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- Siskoid presents his last, best hope for sci-fi TV blogging: “Your Daily Dose of Babylon 5,” where he plans to discuss every episode. The introduction is here, and as I write this the entries for the first two episodes are up, and you can keep up by following this convenient category.
I enjoyed Babylon 5, though I haven’t rewatched the series since giving the DVD sets (and associated spin-offs) a once-through as I acquired them. It was an interesting experiment in long-form storytelling with the constraints of the vagaries of television production, it gave us the fascinating crisscrossing story arcs of Londo and G’Kar, and it brought us Walter Koenig in a great role that made most folks come to say “Chekov who?” It wasn’t perfect, but what in this fallen world is; I probably never need to hear the phrase “with all due respect” ever again, for example. But there was certainly more to enjoy than to not enjoy, and the occasional (“occasional?”) bit of labored dialogue and rough-edged acting isn’t that difficult to endure given the overall success of the venture.
Hey, I liked it, and I look forward to enjoying Siskoid’s review of the series.
- Here’s an article giving an overview of the Kirby family’s side of the battle against Marvel/Disney over the ultimate ownership of Jack’s creations. At the bottom of the article, under “Amicus Curiae Briefs,” are links to PDFs of the actual filings, each with plenty of historical and legal details that comic fans may find of interest. (Thanks to pal Jason for the link!)
- In the latest Pal Andrew news, his latest “Nobody’s Favorite” is a comic I remember receiving at the shop, and I remember selling for the few months it was around, but couldn’t tell you anything else about it. Luckily, Andrew has stepped in and refreshed those memories for me.
Andrew is also relaunching his Ultimate Powers Jam, in which he rolls up characters using the Marvel Super Heroes role playing game, and passes along the results to you to flesh out the character and do with what you will. A sample, if you will.
- Best wishes to Swamp Thing’s cocreator Bernie Wrightson, who is currently dealing with some health issues but is reportedly doing well. Please keep yourself updated at his official Facebook page.
- Speaking of Swamp Thing, old pal Batfatty has sent along this back cover by Bill Wray from Cracked Monster Party #7 (1989), featuring Cracked’s mascot Sylvester P. Smythe following the tragic explosion of his bio-restorative formula experiment:
Hey, it’s purt’near the 25th anniversary of that drawing! EVERYONE CELEBRATE
1. Yes, it says “ret” in the first panel. Was that typo fixed in the recent Demon hardcover?
2. This little monkey-fella makes a reappearance in Saga of the Swamp Thing #25, #26 and #27 (1984):
I remember finding out at the time that Kamara (that monkey creature) had appeared in The Demon a decade before, and thinking “boy, there’s no way it can be as creepy as it was in Swamp Thing,” but I was wrong. So very wrong.
images from The Demon #4 (December 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer; Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 (June 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben
from Destroyer Duck #1 (1982) by Steve Gerber, Jack Kirby and Alfredo Alcala
So back in 1979, pal Cully (whom you’ve probably seen popping up in my comments sections now and again) met Jack Kirby, and got both a sketch from, and a photo with, the King. A number of years back Cully brought his framed photo ‘n’ drawing to the shop, where we had it on display. Cully took ’em back home long before I ever started this weblog, or even had access to a scanner, probably, so I never had those pics to show off on the site. I kept meaning to ask him about them in order to post ’em up here, but, you know, stuff happens and it eventually slipped my mind…
…until Cully told me on Friday “oh, hey, my photo with Jack and my sketch are on my Facebook,” which at long last has given me a reason to log back into Facebook, finally. …Boy, those sure are a lot of notifications. Er, anyway…now, with Cully’s kind permission, here’s that photo of Jack ‘n’ Cully, and the sketch that resulted from that momentous meeting:
That’s a great shot of Jack, and for those of us who have known Cully for a long time, it’s fun to see a picture of him in the full
head of hair blossom of youth.
Thanks again, Cully, for letting me show those swell images on my site!
So y’all know Matt Digges, right? The artist of Awesome Hospital? The guy who drew me this?
Well, the man is in need of a little extra scratch, and thus is now taking commissions to draw your favorite character…and if you ask nicely, he might draw characters other than Swamp Thing or Sluggo, too. You can read all the details on his Tumblr-thingie. But in all seriousness, Matt’s a swell cat and well deserving of your dollars, so go give him a few and get a wonderful drawing in return.
In other news:
- Hey, have I mentioned I’m doing a little lite-blogging on this site for my place of employment? We needed a new blanket site to cover both stores, I ended up doing a quickie WordPress install, and voilà, suddenly I’ve got another blog to maintain. It’s mostly a lot of “hey, look at this stuff we would like you to buy!” but we’re having fun with it. It’s just starting out, and I need to slap another coat of paint on it, but I think it looks nice, though I’ll have to beat Employee Mark if he uses another emoticon in a post again.
- We got in a copy of the Infinite Crisis Omnibus hardcover, and I sort of wish I remembered to take a picture of it, because this thing is just goofily thick. I mean, physically thick, not, you know, thick as in “not very bright,” which I suppose some of you would mention if I didn’t. But this thing is a real bullet-stopper, the kind of book you’d use to knock out a moose prior to surgery. It has purt’near every tie-in and mini-series to Infinite Crisis, and it’s like four inches thick, and it’s just amazing.
…Now, there have been similar books, like those Omnibii that Marvel has been doing (for example), so it’s not as if this kind of tome is anything new. But while big ol’ Gutenberg Bible editions of Fantastic Four, Watchmen, and even Howard the Duck sort of receive the “yeah, sure, we get it” reaction, this special Infinite Crisis: Overkill Edition tends to get The People’s Eyebrow and the occasional disbelieving “Really? They made one of those for that?” and all I can say is “hey, I got a dude who wants it, and that’s good enough for me.”
Of course, that there is not yet a Swamp Thing Omnibus with every 1970s appearance of the character is a crime that comics will pay for someday, oh yes.
- Pals Dor and Ken have another look at trailers for forthcoming movies…I always really look forward to each new installment of this column!
- Pal Andrew has another installment of “Nobody’s Favorites” and this time he takes on The King! Yup, one of Kirby’s latter-day creations gets Andrewified, and you can read the results right here. …A few years back, I had a brief discussion on this site about fandom’s contemporary opinions on Kirby’s later output (here and here) which generated some lively discussion (link goes to old commenting system…don’t post new comments there, please!). I only bring those posts up, not just to complement Andrew’s post, but to point out a certain realization I had about fandom’s reaction to that period of Kirby’s work:
“Okay, we look back on that stuff now and we can appreciate it for what it was. I don’t know if it took us 30 years to catch up to what Kirby was doing, or if it’s just nostalgic fondness for the comics of yore, or if it’s ‘ironic’ appreciation, or just admiration for Kirby’s energy in producing just pure ‘comic-booky’-type comics with no pretense at being anything other than what they were: escapist entertainment for kids. And I’m sure part of it is an unwillingness to take any portion of Kirby’s output for granted, since, obviously, there ain’t no more comin’”.
“There ain’t no more comin’.” I put in sort of a fake-folksy way, but it doesn’t make that thought any less depressing, and it’s sort of stuck with me all these years since I originally wrote it. Looking at that Witchfinder series John Severin drew last year, and thinking “no more Severin art.” Or “no more Gil Kane drawings.” Or “no more Steve Gerber stories.” The fact that there are still some stories and art from departed creators in the vaults, as it were, such as that Infernal Man-Thing mini featuring Gerber’s previously-unpublished scripts, simply serves to remind that we can only look forward to unearthed archived material, and That One Guy/Gal You Really Liked Who Just Passed Away isn’t sitting at his/her typewriter or art table and working on something brand spanking new at this very moment.
…Sigh. Sorry. “People die and it sucks” is today’s lesson, apparently.
Speaking of which…so long, Andy.
…since it’s very late, and I’m on the verge of nodding off at the computer, which is never a good sign. It’s been a long week, and a lot o’hours worked, my friends, so your pal Mike’s batteries are way low.
But it wasn’t all bad…I did, for example, buy a copy of this for a dollar, and now I have even more big ol’ nutty Jack Kirby pages in my home to enjoy. The best part of reading this comic thus far is the captions…it’s like the exact opposite in tone from the movie:
…explicitly explaining everything you just had to sorta figure out yourself while watching the flick. Not that parts of 2001
were all that crazy hard to understand, but still, it feels weird having it all spelled out for you.
…but it’s a good link. So it seems Andrew may have found a possible inspiration for Jack Kirby’s character Flippa Dippa from the 1970s incarnation of the Newsboy Legion.
Yes, “Flippa Dippa.” The kid who wore the scuba gear all the time. Of all the weird-ass things Jack put into his comics, Flippa Dippa…well, may not crack the Top Ten of Weird-Assedness in Kirby’s work, but he’s on the list somewhere. Like, maybe at number 39. But that something very specific may have inspired Kirby to introduce this character…that’s even weirder. Anyway, go check out Andrew’s article and decide for yourself if he’s onto something, there.
So on a whim, I thought I’d reread the early appearances of Klarion the Witch Boy from Jack Kirby’s The Demon:
…just because Klarion the Witch Boy is awesome:
…when I came across this little bit of comics trivia that I assumed nobody cared about, but, as you know, a little Googling will always dissuade the “nobody else cares about this” assumption. Anyway, in Klarion’s first appearance, his feline companion Teekl is described as a male cat, as seen in this panel:
However, a few issues later when Klarion makes his return appearance, Teekl is suddenly a girl cat:
And…okay, that was a bit strange. Not that the cat’s suddenly being female is strange, I mean that panel
is damned peculiar. But things get a little stranger, and a little bit more lady-ish, as Teekl eventually transforms into a full-blown woman-with-fursuit:
As I said, this is apparently an issue with some folks, as the Young Justice wiki
notes that “Teekl’s sex has often been a subject of variation and debate amongst writers and fans alike in comics and cartoons,” and the Wikipedia entry for Klarion
has a separate section devoted to the Teekl gender issue. Both entries state that Kirby’s version of Teekl was female (as opposed to the current version of Teekl, in the Young Justice
cartoon and in the Seven Soldiers
comics by Grant Morrison, where he’s a boy cat), without mentioning the cat’s apparent maleness when first introduced by Kirby.
Of course, we’re talking about a magic cat, so one could assume its gender could be changed on the fly as necessary. I mean, clearly that’s the only logical conclusion.
images from The Demon #7 (March 1973) and #15 (December 1973) by Jack Kirby & Mike Royer
BEHOLD: the backer-board-sign-thingie that slipped into the top of the counter dump for Jack Kirby’s Battle for a Three Dimensional World:
Used to be that I’d see copies of this thing (the comic, not the counter dump sign) all
the time. Now I can’t remember the last time I’ve had one pass through the store.
So I’ve finally caught up on the new season of Smallville…yeah, I was a whole week behind, boo hoo…and the first episode ends with Darkseid showing up. And we’ve had an obnoxious radio talk show host referenced on the program by the name of “Godfrey,” who is clearly supposed to be Glorious Godfrey, another of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters.
Now, I love all this Fourth World stuff. It’s Kirby completely unfettered, with pretty much every crazy idea getting slapped down on a page, and all of it, somehow, working. The very idea of live-action renditions of these characters showing up in the prime time TV series is fantastic, though I’m sure we’re not getting full-on in-your-face 100% accurate translations of Kirby’s designs. But, um…that CGI Darkseid from the end of the first episode looked pretty darn close.
But, you know, what the hell? Why not Kirby it up? It’s the last season…it’s not like they have to be afraid of getting canceled or anything. What’s the worst that can happen…viewers might accidentally be exposed to something awesome?
And there’s incentive! As I promised on my Twitter thingie, I would give the producers of Smallville three whole dollars, in genuine American currency, via PayPal, personal check, or money order, if they give us a live action version of the Fourth World’s embodiment of Death, the Black Racer:
And I don’t mean “This week on Smallville
, Clark and Lois visit a ski resort and encounter a young man with strange powers” and it’s a dude in a red and blue ski outfit, with yellow gloves and a stylized wool ski mask that kind of
looks like a knight’s helmet. I mean, I want a guy, in that armor, wearing that helmet, and freakin’ flying
I will accept no less.
Plus, if we’re opening up Smallville to Kirby’s Fourth World stuff, that means the way is finally cleared for this show’s long-awaited special guest star…Mr. Warmth himself, Don Rickles:
(If you want a little background on why and how this even happened, here you go
A couple of other notes about Smallville:
- I think I would have been on board with Old Clone Lex being the new replacement Lex Luthor for the show, which even kinda sorta follows what happened with Lex in the comics that one time, if you squint a little:
Frankly, giving us a Lex that ain’t afraid to leave some toothmarks on the scenery is what this series really needs. Of course, given what happens in the story, this option is kind of out of the question.
More likely, Young Kid Lex Clone, rescued from the labs, will probably age-accelerate into the show’s previous Lex, actor Michael Rosenbaum, assuming they can throw enough money at him to get him back on the show, shave his head, and reprise his role for an episode or three. (I understand why maybe he’d not want to, but it seems like it’d be bit of a disappointment not to finally get our Superman Versus the Lex Luthor Who’d Been Around for Most of the Show’s Run confrontation.)
- You know how some folks were wondering…well, how I was wondering, anyway, about how they were going to resolve the secret identity situation, given the fact that Clark’s been toolin’ around for ten seasons with no glasses, and that when he finally puts on the Superman costume, everyone he knows is going to look at him and say “hey, Clark, what’s with the get-up?”
I think I finally figured out the producers’ solution. They’re just going to make sure all of Clark’s friends already know about his super powers, and that any folks outside his circle of friends don’t really care about Clark enough to notice that the guy in the blue suit and red cape is him.
That’s gotta be better than my previous assumption, that since Smallville and now Metropolis are apparently the Head Trauma Capitals of the World, the subsequent brain damage everyone has by being knocked out by the Bad Guys of the Week will block their memories of Clark’s dual identities.
Sure, why not.
- For more Smallville commentary, Chris Sims and David Uzumeri will be reviewing every episode this season, starting here. God speed, my friends.