in on the charms of each of these "homes-away-from-home". I'm happy to report they all made it through last weeks tornado unscathed...it would have broken my heart otherwise.
Now here's the real point of this post.
This last week we wandered away from "The Mist" on a "Guinness" break and trodded down to "Mother's". There in the corner with an amp, a microphone and a well-worn classical guitar sat a man named, Dick Deluxe pictured here:
Mr. Deluxe was sitting there lazily picking his was through all my favorites. All those Jeffy-centric songs that you don't expect to hear anywhere except of Jeffy's iPod, or when Jeffy is singing, but never played in a bar.
I was at that perfect level of drunk where it all hit me as home sweet home. Here I was in one of my long-lost forgotten places, and I was being welcomed back by comforting sounds.
I was also at that perfect level of drunk where I sat about 8 feet from where he was sitting and drank my beer and sang along to every song he sang.
He was a generous soul though and didn't seem to mind. At one point he got up to take a break and told me to take over his guitar and have at it. He didn't ask if I knew how to play, but he had faith. He also didn't ask if maybe I wasn't at that perfect level of drunk to be too drunk to play.
Ah well. I still had fun.
The next day I did a search for Dick Deluxe on the Internet and found him all over the place.
I feel I've rambled on long enough here. But I will be crossing paths with Dick someday again, I'm sure.
Here's a quick link to his website. And also to a page on CD baby.com where some of his stuff is for sale.
You see, he truly is a Jeffy-Centric player...he's got the chops for all the great old country and alt.country stuff I love, and also has some mean blues licks. True Americana, just the way I roll.
Here's a clip I found on YouTube with Dick playing at "Mothers"...and a pleasant surprise, to his right is another old friend of mine named Louis who I haven't seen in a few years. Louis has also been generous enough to let me get up and sing and play with him. They're doing a song here called "There Ain't No Blues at the House of Blues":
Great to see Louis. Great to meet Dick.
This post is not just about Mothers or Dick or Louis and certainly not about me.
It's about those "underground" musicians out there. Those guys playing music because "there ain't no other other way to be".
And guys who like to play so much, they let guys like me who just like to play get up and make noise.
I'll see y'all soon guys!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I Don't Wanna Be A Unicorn
Thanks for all your well wishes during "STORMWATCH 2010" and concerns for my safety during this great national crisis of Southern California's annual "week of actually having weather"...oh wait...none were SENT!
Ah well. I suppose I am being overly affected by a little rain. I DID grow up in Montana, after all, where weather conditions change on an hourly basis.
But THAT was 25 years past. I'm not used to it being anything but a moderate, min-70's F range. So when we get more than an inch of rain it's news. And THIS TIME WE GOT TORNADOS!!
Here's a video of Tuesday's storm taken about 2 miles from my home. Ironically, this was posted by a Mr. Dick Deluxe, who I coincidentally was going to write about in tomorrows post...stay tuned for that.
It pales to folks in the Gulf Region who regularly put up with hurricane conditions, and certainly doesn't compare with natural disasters like we have in Haiti presently, but if there's a God up there, he's obviously MAD.
This past few days of sogginess reminding me of this little ditty written by Shel Silverstein:
It's a cute story of course, but we all know that the real cause of the unicorn's extinction was simply that they're DELICIOUS! If you've never had a good unicorn butt steak, you haven't lived!
Their ground up horns were a sought after aphrodesiac too.
See ya tomorrow!