Sunday, April 29, 2018

Brief Notes for a Sunday

These don't even count as "Short Shorts." Just a few non-funny observations to fill space.

1. I saw Avengers: Infinity War on Friday and had a great time, but I don't know yet whether I'll bother doing any kind of review post about it.

2. 2018's A to Z Challenge ends tomorrow (Monday), and after that, I'll have more time for my own day-to-day interests, such as writing this blog instead of forty-seven comments per day on other people's blogs. Heh.

3. Some of you people come here only occasionally, which is fine, and there are others out there who come here but don't often leave comments (Right, Roy, haha?). I wouldn't even think of dropping your blogs. But sometime soon, regrettably, I'm going to be deleting two blogs from my sidebar's blogroll. Their authors never come to my blog. One of the two I'll no longer be following is a blog I've been reading for almost ten years, and I don't know why he stopped visiting me quite some time ago. He doesn't even answer most of the commenters on his own blog. The other is a guy whose blog I found through a previous year's A to Z Challenge (2014? 2016?). He read a few of my A to Z posts that year, but since then, he's only shown up here once that I know of, and that's only because I suggested he do so because of a particular post I knew he'd appreciate.

Hm. I spent a lot more time than I expected to spend on that last paragraph. I guess it's bothering me more than I thought I would. So it goes.

See you Wednesday.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Comical Wednesday on a Thursday? ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Mini-Post

Supposedly, all of the above characters are in Avengers: Infinity War. Well , not quite.
Two of the above superheroes are not in the movie. Can you guess which ones!

Maybe you noticed that I didn't post a "Comical Wednesday" post yesterday. Not only that, but today's so-called "Comical Wednesday" post isn't much of a post at all, cuz it's so short. For me, anyway.

I've been busy this week with various doctors' appointments. (And don't worry, I'm fine.) I've spent some time drafting my next "Comical Wednesday" post, and answering emails, but most of what little time I've spent at the library has mostly been dedicated to reading the "A to Z Challenge" posts of the bloggers I regularly follow.

Boy, will I be glad when that's over!

The only real reference to comic books that I'm making today is to tell you that I'll be seeing Avengers: Infinity War tomorrow. I may or may not do a future post about that.

So... See ya when I see ya. I'm hungry; it's time for supper.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

"Where Do They Get It?!?" ~~ A Question for YOU!

Excuse me if I sound like I'm kissing up here, but I've noticed that my readers tend to have a lot of knowledge about various subjects. Therefore, I'm hoping that someone out there can answer a question for me. (Well, maybe one-and-a-half questions.) Perhaps it has a really simple explanation, one which is just not occurring to me.

I've always wondered about music used on movie and television soundtracks, specifically what Wikipedia refers to as "pop songs heard in whole or part in the background of non-musicals," rather than a film score, or performances in a musical, which are recorded specifically for a film by a studio.

To list just one example, when George Lucas was making American Graffiti in the early 1970s and wanted to use songs like "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets, we all know he had to get permission to use every song, and pay licensing fees for each one, but who supplied the actual music we ended up hearing in the film? I think it's pretty safe to say that Mr. Lucas didn't just put a couple of microphones in front of his stereo speakers and play 45 RPM records from his private collection.

Also... Music used in films and TV is always clear-sounding (except when it comes from a radio or record player in the scene, or something similar). How do they obtain flawless copies of the original material, especially when the song in question is really old, and the master tapes aren't available? I realize that with today's computers and digital technology, they can probably "clean up" a song's sound, but what did they do years ago, before such methods existed, as in my example?

By the way, if you're the enlightened guy or gal who gives me an answer, I'll probably follow up with an additional question or two if I feel a need to further clarify things in my own mind. I'm funny that way. So please sign up for follow-up emails once you leave a comment.

And rest assured, fellow babies, I hate it when someone asks a question just because he or she is too lazy to look up the answer for himself or herself. Therefore, long before I decided to post this, I did all sorts of searches on the internet, but found nothing.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

That Darn Cat! (Part Two of a Streaky Overview!) ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post!

Just so you know, fellow babies, this two-part series about Streaky the supercat is not going to talk about every single damned appearance of the little feline. And I'm also going to ignore virtually every post-Silver Age story (okay, okay, except one) featuring Streaky. They've had various cats with the name Streaky during the last few years, some super-powered, some not, some male, some female...

You see, as a kid, I had assumed that Streaky was a male cat, a tomcat, as it were. (And the name doesn't exactly indicate any specific gender, ya know?) But some -- not all --versions in recent years have definitely been female. A non-powered cat was named Streaky by one of the new incarnations (don't ask) of Supergirl because, as Supergirl herself said in 2007, "she doesn't get the concept of the litter box."

Anyway, back to our main storyline here...

Action Comics #266 featured the second appearance of Streaky, in a story called "The World's Mightiest Cat!" Notice, if you will, that the cat on this cover looks more like a real cat, rather than the cat with the cartoony face we saw in the first Streaky appearance. Different artists, different styles. Famed Superman artist Curt Swan tended to draw Streaky realistically, while regular Supergirl artist Jim Mooney drew the cartoony version.

"Which Team is The Mightier?" (Hey, that's the way they capitalized it!) Good
question! Unfortunately, not one that was answered in this issue's Supergirl tale.

So. In the above sequence, Paul Dexter -- whoever the &$@# he was -- thought that simply putting a cape on something or someone would give it the ability to fly?!? I'll bet Paul ended up as one of those legendary kids who put a towel around his own neck and jumped off a freakin' roof!

Of course, lucky for Paul -- well, maybe not lucky for Paul so much as lucky for us readers -- he just happened to attach a cape to the one cat on the planet who'd actually had super powers in the past! As I asked y'all last time, what were the odds?!?

(I guess we'd have to ask Jerry Siegel, who wrote the first Streaky story and this one, too. Unfortunately, Superman's co-creator died in 1996.)

Didja catch that? Streaky just happens to be playing with a ball of twine, which just happens to roll to the exact spot where the previous story's X-Kryptonite is, and then the X-K just happens to get "entangled inside the twine." Uhhh... Excuse me? Inside?

And hey, in this story, at least, Streaky is definitely male. "As Streaky pounces on the twine... he detects the delightful odor..." etc. (Emphasis mine.)

Ahhh, the hell with it. I'm not even going to finish telling you the rest of that particular story. 

Almost a year later, DC once again lures kids into spending their hard-earned dime on a copy of Action Comics by promising "The Battle of the Super-Pets!"

Another cover drawn by the great Curt Swan, so Streaky looks relatively realistic again!

Inside the comic, though, the art chores once again fall into
Jim Mooney's capable hands, so we get the cartoony Streaky.

In yet another story written by Jerry Siegel, Supergirl praises Superman's dog, Krypto, and Streaky proves to be a jealous little shit. And as you just read, Supergirl can tell that the little fellow is broken-hearted. (Hey, I always know exactly what kinda mood my cat is in!)

Here's just some of the ensuing action from the contest between the supercat and the superdog.

I guess Jerry Siegel was running out of ways for Streaky to "accidentally" obtain a cape whenever he got his powers back, so Supergirl actually makes him one!

But... but... That doesn't tell us how he puts it on when he gets his powers, or how he gets it off when  he loses his powers, or where the cape is when he's not wearing it...

"I ain't just merely good" (emphasis mine)? What a bad role model for the little kiddies!

Well! DC was much too smart to piss off any of their devoted readers by having either Streaky or Krypto triumph, so the whole thing is disappointingly voted a draw.

Siegel did throw in a cute little kicker at the end of the story, though. Krypto and Streaky are grudgingly admitting that they like each other after all, and who should show up but...

Yep! There was a super-freakin'-monkey, too! Beppo was his name. And like Krypto, but unlike Streaky, Beppo was actually from Krypton. He'd stowed away in the rocket that brought Superman to Earth, y'see, and...

No. Really.

Streaky hung around the various titles in the "Superman Family" for a number of years. And during that time, he was mostly drawn by Curt Swan or Jim Mooney.

A fairly realistic drawing of Streaky. By now, you know that it was drawn by Curt Swan, right?

But here's the entire illustration from Action Comics #334. Doesn't that cat look kinda... big?

Actually, there were several instances where Streaky appeared rather large.

Here's yet another... And believe me, fellow babies, this isn't all!

Oh, if you're wondering who all those costumed teens are in that panel above, they're members of a team called the Legion of Super-Heroes. This team operates 1,000 years in the future, in the 30th century!

Eventually, Streaky, Krypto, Beppo, and Comet the Super-Horse all go to the 30th century and -- I swear! -- form a team called the Legion of Super-Pets!

Regardless of the existence of the Legion of Super-Pets, on one of Supergirl's visits to the 30th century, she meets a cat which she at first assumes to be Streaky. But he's not. As oh-so-conveniently explained on the cat's collar, he's Whizzy, a descendant of Streaky. Makes perfect sense, right? And fortunately for Supergirl, Whizzy can communicate with her, because one thousand years of evolution have given Streaky's descendants the power of telepathy... although apparently, no cats outside of Streaky's lineage have this ability, nor do any humans.

And let's not even ask how Whizzy has superpowers to begin with. Streaky's powers couldn't possibly be hereditary in nature, any more than a man whose leg gets chopped off will end up with one-legged children.

Anyhoo, in conclusion... All good things must come to an end, and in the early 1970s, DC decided to get just a tad more realistic, and introduced a storyline which had all Kryptonite on Earth changed to iron (a "permanent" decision that was later reversed). This enabled DC's editors to explain that their stories no longer featured a super cat because the chunk of X-Kryptonite became iron as well!

So, no more Streaky.


Supergirl had several of her own comic series over the years, and one of them, in the 1980s, gave Linda Danvers (Supergirl's secret identity) a non-powered cat named... well...

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Name Game (or, "There Oughtta Be a Law...") ~~ Reprinted from the "David'Z RantZ" Blog, 3/12/2009

(Here's a reprint from several years back, which I'm posting again because I've been too busy lately writing "Comical Wednesday" articles to do much of anything else!

Please keep in mind that this post was originally written in 2009, and I haven't edited anything, so there may be a topical reference or two that might not be too clear. If I had edited it, I could have spent hours just adding new names!)

*  *  *  *  *


Don't particularly like 'em. Don't particularly trust 'em.

Not in this country. Not in any country.

I mean, what the hell, a great percentage of them start out as lawyers, right? And what does that tell you?

However, having said that, I must add that while I ordinarily resent the intervention of the government (and by "the" government, I mean the government in this country and the government in everybody else's countries) in a great many instances, there is one law that needs to be passed as soon as possible, in virtually every country on the planet:

Celebrities Should No Longer Be Allowed to Name Their Own Children.

(And by "celebrities" I pretty much mean actors/actresses and musicians, and other so-called creative types.)

No, really. Look at the freakin' evidence. Just when we thought the worst "crime" Ashlee Simpson would ever be guilty of would be lyp-synching on Saturday Night Live or being an Owen Wilson lookalike, she names her baby "Bronx Mowgli Wentz."

Chris Rock says that a dad's number one duty is to keep his daughter "off the [stripper] pole." ("I mean they don’t grade fathers, but if your daughter is a stripper you f***ed up.”) No. Your primary job as a father -- and as a mother as well -- is to avoid purposely doing anything which will make your child's life rougher than it's gonna be anyway!

It pretty much started in the psychedelic sixties, and wasn't confined so much to famous people. I'm sure that, due to a bunch of over-eager nurses who were taking notes as hippie mothers-to-be were being wheeled into the delivery room, there are more than a few birth certificates proclaiming the arrival of "Ohwowiamsostonedman Johnson," or something similar.

And there are more than enough people out there who want their children to have unique names, although quite often, they achieve that uniqueness by taking a relatively normal name and changing a letter or two.

School Administrator: We'll be more than happy to enroll your daughter, Mrs. Smith. [staring at paperwork on desk] Umm... Three "Z's" and a "Q?" How do you pronounce that?

Mrs. Smith: "Ann."

But I digress.

The following is a list of names I cribbed from somewhere on the 'net. The original list was longer than what follows. I only used the names which 1) I think are kinda stupid or 2) names I have a comment or two about, after the list. Here goes:

Apple: Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Audio Science: Shannyn Sossamon
Aurelius Cy: Elle Macpherson and Arpad Busson
Blue Angel: U2's The Edge and Aislinn O'Sullivan
Bluebell Madonna: Geri Halliwell
Fifi Trixibell: Bob Geldof and Paula Yates (also parents to Peaches and Pixie)
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily: Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence
Hopper: Sean Penn and Robin Wright
Jazz Domino: Joe Strummer
Jermajesty: Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza (previously married to Jermaine's brother Randy)
Kal-El Coppola: Nicholas Cage (Kal-El is Superman’s original birth name)
Memphis Eve: Bono
Moon Unit: Frank Zappa, also father to Dweezil and Diva Muffin
Moxie CrimeFighter: Penn Jillette (also father to Zolten)
Pilot Inspektor: Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
Sage Moonblood: Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack (also parents to Seargeoh)
Satchel: Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

And my snide little notes?

"Apple" is usually the one people think of first when this subject comes up. However, looking at some of the others on the list... Apple doesn't sound so bad.

"Blue Angel" and "Memphis Eve" are the children of musicians who gave themselves weird names, too -- or did you think U2's guitarist is holding onto a birth certificate that actually says "The Edge?" -- so what the hell did you expect? Besides, in their own ways, I think both names are kinda pretty.

I have nothing against "unique" names. What I object to are the ones that are the equivalent of pinning a "Kick Me!" sign on the kids' backs as you send them off to school.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. "Jermajesty?" What the hell were they smoking? Cute play on words, but as an actual name? How about "Jerdadscareerisoverkid?"

"Moon Unit." Hello? Frank Zappa's kid? Again, what the hell did you expect? The man lived in his own universe, fer cryin' out loud. (And that's a compliment!) Slap "Zappa" onto the end of any outlandish name you want, and I, for one, will buy it. (" 'Anally-Probed-By-Aliens Zappa?' That works. Cool.")

"Satchel." Spike Lee named his daughter after the baseball pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige. Woody Allen named one of his kids "Satchel" as well... but his child was a boy. Maybe it's an unusual name, but when it's done as a tribute to someone who already had the name himself (even if it was a nickname), can you really fault it?

I skipped one in the alphabetical run-down in order to save the "best" for last: "Moxie CrimeFighter," Penn Jillette's daughter.

I really hope Penn Jillette and his "baby mama" -- I don't know if she's his wife, girlfriend, or what -- aren't the type of parents who use a child's full name when they admonish him or her in public.

One of the reasons I cherish my own mother is that she never did that to me. She stuck to the first name. If she'd screamed "David! Michael! Lynch!" every time I acted up when we were out somewhere, I know I'd hold a grudge, and probably a permanent spot on some therapist's couch.

And I'm one of the ones who likes his middle name.

Besides, what would you think if you heard some pony-tailed, beefy silo of a man screaming "Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette!" at the top of his lungs?

"Hello, 911? There's some lunatic in Walmart yelling about soft drinks, superheroes, and razor blades! I think you'd better send the police and/or an ambulance!"

Why do I feel so strongly that in twenty years or so, we're going to be hearing about a frightening number of oddly-named adults being arrested for physically abusing their parents?

Thanks for your time.

*  *  *  *  *

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!! And this part is BRAND NEW!

This past Friday, April 13th, was the ninetieth birthday of none other than author Herman Raucher, novelist and screenwriter, most notably the author of one of my all-time favorite novels (as well as a major influence on my own writing style), Summer of  '42.

Happy Birthday, Herman Raucher!

And again, thanks for your time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

That Darn Cat! (Part One of a Streaky Overview!) ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post!

The fifties and the sixties saw several super-powered animals introduced into the DC Comics universe. Super dogs, a super horse, a super mouse, a super monkey and several super-powered gorillas...!

But today I'm going to focus on a super cat.

Streaky the cat was so named (by none other than Supergirl, cuz he was her pet) because he had a streak in the shape of a lightning bolt on his side. Well, actually two streaks, one on each side. That was probably to make it easier for the artist. All he had to do was remember to draw a freakin' lightning bolt, no matter which side of the cat he was drawing. "Streaky" was not a very imaginative name, in my opinion, but then again, someone other than myself (probably my mom) named my first cat "Tippy" because the very tip of his tail was pure white. (I usually had more creative names for my pets. I even had a cat named "Shithead" in the early 1970s, a good three or four years before Steve Martin's dog Shithead in 1979's The Jerk.)

But I digress.

Streaky the supercat's first appearance was in the Supergirl feature in Action Comics #261, in a story entitled "Supergirl's Super Pet!"

Briefly: Supergirl, in her secret identity as Linda Lee, was living in an orphanage when she saw a stray cat and decided to keep him. As I mentioned above, she named him Streaky because of his lightning-bolt-shaped markings.

As it happened, Supergirl was experimenting with a small Kryptonite meteor, attempting to cure her vulnerability (as well as her cousin Superman's) to the mineral. When her goofy experiments didn't work, she discarded the tiny piece of green rock far from the orphanage.

Isn't it great that the orphanage has its own chemical laboratory?!?

Not far enough, it seems. Her cat found it while wandering around, and... ummm... it miraculously turned out that Supergirl's experiment had turned the Kryptonite into something new, which the story's writer (Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman) decided to call X-Kryptonite. And X-Kryptonite gave little Streaky super powers, just like those of Supergirl and Superman.

I have absolutely no idea why the powers the tiny meteor gave the cat were exactly the same as that of the super cousins. I mean, really! What were the odds of that?

Probably about as slim as the cat's banging into (and smashing) a Superman doll, after which the doll's cape all-too-conveniently attached itself to the cat's neck!

Also, I don't recall any other animal -- or any human -- ever getting powers from the X-Kryptonite in subsequent stories. Just the freakin' cat.

Anyway, fellow babies, Streaky had a series of little adventures in his initial outing. For example... 

I just love the wide-eyed, cartoony face artist Jim Mooney  gave Streaky!

...and Streaky even got to play with Supergirl for a while.

And don'tcha just hate it when people let their spools of heavy cable drift around in outer space?

Unfortunately, the effects of the X-Kryptonite wore off by the story's end.

That bottom caption spoke of later events because that panel
was from a reprinted version of the first Streaky story! Just sayin'.

And now for the good news: After all the lonnnng posts I subjected you to in the "They Might Be Giants!" series, I'm going to break off my little dissertation on the super-cat here, while the post's still relatively short (for me, anyway), and continue it next week.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

They Might Be Giants! (1967-1969: The Wrap-Up!) ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post!

Here it is, fellow babies: The final installment in this lengthy "They Might Be Giants" series. (Okay, okay, which one of you just yelled "Yay?")

Oh, and by the way, are any of you familiar with the 1971 film and/or the alternative rock band which share that same name? I'm assuming you are.

In Fantasy Masterpieces #7 (cover-dated February, 1967), Marvel began reprinting one Golden Age story each of the original Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, and Captain America per issue.

In late 1939 and in the early 1940s, Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was more of an anti-hero, fighting a one-man war against the "surface world." He fought the Human Torch a handful of times before finally deciding to help the "good guys" against the Nazis. One of those battles was reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes #1, as shown in my last postFantasy Masterpieces #8 reprinted another Torch/Subby clash, a 22-page epic!

Also mentioned last time was Fantastic Four Annual #4, which featured the return (and death!) of the original Human Torch. There was even a brief re-cap of the Torch's origin, shown below, as drawn by the ever-popular Jack Kirby:

By mid-1967, however, Marvel decided to reprint the initial outing of the Human Torch, from late 1939's Marvel Comics #1. And here 'tis, as touted on the cover of Fantasy Masterpieces #9!

And if you'd like to compare the above Kirby page to a page from the premiere Human Torch story, written and drawn by Carl Burgos (1916-1984), here ya go! However, this is not a page from Fantasy Masterpieces #9, it's actually a scan of page one of Marvel Comics #1!

The last issue of Fantasy Masterpieces that made an impression on me was the tenth issue. By then, I was very familiar with the fact that DC Comics had teamed up several of its superheroes in the '40s to form the Justice Society of America, but in 1967, I learned that Timely Comics had tried combining a handful of its heroes into a super-team with the unfortunate name of the All-Winners Squad!

The main reason that this team -- which only appeared twice during the Golden Age -- was called the All-Winners Squad was apparently because the group appeared in an ongoing Timely title called All Winners Comics. The first All-Winners Squad story, written by famed comic author and Batman co-creator Bill Finger, featured Captain America, his sidekick Bucky, the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, the Whizzer (a super-speedster like the Flash, who got his powers when his father injected him with mongoose blood), Miss America, and some kid in bathing trunks whom I assumed was a sidekick for the Sub-Mariner... at least, until I opened the comic.

The "kid in bathing trunks" was actually a younger version of the Human Torch, named Toro. Thus, obviously, Toro was the Torch's sidekick, regardless of the fact that he looked like a junior version of the Sub-Mariner on that damned cover! And why they named him Toro in the first place is beyond me, and why he wasn't in his flaming form on the cover of All Winners Squad #19 (reprinted on the cover of Fantasy Masterpieces #10) escapes me as well!

As it happened, the next issue of Fantasy Masterpieces reprinted Toro's first appearance... but I missed it. And with issue number twelve, Fantasy Masterpieces was renamed Marvel Super-Heroes, just like last year's 1966 one-shot. MSH became a title featuring a different "star" every month, and although it still contained reprints, too, the thrill was gone.

I was still reading and enjoying comics, but something was changing. I don't recall feeling the same level of excitement I'd felt during all of the last four or five years. Could it be that by 1967, I was already becoming jaded at the tender age of not-quite-eleven? (I didn't hit eleven until mid-November, y'see, so this 1956 birthday baby was actually ten years old throughout most of '67.)

Maybe it was the fact that so blasted many of the monthly Marvel titles -- and DC's, too, only not (yet) as much as Marvel's -- had storylines that continued endlessly. Or so it seemed to me, as a victim of the shitty spotty distribution of the newsstands, variety stores, and other odd vendors that carried comics in those days, long before the dawn of the comic shops we now take for granted.

Anyhoo, for whatever reason(s), the thrill of the "giants" was waning for me. 1968 only delivered two issues in DC's 80 Page Giant series that made a real impression on me.

The first was 80 Page Giant #43, or Batman #198, if you prefer. The comic contained a handful of fair-to-middlin' Batman stories featuring the Joker, Catwoman, and the Penguin (among others), but the book cover-featured a reprint of a story from 1948's Batman #47, "The Origin of the Batman!"

This may be rather hard to believe in modern times, when it seems like someone's retelling "The Legend of the Batman and How He Came to Be" every half hour or so, but while Superman's Kryptonian roots were a constant story point throughout most of the earlier years of the Silver Age, Batman's origin wasn't referred to often at all. I'm not sure why.

The only reason I knew of Batman's beginnings was that in 1966, not long after ABC's Batman TV show hit the airwaves, Signet Books released a collection called -- take a deep breath, here -- Batman, The Best of the Original Batman--the Caped Crusader's greatest adventures. And by the way, all of the upper-case and lower-case letters in that lengthy title were chosen by Signet, not by me.

This book reprinted a bunch of Batman stories in black & white, mostly tales from the 1950s. And one of those stories was the two-page version of Batman's origin that was originally shown in 1940's Batman #1.

But the 1948 classic, "The Origin of the Batman," gave a slightly expanded version of how Bruce Wayne became Batman, and how years later, he actually caught up with the robber who killed his parents! Pretty cool stuff.

Only a couple of months later, 80 Page Giant #45 (or Action Comics #360) gave us a Supergirl-themed issue which had a cover made to look like a board game! Basically, the giant told how little old orphaned Supergirl finally was able to "prove" to her arrogant super-cousin that she didn't need further training, she no longer had to keep her very existence secret from the world, and that she, in her secret identity as "Linda Lee," no longer had to thwart the efforts of any couples who wanted to adopt her!

Yeah, that last one was a rather cruel stipulation of Superman's. Until he could declare her "good enough" to operate in the open as Supergirl, she couldn't even be trusted to live with adoptive parents. She was forced by "cousin Superman" to stay an orphan. What a mean thing to do to a teenage girl!

Most of Supergirl's solo adventures were drawn by the talented Jim Mooney (1919-2008). A self-portrait of Jim -- with Streaky the super-cat perched on his shoulder -- immediately follows this paragraph.

And speaking of Streaky, fellow babies, I should probably point out that during this series (and occasionally in other Comical Wednesday posts as well), I refer to characters such as Streaky, Comet the super-horse, Ace the Bat-Hound, Bat-Mite, Beppo the super-monkey and the like as being relics of the Silver Age that have never seen the light of day since. Well, here's a disclaimer: The existence of these characters has in relatively recent years been referenced here and there. Some new stories featuring these characters have been crafted, dealing with the characters' "reality" in different ways. But in terms of my childhood, these characters' "lives" ended for me years ago!

I threw that in here primarily because I couldn't think of a better place to put it. Heh.

1969 was worse. First of all, in the middle of the year, the price of the standard, thirty-two page comic book went from twelve cents all the way to fifteen cents! Three cents more! What, did these greedy buzzards think I was made of money?!?

The very last eighty-pager that gave me that old feeling was Batman #213. All sorts of origin stories. The origin of the Silver Age Clay-Face (using a name "borrowed" from a Golden Age Batman villain), the first appearance of Alfred the butler, an all-new retelling of Robin's full origin, and a 1951 story about a villain called the Red Hood, which -- SPOILER WARNING! -- actually ended up being the origin of the Joker!

Yep. One giant-sized comic of note that year. By the end of 1969, believe it or not, I'd turned my back on most of the comic books and characters that I'd once slavishly followed. But continued stories (and missed issues), plus that outrageous three-cent price hike, had soured me somewhat on the medium. For a relatively long while (i.e., two or three years, or even four), the only title I seemed to be buying on a regular basis was Marvel's Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos!

Maybe someday, folks, I'll tell you about when and why I got back into reading comics en masse again.

But if I do, it won't be for a lonnnng while now.

Thus, the mighty saga dramatically (and oh-so-pompously) entitled "They Might Be Giants!" ends, "not with a bang, but a whimper."*

Thanks for your time.

*With apologies to T.S. Eliot!
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