With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Seventy-Two: Connections, Man, Connections…

Last night, I dreamt I was the Beastmaster. However, I was wearing more than just the loincloth Marc Singer adorned in 1982, so don’t call an adult thinking you need supervision to read this post. Chances are strong you’ve never seen “The Beastmaster” without commercial interruption, for I discovered this legendary sword-and-sorcery trailblazer via a WPIX Channel 11 Movie of the Week about thirty years ago and have only re-watched the movie on this network (which seemed to air it at least four times a year), Superstation TBS, and the USA Network. As great as this movie was, we must not overlook the co-star of this adventure, the oddly-cast-yet-goddamned-brutal John Amos, several thousand miles away from any good times…for your benefit, a rare portrait of John Amos from this movie, one so awesome it is unlikely to ever see its parallel:

I hope John Amos made that his Christmas card. In my dream, I maintained a farmhouse/dungeon in rural Nebraska where I held captive the actors of the Brat Pack and demanded they re-make all their pictures featuring Jon Cryer as the Anti-Christ. You will be shocked to know Judd Nelson was truly enthusiastic about this idea. Molly Ringwald was less thrilled.

Yeah, hang on tight, baby, and don’t let go. That grip couldn’t halt Judd’s march towards “Suddenly Susan”. I don’t know what was worse, “Friends” or the vomit of “Friends”, those subsequent NBC sitcoms that tried to copy the formula (“The Single Guy”, “Jesse”, “Veronica’s Closet”, “The Naked Truth”). Well, whatever vomit of quickly-cancelled sitcoms NBC mops up, rest assured USA sneaks into HQ and wrings the putrid substance from the mop for their devious, early-morning, crap-a-thon purposes. Two shout-outs for the ol’ USA Network in one post. I should be getting paid for this gratuitous grenade tossing.

Today marks the 85th anniversary of the first appearance of Popeye, the Sailor Man. Maybe I should just refer to him as Popeye. Otherwise, he sounds like a World Wrestling Federation mid-carder from 1996. No one needs to be reminded of that…which I just did. Well. What an unpleasantly-tasting pie in the face. Happy Birthday, Popeye!

In 1982, I wanted to dress as Popeye for Halloween, but my mother detested the violence of his cartoons, as well as the violence inherent in Tom & Jerry and Woody Woodpecker cartoons, so the lot was prohibited in the household. Balance: watching a bloody Indian strap match between Chief Jay Strongbow and Sika the Wild Samoan or a chain match between Bruiser Brody and Carlos Colon…sure, son, if your homework is done. This woman would sit with me while I watched “Space Ghost and Dino Boy” and “Battle of the Planets” but turned into the prison warden if she saw Tom bothering that poor, little mouse. This existence is splintered with incongruency. Featured below: a group shot of Space Ghost’s version of the Legion of the Doom, the Council of Doom, comprised of (l to r) Zorak, Brak, Metallus, Zoltar, The Creature King and the Spider Woman –

For Halloween 1982, I was Lumberjack E.T. I had a plastic mask, Dad’s purple and black flannel shirt, Grandpa’s red suspenders and construction boots. Mom’s contribution was the rejection of my request to carry a dulled axe. After devoting my kindergarten years to the daily consumption of paste, she would no longer tolerate, nor would her weak, weak heart endure, any more soberly admonitory and perfectly creased notes of concern from my teachers. Grandma suggested I carry a whisk. I went to school with the E.T. mask, the shirt, the suspenders, the boots, and the whisk, prepared to change into my costume after lunch for the Halloween Parade. I couldn’t stop thinking about the whisk, how inappropriate it seemed. Then this thought would be scolded by the Other Powerful Thought, Mom’s Weak, Weak Heart. Shame, shame, shame on me. After lunch, I changed into my costume and discovered the eyeholes on the mask were too small. I used the classroom scissors to enlarge the holes, but a classmate startled me, resulting in a jagged line in the mask, running two inches from the right eye to the mask’s side. During the parade, I kept my eyes closed, wishing I could do the same with my ears. At the class party, I ate my english muffin pizza and my brownie in silence. I remember placing the whisk in my bookbag, but somehow it never came home with me. Mom wasn’t upset; she said whisks were cheap. The damage to the mask caused more grief, as there wasn’t time to go to K-Mart for a new costume before Mom took my brother and I around the neighborhood. The mask was scotch-taped, but I returned the shirt to Dad and the suspenders and boots to Grandpa. I borrowed Dad’s New York Mets cap and told anyone who asked me I was now M.E.T. This was met with general smiling approval. After I gave away my Halloween candy to my brother (retaining my tiny boxes of raisins), and before I went to bed, I remembered a word my Grandpa said that day and decided to look it up. Halloween 1982 concluded with my comprehension of the word, ‘defeatist’. I would say this was the only victory of that day, but that M.E.T. thing was actually pretty nifty.


***READ THE TITLE OF THE POST, PEOPLE…***

For Halloween 1983, I was Blackjack Mulligan. The man born Robert Windham was a villainous pro wrestler, a “heel”, whose son, Barry, was starting to earn his reputation in the business. Blackjack was a big guy, tough and intimidating, who used an “iron claw” to squeeze his opponent’s face until he gave up. He also had a mean, thick black mustache, a feature previously featured on my Dad’s face that disappeared on Labor Day weekend. Dad told me it simply had to go. “You can’t get far in life with a mustache”. I remember thinking about the U.S. Presidents of the later half of 19th century: Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison. Perhaps he was right. I still wanted to grow that mustache. Mom wondered why I had chosen this particular guy to emulate, and I told her about my need to be a giant for fifteen minutes. Grandpa mentioned Andy Warhol, and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I purchased a black cowboy hat and an Indiana Jones “bullwhip” (plastic replica) at the Great American Party Store. I would paint a handlebar mustache on my upper lip with shoe polish. At school, the outfit revealed me as an outlaw, but no one knew who Blackjack Mulligan was. My teacher, Ms. Curving, thought I was Black Bart and advised me not to use the bullwhip on anyone (I didn’t). The art teacher, Mr. Panarotto, said I looked like Doc Holliday and gave me a high-five. His hairpiece shifted as I slapped his hand. I knew the name Doc Holliday because I had seen a black-and-white TV show where an actor had that role, but I couldn’t remember the title. Later that day, Grandpa told me I had watched “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”. After school, I went trick-or-treating with my brother, who was dressed as a hobo. I thanked everyone who gave me candy, tipping the brim of my hat with a declaration of mostly “Ma’am” or occasionally “Sir”. The next day, Mom and I saw Mrs. Kyritz at the Shop-Rite, who told us that I was the most polite outlaw she’d ever seen in these parts. I remained an outlaw for a few more days, as I had complemented the shoe polish with black Sharpie marker. Polite, yes. Bright, no. For the record, I didn’t use the “iron claw” on anyone, either. Perhaps I should’ve been Wyatt Earp.

For Halloween 1984, I was Robot Cowboy. I was directly inspired by the Superfriends episode, “Outlaws of Orion”, in which intergalactic bounty hunters try to cash in on Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Batman and Robin. Dad complimented me on my ingenuity and also stated if I ever wanted to be The Boy Who Combed His Hair, Mom would likely faint. Being a Robot Cowboy meant I had to work on perfecting what I called “The Cold Dead Stare”. I had to look like I meant business with that stare, that’d I’d make your Daddy move to Brooklyn, your Mommy run away screaming, and your Grandma spontaneously combust. I spent hours in front of the mirror, scowling, growling, sneering, leering. I had to put the absolute fear of extinction in anyone who crossed my path. The first person to cross my path (the carpet in my room) was my brother. However, he proved immune to the scowl, as he merely chuckled and told me I looked like I need to have a BM. That night, he wrapped himself in aluminum foil and invited me to a showdown at 8:00 PM. “Too bad,” Dad said, “8:00 PM is Bedtime for Robot Cowboys”. Mom was displeased that my brother wasted the aluminum foil on his outfit; she wasn’t assuaged by my exclamation, “He’s puttin’ on the foil, coach!”, a reference to the Paul Newman hockey movie, “Slap Shot” (which Dad acknowledged). At school, my costume consisted of last year’s cowboy hat, overindulgence of silver body paint, stiff body movements, and various clicks, whirs, and tics. I ate three english muffin pizzas that year, using a knife and fork so my make-up wouldn’t smear. “Robot Cowboy was hungry,” said Mrs. Pellegrino, the class mother. A cheap toy pistol completed the outfit for trick-or-treating. I must’ve been intimidating since my candy collection was especially high. I tried a fun-sized Snickers bar, but the caramel didn’t agree with me, and I spat it into the garbage can. “Does-not-compute, does-not-compute, does-not-compute” was added for dramatic measure, before I “shut down” (went to bed) after a good bath. Robot Cowboy never returned – the Snickers fouled the works. Actually, I missed a few spots of body paint and ruined my “Return of the Jedi” bed spread…C-3PO’s Revenge.

“There is freedom within, there is freedom without/Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup”
— “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House

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With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Twelve: Summary of Existence (Words by Mocha Mott’s Coffee, Pictures by Warner Bros.)

He woke on Monday morning, ready to conquer the world, or, at a minimum, harness nature for his steady progress:

He knew his war with Intemperate Technology – amok, fire-breathing, megalomaniacal, and insidiously steadfast little gremlins – would be measured battle by battle, but he’d claim the ultimate victory when he rose from the debris:

He understands, with regret, that the enemy will utilize surreptitious and underhanded methods that may drive him to madness:

He also knows … that ain’t no thang

He’ll struggle, but he won’t relent. He’s seen all manner of supervillainous behavior; he’s not going to resort to Neverending Drink:

Heck, isn’t this all a dream, anyway? Yes, this must all be a dream – one in which your action figures are ready to jump off the shelves and assume action when they hear the call for justice:

Therefore, the only advice I have for you is – Enjoy the Dolphin Ride…

…and accept no substitutes.

This Week’s Comics Haul: Just Hook it to my Veins!

Click covers to embiggen! L to R: Before Watchmen – Rorschach 01, Wonder Woman 12, Pigs 08 (so good and so underrated), Saga 06, The Walking Dead 101, AvX 10 (just please be over already!), Amazing Spider-Man 691, Daredevil 17 (welcome aboard Mike Allred!), The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 03, Harbinger 02 and Bloodshot 02 (possible tie for best covers of the week). What are you planning on picking up?

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Four: Behold, For He Has Walked From the Light to Return to the Shadows…

Gamechanger.

Jim Aparo at his finest. Look at the faces of the rejected Justice League of America. Flash is aghast – Sorry, Barry, your pain has just begun. Stretchy McPickle and Flamecoif are numb – Wonder Woman is abandoned at the altar by her Own True (Batty) Love. Superman, the Angry Kryptonian, curls a scowl as Batman verbally liquifies the relationship. Check out Black Lightning and Metamorpho – there’s your Solid Gold Comeuppance, b*tches. There’s the Karma Train driving right through your living room as you and the clan are enjoying your Hamburger Helper. Beauty. I am a huge John Byrne fan, but…I really feel Aparo is the only artist who could’ve accurately portrayed the Shift of Power. Sales of “BATO” skyrocketed…”Justice League of America” began the slow, goopy, oozy slide to the Michigan Years. I fondly recall this comic as a real gamechanger to me, even at the young age of seven. The Lesson?

There’s always another way.

Yeah, I hear your mumbling…I know Batman walked away from the Outsiders three years after this cover. He know there was another way, too. It All Comes Full Circle.

Holy Bat-Tangent! If you’re gonna read Adam West’s “Batman: Back to the Batcave”, the counterpart must, too, be absorbed: Burt Ward’s “Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights” The perspectives of both productions are best defined by the covers:

Good reading to y’all.

Stripped Down Icons

Kerrith Johnson has turned heroes and the ideals that they embody into minimalist motivational posters that are really quite clever. Check out more of Kerrith Johnson’s art on his deviantART page. (all via Comics Alliance)

The Modern Borefare Interview: Ryan & Eastin from Spaceship Long Island (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second installment of the Modern Borefare Interview with the creators of Spaceship Long Island.  In case you missed it (for shame!), part one is here.

Modern Borefare: What does the next year look like for SSLI? How far out do you have the series plotted and do you stick to that plan pretty rigidly or do you find yourself going off on tangents?

Ryan: More like what does next week look like. It kind of feels like we have just finished clearing our throats when it comes to the story.We have always had a lot ideas floating around, but until recently we weren’t always clear on how to get our characters from point A to point B. For instance, we have had a story to tell about Brooklyn since day one, but I don’t think we could have told it before now.I think it took us this long just to figure out who our characters were, where they were going and what they wanted. Now that we have a clearer sense of that I think we can start mapping out a bigger picture.

Eastin: The Hell arc was supposed to be three strips long. It turned into eleven. We knew the ending, so we just kept it going until we could reach that point naturally. So, we have a basic idea, but if something needs to be cut short or drawn out, we’ve got no problem doing either.

MB: What are your favorite webcomics?

R: No surprises. The ones I never miss are Penny Arcade and PvP. My favorite at the moment is probably Hark a Vagrant, just like everyone else on the planet. I also was sort of obsessed with this comic called Art Animals for a while. It was compelling in the same way as watching a car crash, I couldn’t make myself look away..With most other webcomics, like The Abominable Charles Christopher or Chainsawsuit, I tend to just swoop in every two months and make a run through the archives.

E: Yeah, everything Ryan listed plus xkcd. I also really dig Battlepug. Love the art in that.

R: Wow, xkcd, that is so underground.

E: I usually like to Instagram xkcd strips.

MB: What, if any, webcomic trends bother you? What annoys you about webcomics? Conversely, what excites you about webcomics?

R: I hate comics about people’s everyday lives. There are exceptions to this rule but biographical comics mostly suck. Too often biography just means wish fulfillment or self-aggrandizement. I crave characters.

E: Yeah. Not really a fan of one-panelers with ironic captions, either. What I like though? I love that people are willing to create, do, and then put it out there for the world to see. It’s kind of like all those crazy ideas you had as a kid finally have an outlet, and some of them out there are pretty damn awesome!

R: Eastin just told me that he hates Sorry Comics. Now I hate him. Sorry Comics is great because rather than being wish fulfillment it is an unblinking confessional of all the times the creator fucked up.

E: ^ Rude.

R: What excites me about webcomics is that there is literally no gatekeeper for webcomics. Anyone can make one. Imagine if that was true of video games? Movies? Academia (cough, cough)? Anything else really? I guess it is starting to happen to novels with the Kindle, but I think it is still easier to put out a webcomic and get it in front of a lot of people than pretty much anything else.

MB: Any advice for people looking to start their own comic?

R: You just have to do it. Even if you are writing a shitty biographical comic that I am going to hate, you just need to make a publishing schedule and stick to it. The hardest part is making sure there is a new comic on the site every week.In that regard, it helps to have a partner who you are responsible to. No one wants to be the guy who draws the comic at his girlfriend’s house, but then forgets the scanner at home resulting in a late strip. Not that Eastin did that.

E: Get ready to give up your weekends. Forever. Get on the social networks and talk to other creators, a lot of them are really cool and willing to spread your work if you just ask. There’s actually a really supportive community out there.

MB: What are your favorite non-webcomic comics?

 R:: I am working my way up the ladder to claim the title of the world’s biggest Thor fanboy.

Beyond that I love Conan the Barbarian comics. That means both the old Savage Sword of Conan stuff with its copious side boobs and the new Brian Wood/Becky Cloonan stuff. Obviously, I also like Wood’s Northlanders since it is essentially Conan + Thor.

My tastes are pretty omnivorous though. I will read anything. I just started reading Bone which I have wanted to get to ever since I saw it being serialized in Disney Adventures at age 12.

E: This list could go on forever. Taking a graphic novel class with Scott Snyder (RYAN: Name dropper.) really turned me into a DC fanboy, but lately, I’ve been branching out.

I’ll just throw out a few of my favorites:

Batman (Snyder and Capullo)

Animal Man (Lemire)

Sweet Tooth (Lemire)

Invincible (Kirkman)

Wonder Woman (Azzarello)

Wolverine and the X-Men (Aaron)

Peter Panzerfaust (Wiebe)

Action Comics (Morrison)

More and more I’m finding a lot of really good creator owned stuff, which is really exciting to see. There are comics about everything–so don’t ever let anyone tell you they have no interest in reading a comic book.

Oh and a really weird and depressing book that is beautifully illustrated is Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth. It’s worth taking a look.

MB: Going to NYCC this year?  If so, do you plan on doing anything differently from last year?

R: Definitely! Last year we had no idea what we were doing. We just kind of wandered around handing out flyers and temporary tattoos. It was pretty sad actually. I think in total we got like 50 hits from all our “marketing.”

This year I think our approach will be more about networking and less about promotion. NYCC is such a sensory overload that no one is going to remember some webcomic guys who gave them a flyer. If we can link up with some other creators this year I would consider that a victory.

E: I’m totally pumped for it! Like Ryan said, last year we had no idea what we were doing. We probably passed by some really great writers and artists and had no clue who they were. I feel much more prepared this year.

And I just love browsing the vendors from the small ones to right on up to Midtown Comics.

Let’s get those badges!

MB: Do you see yourself eventually going to a 2 or even 3 times a week schedule?

 R: We would love, love, love to do this. Hell, we’d put it out seven days a week! Once we successfully run a $100k Kickstarter and are able to quit our day jobs we will get right on it!

Truthfully though, three days a week would probably be the sweet spot for a strip like SSLI. We like doing longer strips, so a daily would be too ambitious.

The once a week thing is more a result of the time we are able to put in rather than a conscious choice.

MB:Anything I forgot to mention that you’d like to bring up?  Feel free! (Rants are fine but I draw the line at screeds.)

 SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #1: Which of you is more handsome?

E: Ryan.

R: You’re really too kind, but who could argue?

SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #2: What time is it right now?

R: 1AM

SELF-IMPOSED QUESTION #3: Which of you is still awake?

R: Not Eastin.

After the jump check out the original outline for the end of the Multar fight:

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Modern Heroes as Ancient Gods

From artist Tim Maclean, superheroes recast as Roman & Greek gods.