Saturday, June 29, 2019

Suffer the Children...


Today's post will be much more personal than I usually get.

On both Facebook and my blog, I often make little observations about growing older. Today's yet another example.

It recently occurred to me that I've known many of my Facebook friends since they were children, although in each case, I myself was already an adult when we met. And I mean those that were little kids, not – for example – customers already in high school when I worked at That's Entertainment in the 1980s.

And of course, I'm not counting any of those whom I met during my own childhood, whether it was in grammar school or high school.

It's kinda scary to think that these little kids are now in their twenties, thirties, forties, or even early fifties! Most have children of their own.

In absolutely no order:

There's the neighbor girl who used to write what were inarguably the world's worst “knock-knock” jokes. She's about to hit thirty years of age and talks as if she's ancient.

And then there's the daughter of a dear friend, a friend who died almost twenty years ago. I still recall when this little girl loved Tigger, but she was absolutely petrified at the thought of Chucky from Child's Play. I assume such is no longer the case.

In the early 1990s, when I had a comic store of my own, one of the customers was a likable young adolescent who was occasionally targeted by bullies. Six or seven years later, he had turned into a tall, burly young gent. I would love to see someone try to push him around now.

When I was in my very first band, the bass player's girlfriend had a younger sister who for all intents and purposes eventually became like a sister to me. I haven't seen her in years, but I still feel the same way about her. I wonder if she still has the “Cranberry Eyes” necklace and the Wayne Newton Christmas LP...

When I was in my mid-twenties, I became close friends with a young lady in her mid-teens. She in turn had a sister of about eight or nine. Over twenty years later, I encountered the eight-year-old, now a strikingly attractive adult. Quite the surprise, once I finally recognized her.

When I sold comic books and other collectibles at the now-defunct Auburn Flea Market, there was an enthusiastic fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who used to rifle through my comic boxes so quickly it made me nervous. Twenty-five years later, she's one of my unofficial “daughters.”

There's a guy whom I used to say I've known since before he was born. IIRC, his mom was waiting in their car, going into labor, while his dad and I were rummaging through a huge collection of Golden Age comic books in someone's home. At least, that's the way I like to remember the story.

Coincidentally, several years later, not one but two of that guy's younger sisters turned out to be friends of my second fiancée's daughter. I saw a lot of both of them as they grew up. Both were bright kids with engaging personalities. And today, they're Facebook friends of mine, too. Talk about a small world.

And that “second fiancée's daughter” I just mentioned? She's still in my life. She's my daughter for all intents and purposes and I couldn't love her more if she were a blood relation. During the last 35+ years we've been through more than even long-winded David would attempt to write about.

Last, but certainly not least, is the daughter of that “daughter.” I first held her when she was only ten hours old, and have since watched her and her husband bring two sons into this world – soon to be joined by a daughter – and plan to be around for as long as I can to watch them grow. Maybe someday, they'll be my Facebook friends, too!

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Passages


Something strange happens with age.

Someone's life interacts with yours once, twice, or more during your youth. Then you and he (or she) fall out of touch for many years, and you only find cause to think of them on rare occasions.

But one day you discover that this person who's not a current part of your life died years ago, and against all logic, you still feel an incredible sense of loss.

I've been through this twice in the last couple of months.

Once concerned a woman I'd known all through our school years, but hadn't seen since 1974. She died a few years ago but I only learned of it two or three weeks before today.

Another concerned a man I'd come to know when I owned my comic shop. I hadn't seen him in twenty years or so, and I recently discovered he died almost that long ago.

In both cases, I felt that incredible sense of loss that I mentioned above.

If I may be allowed to get a bit dramatic here, let me just quote Jim Starlin and say "Never again will the stars shine as brightly for me."

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Color Blind ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

Look, ma! No color!

For many years now, all aspects of a color comic book's creation have been handled before said comic leaves the publisher and makes its way to the printer. But such was not always the case.

Back in the early 1960s, when the Marvel Universe was just getting its start – as was my ability to read comics or anything else – the coloring was done at the printer, and done separately as opposed to someone sitting there painting colors all over the original comic book art. Sometimes this caused problems, both minor and major.

Now, I've already showcased a few coloring SNAFUs (plus several other goofs) from comics' Golden Age here, but today I'm going to focus on the early 1960s Marvel Comics I mentioned above.



Admittedly, I didn't read the stories which originally appeared in Fantastic Four #4 or #6 – the first two Silver Age appearances of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner – until they were reprinted a bit later, so I can't say with any certainty whether his swimming trunks were green or red inside the book. But as I've mentioned in several older posts, my very first look at a Marvel comic was 1963's Fantastic Four Annual #1, in which the FF battled Namor.


Notice, if you will, that Subby's trunks are, once again, colored bright red on the cover. Not so inside. Inside they were green. In fact, every interior drawing of the Sub-Mariner which I saw as a kid had him wearing green trunks, but someone at the printer sure seemed to like putting him in red trunks on the covers.


Of much greater import was this next example. Every issue of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos featured Sgt. Nick Fury and a handful of American soldiers that made up his squad. These soldiers had a variety of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. “Dum Dum” Dugan was descended from Boston Irish. Dino Manelli was Italian, presumably the son of Italian immigrants. “Rebel” Ralston was a Southerner (from Kentucky, IIRC). Izzy Cohen, from Brooklyn, was Jewish.

One of these soldiers was Gabriel Jones, the squad's bugler.



The problem was that Gabe was what polite society then (1963) called a Negro. Stan Lee had to constantly remind the printers to color Gabe the drab grey color that comics then used for African-Americans. (It could have been worse. For example, comics in those days colored Asians a pale yellow.)


It wasn't until a year or two later that they started coloring African-Americans a more palatable brown.


I'm throwing in my next example just for the hell of it.


The Marvel readers' first glimpse of a villain known as the Grim Reaper was on the cover of 1968's The Avengers #52. And if the coloring of his costume is an “error,” it's only one of judgment! Green, blue, red, purple...! Doesn't look too “grim” to me. I guess they just didn't think that calling him the Gaudy Reaper would be as dramatic.



Later appearances of the Grim Reaper gave him much more suitably-colored attire. But hey, don'tcha just love the way artist George Perez simply ignored the fact that the villain had a prosthetic hand in the shot where ol' Grimmy is donning his mask?

Another title whose covers were plagued with sloppy coloring decisions was The X-Men. My first exposure to the group was issue number five.


The colorist got the X-Men's uniforms right – the all-red Angel doesn't count because he was in a cage of sorts and they colored him for dramatic effect – but Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil was all screwed up.


You see, Mastermind (the guy in green) was supposed to be dressed in light brown. IIRC, the Toad usually wore a mix of orange and grey, but here he's in yellow! Quicksilver, wearing blue here, was supposed to have been attired in dark green. (Although he did get a light blue uniform years later.) And the young woman who is decked out in green? Well! That's none other than the Scarlet Witch. Yes, the Scarlet Witch. Now, what color do y'all think she should have been wearing?!?


Thankfully, they got Wanda's costume colors right on the cover of the next issue, The X-Men #6, but guess what?


The colorist put our old pal, the Sub-Mariner, in those razzer-frazzer RED trunks again!

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Another Freakin' Space Filler!


Well, I'm finally making an effort to scan my blogroll, to catch up on reading your blogs, fellow babies. For the last few weeks, I've been spending my time doing several things, including -- as most of you are aware -- playing on Facebook like it's a new toy.

Facebook's attractions are many. Instead of writing one of my long-winded posts, I can often "share" a meme that approximates what I wanted to say. That means I can post two or three or even more posts each day. And the reactions from many of my Facebook friends for each post is often a lot quicker than the comments to any one of my blog posts come trickling in.

Anyway... As I post this, a very few of you may have already seen a comment or two or three from me, depending on the frequency of your posts. And I've noticed that several of you only visit my blog when I comment on your blog, so if those comments of mine have sent you racing here only to find this very post... well, I'm sorry I didn't leave anything more interesting for you to read!

Maybe I'll leave something of substance soon.

Maybe.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A TerrifiCon Prelude ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post


My very first visit to TerrifiCon, the convention held each summer at Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut, consisted of only a handful of hours in 2017. I walked away with signsatures from four comic book professionals whose work I'd seen during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and/or 1990s. (I told about my experiences here and here.)

Last year -- that's 2018, in case you're not keeping track -- I obtained one or mire signatures from fifteen different comic pros. And I reallllly went overboard as far as posting about it. Rather than a two-part post, it was a five-part post! (Here, here, here, here, and here!)

And this year? Well, this year, I intend to double that amount of celebrity autographs. That plus-or-minus thirty count of signators will include both comic professionals and a few media types (actors and voice-over artists, that is).

And in case you're wondering, this year's "report" on TerrifiCon will emphatically not give details about all the people whose signatures I obtain. So no, it will not be a ten-part post. I promise.

Now I'm going to shut up and just throw photos at you of those who -- as of June 11th -- I intend to bug for their autograph. First I'll show the comic pros, in alphabetical order, then the media guests, in alphabetical order as well. I've made a few larger than the rest. (Those are the ones whom I personally am really excited about!) Feel free to click on any that interest you for a closer look.

See you at the bottom!
























And now, the media folk!







Thanks for your time!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

D-Day


Today's post is (obviously) devoted to all who fought during the massive invasion forever known as D-Day, June 6th, 1944. We must always remember those who lived and died, for all played their part and made a difference.

My father was a soldier during World War II, from 1943-1945. That means that he was in the army on D-Day, but I have no idea if he actually participated in the D-Day invasion that happened seventy-five years ago today. Why? Well, although he took me to see World War II-related movies at the drive-in, and watched WWII-related movies and television programs with me at home, he never discussed his actual war experiences.

No, for that kind of thing, I was "stuck" reading Marvel Comics' Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, and later titles from both Marvel and DC like Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders, Our Army at War (later Sgt. Rock), Star-Spangled War Stories, Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen, and other comics of that ilk!


Sgt. Fury was always my favorite of the war comics, though. Its earliest issues were drawn by Jack Kirby, but by issue #8 (the first issue I got brand new), the artwork was by Dick Ayers. Imagine my joy thirty years later when I got to meet Dick and even work with him on an unsold comic book series of ours!


And how did my father feel about my love for the war comics? I don't think he gave it much thought, really. But when I read Sgt. Fury #9 (pictured above), it sent me to the World Book Encyclopedia to find out more information about this "Hitler guy." That, and similar situations where (for example) issues of Journey into Mystery (later The Mighty Thor) made me consult the World Book on various characters from Norse mythology like Loki, Odin, and Balder, are no doubt why my parents always encouraged my comic book habit.


There was one issue my father took exception to, and that's Sgt. Fury #32, pictured above. He looked at the cover in mild surprise, complaining about how ridiculous it was that the Nazi soldiers were missing Nick Fury and his men at such close range.

Thanks for your time.

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