Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Pome #4: "I Love You. Good-Bye." (Reprinted from 5/6/2009, Edited Where Necessary)

I started writing as a little child.

Poems and songs sprang from my developing imagination at, roughly, age eight and beyond. I did a lot of songwriting and poetry-writing between 1974 (when I was 17, 18) and 1982. Most of these songs and poems were only shared with my closest friends. Some of the songs were introduced to small segments of the world via a handful of bands I fronted in the very late 1970s and early 1980s.

Speaking objectively after several days of re-reading my old shit stuff, I can honestly say that I think that some of the songs and poems I wrote were pretty good. A few -- like the Morrisonesque poems I wrote circa 1981 -- really stank. Most fell somewhere in between.

And now, today's poem gets one of my typically wordy introductions.

I'm not exactly sure when this poem was originally written. Sometime in the early 1990s, IIRC. I was working as one of three overnight bakers in a supermarket chain. The store I was stationed at was, at that time, open twenty-four hours a day.

One morning, well after midnight but long before dawn, I was in the far corner of the bakery frying doughnuts when one of the other bakers walked up to me and said something to the effect of "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?" I replied.

"A woman just asked me to write on a cake for her."


"She had me write 'I love you, but good-bye' on it!" I immediately thought of three or four reasons why someone would want to express that sentiment to someone else -- most involving cheating lovers with guilty consciences -- but couldn't get over the idea of having those sentiments put on a cake! "Wow," I told him, "If someone gave me a cake with that written on it, I'd either throw it out onto the lawn, or right at her!" He agreed with me.

But naturally, I walked away thinking, "There just has to be a song or a poem I can get out of that!"

And there was, of course. So here it is.

* * * * *

I Love You. Good-Bye.

I woke last night, and washed my face, and roughly rubbed it dry.
The towel held your perfume's trace. It nearly made me cry.
I went back to the cold, cold bed that seemed so warm before,
And fought the tears and creeping dread till you walked in that door.

Neither of us had to speak. We both knew where you'd been.
You do this three, four times a week and then come sneaking in.
I'd like to play your games, your way, and beat you at this race,
But when I try, I just can't stay. The girls all have your face.

You won't see me cry.
You won't see me cry.
I love you.

I guess there's nothing I can do to keep you true to me.
It must be me; it can't be you. I wish that I could see
A way to change your life, and mine, just like a fairy tale,
And leave this rotten life behind. But if I tried, I'd fail.

You care enough to still come home, yet let me die by inches.
Your love's the cruellest thing I own. It pulls, it cuts, it pinches.
There's nothing here I care to pack, so next time you go cheating,
I'll leave for good ere you come back, to save me one more beating.

You won't see me cry.
You won't see me cry.
I love you.

* * * * * 

See? This is why I stopped writing poems and songs over ten years ago (with rare exceptions). My regular stuff is depressing enough, but the poems and songs were worse!

Starting next Wednesday... Back to normal, whatever the hell that means. OR... would you like to see more "pomes," at least for a few more posts?

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ HEY, FELLOW BABIES! There's a brand-new glitch in Blogger which dozens of Blogger-bloggers have complained about in Google's HELP Forum. When someone leaves a comment, the blog's author no longer receives an email informing them that someone has commented. There are multiple threads in the Blogger Help Forum, but only ONE answer from an actual Google person... and what she suggested didn't work. Hopefully it'll be straightened out soon. Several Blogger-bloggers are threatening to move to WordPress.  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pome #3: "I've Never Known" (Reprinted from 8/24/12, Edited Where Necessary)

Hey, fellow babies! Here's something really different for Yours Truly! It's a straightforward love poem -- although some have said that it reads more like a song -- that I wrote quite a while back. Yeah. Me. A love poem. Call the Believe It or Not! people.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ HEY, FELLOW BABIES! There's a brand-new glitch in Blogger which dozens of Blogger-bloggers have complained about in Google's HELP Forum. When someone leaves a comment, the blog's author no longer receives an email informing them that someone has commented. There are multiple threads in the Blogger Help Forum, but only ONE answer from an actual Google person... and what she suggested didn't work. Hopefully it'll be straightened out soon. Several Blogger-bloggers are threatening to move to WordPress. 

*  *  *  *  *

I've Never Known...

I have loved several times in my lifetime,
But I never have found lasting bliss.
But this time, I do think, is the right time,
For I've never known love quite like this.

I just cannot escape what I'm feeling,
And I think about you all day long,
But the thoughts are all very appealing,
And I've never known love quite so strong.

In the night, with my thoughts of you, dearest,
Hey, who knows, I might grin in my sleep!
You're the person I want to have nearest,
For I've never known love quite so deep!

It is almost a kind of addiction.
I will stay with you. Oh, yes, I'm sure!
Or I wouldn't dare make that prediction.
Girl, I've never known love quite so pure.

I'll admit I've been goo goo and sappy,
But I swear that the way that I feel
Makes me babble because I'm so happy!
And I've never known love quite so real.

All your traits are incomparable, baby.
Yes, you're talented, clever, and kind.
You just dazzle me, and there's no "maybe!"
Dear, I've never known love quite so fine.

I had never expected to find you,
This love hit me from out of the blue,
May your love for me forever bind you.
I've just never known love quite so true.

Oh, my heart and my soul are on fire.
There's no holding it back; out it pours
As the fever burns higher and higher.
I have never known love quite like yours.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Pome #2: "A Summer's End" (Reprinted from 5/30/2009, Edited Where Necessary)

I decided to resurrect another forty-year-old poem entitled "A Summer's End." Something decidedly different for me, even then... 

The story takes place on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and a summer thunderstorm begins and increases in intensity, mirroring my characters' conversation.

Thanks for your time.

* * * * *

A Summer's End

A summer's day, so fine and fair,
Brought summer's eve, so warm.
The moon was shining through her hair.
No hint of coming storm.

The day'd been spent eventfully.
New vistas had been sought.
I showed her what she meant to me
And spoke my inner thoughts.

She told me "I've found peace with you.
You mellow out my life."
I answered "Dear, I've thought things through.
I want you as my wife."

She smiled but firmly shook her head,
Which puzzled me a lot,
Until she softly, gently said,
"Let's not ruin what we've got."

The summer moon its dom'nance took
And siphoned off the day.
She climbed the rocky overlook
To view the ocean spray.

On this high cliff she took my hand.
The sea raged far below.
She begged "Please, darling, understand.
I care for you, you know!

"It's just that marriage is passé,
An out-of-date-ideal."
Light rain began, and all I said
Was "No, it's not. It's real."

"You wonderful romanticist,"
She cooed, to keep things light.
But I could not adjust to this.
I knew that I was right.

The summer rain beat harder now;
The ocean sprayed its foam.
I kept the argument alive,
Refused to take her home...

"It's not how I would live," she said.
I said "I'll ask again..."
"You're asking something I can't give!"
"Don't say you can't. You can."

She searched for words, then found the sea.
"Dear, watch the waves withdraw.
They love to touch the shore, like me,
But freedom is their law.

"They need not stay upon the sand
To smooth it free from scars."
I shrugged those words off. "Take my hand!
What's mine may yet be ours."

The summer storm, a tempest spread,
Almost drowned out her plea.
"You haven't heard a word I've said!
How stubborn can you be?"

The storm's force ruled my actions then,
Heart pounding like the waves.
With sorrow for what might have been,
I knew no hope was saved.

I turned and left her, boldly.
Shocked, she never said a word
As I strode away so coldly.
Rain and surf were all I heard.

But swift remorse came; back I looked,
To straighten out this mess...

But she had jumped.

Her life she took.

She did love me...

I guess.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pome #1: "Don't Let Me Love You on the Rebound" (Reprinted from 5/3/2009, Edited Where Necessary)

I'm trying something different for a few days, fellow babies!

Today's post, and the three that follow, will all be poems or songs which I wrote up to
forty years ago, but were published on this blog between 2009 and 2012.

So, no "Comical Wednesday" entries for a bit.

Here's the first in a rapid-fire series of old poems and/or songs, all but one written when the Silver Fox's hair was still light brown.

The following song is one of my personal favorites, primarily because of the wordplay. I really wish you could hear the tune I gave it! It's a bouncy, upbeat, banjoey C&W kinda thing, something I wish I could have sold to someone like Jerry Reed.

Oh, just one more thing. My Uncle Eddie used to purposely spell "poem" incorrectly, as "pome." I got most of my sense of humor from him, so I'm commemorating that with these four posts!

* * * * *

Don't Let Me Love You on the Rebound (originally written 10/19/1978)

When people start to treat me hard, I just grow harder,
And their cold shoulders just make me more cold.
I need companionship before my troubled life ends.
Oh, Lord, I guess I'm really gettin' old.
I'm also gettin' kinda sick o'losin' lovers.
So many women put me on the shelf,
And told me they were kinda sick o'lovin' losers.
So here I'm feelin' sorry for myself.

Don't let me love you on the rebound,
For it might up'n'fade away.
This lover's fog I'm in might vanish
Before the cleansin' light o'day.
Oh, yes, I'll love you on the rebound,
When it's too late for you, you'll finally see,
And you are much too sweet'n'sensitive a lady
To be sufferin' for love o'scum like me!

My life has been a downhill trip to darkest Hades,
An' lots o'people say it's just as well,
Cuz I ain't never gonna get to Heaven, darlin',
So here on Earth, I'll just prepare fer Hell.
My friends are special cuz they truly can accept me,
But you, m'dear, see somethin' thet I'm not.
You see good in one who's somewhat less than Satan,
But acts if he's somethin' more than God.

Don't let me love you on the rebound,
For it might up'n'fade away.
This lover's fog I'm in might vanish
Before the cleansin' light o'day.
Oh, yes, I'll love you on the rebound,
When it's too late for you, you'll finally see,
And you are much too sweet'n'sensitive a lady
To be sufferin' for love o'scum like me!

Yes, you are much too sweet'n'sensitive a lady
To be sufferin' for love o'scum like me!

* * * * *

Hey, it could be worse... I could be showing you some of the things I wrote when I was going through a heavy "Jim Morrison phase" in the early 1980s. Very derivative of Morrison's type of poetry... and the worst shit I ever wrote. But it left me with a very important lesson: Don't copy anyone's style unless it's for the sake of parody.

See you next time.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

We're Off to See the Whizzer! ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

Uhhh... "Fastest Man Alive?" Don't tell The Flash that!

Don't be fooled, fellow babies! This is not Part Two of last week's "WHAT Were They THINKING?" post, because today's post is devoted to only one character.

One... ludicrous... embarrassing... character.

A few weeks ago, in another "Comical Wednesday" post, I told you about a 1960s comic -- Fantasy Masterpieces #10, if you care -- which reprinted a story from 1946 featuring the awkwardly-named "All-Winners Squad."

And speaking of "awkwardly-named," maybe you remember the superheroes (and one superheroine) from that fabled team? Captain America & Bucky, the (original) Human Torch & Toro, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, Miss America, and... errr... the Whizzer.



The Whizzer (real name, Robert Frank) first appeared in U.S.A. Comics #1, cover-dated August, 1941. U.S.A. Comics was published by Timely Comics, the company that became Marvel Comics in the early 1960s. The Whizzer's first artist (and presumably co-creator) was Al Avison, a stalwart Timely penciler and inker who worked on Captain America and many other features during the Golden Age. The writer/co-creator is unknown, and if I were he, I'd want it that way!

The Whizzer not only had an... ummm... unfortunate name, he also had one of the most idiotic superheroic origins in the history of comics... and that's saying a lot!

As the story opens, young Bob Frank is in the African jungle with his dad, famed doctor Emil Frank. Poor Bob is bitten by a cobra! Then, out of nowhere, a mongoose appears. As you're probably already aware, a mongoose is an incredibly fast animal, and this one fights the deadly snake to the death. The cobra's death, I should point out, although the valiant mongoose soon dies as well from injuries received during the battle.

A little aside, here: On my way to Florida in 1973, I saw a stuffed cobra and mongoose combo very similar to the above illustration... but they wanted $75 for the sucker, so it was clearly out of the realm of an "impulse item" for sixteen-year-old, not-yet-Silver Fox! Almost thirty years later, when I discovered eBay, I found another one for sale, coincidentally priced at $75, which was a lot less in terms of 1973 dollars versus 2000 dollars! Naturally, it now resides in my private collection!

Anyway, as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, here's where it gets weird. Emil Frank, supposedly a respected doctor, decides to inject some of the blood of the mongoose into his dying son! But of course! Wouldn't you?

(Yeah, Bob, you're a whizzer, all right!)

Don'tcha love how the transfusion of mongoose blood both saved Bob's life and gave him super-speed? And his dad knew all of that beforehand?

(Actually, in the modern-age Marvel Comics, the Whizzer's origin was amended slightly. It seems that the injection of mongoose blood actually jump-started Bob Frank's latent mutant super-speed powers. Uh-huh. I guess Dr. Frank had anticipated that, too, right? I guess the good doctor really was a freakin' genius!)

Anyway... The Whizzer only lasted a few years during the 1940s, but during that time he appeared in several different Timely Comics titles. And during all this time, it seems that no one at Timely cared very much about giving him a consistent appearance. I'm going to show you only some of the costume variations I found! You can feel free to glance very quickly at the next seven illustrations!

Yellow helmet with wings and a freakin' bird head, no mask,
yellow long-sleeved shirt, blue pants, blue boots, no cape.

Yellow headpiece with a "fin," no mask, yellow short-sleeved shirt, no
gloves, oddly-cut blue shorts, yellow leggings, blue boots, blue cape.

Red helmet with wings and a freakin' bird head, no mask, yellow long-sleeved
shirt, no gloves(?), blue shorts, yellow leggings, red boots, no cape.

Yellow headpiece with a "fin," no mask, yellow short-sleeved shirt, no
gloves, oddly-cut blue shorts, yellow leggings, blue boots, blue cape.

Yellow helmet with a "fin," half-mask, yellow short-sleeved shirt,
blue gloves, blue shorts, yellow leggings, blue boots, blue cape.

Yellow helmet with wings and a freakin' bird head, no mask, yellow
long-sleeved shirt, no gloves, yellow pants, blue boots, no cape.

Yellow headpiece with a "fin," no mask, yellow short-sleeved shirt,
brown gloves, oddly-cut blue shorts, yellow leggings, boots(?), blue cape.

Had enough? I have!

To me, it's a rather comforting feeling that, even in the 1940s, the folks at Timely knew they were dealing with a dorky character:

That embarrassingly stereotypical African-American is the Whizzer's 1940s sidekick, "Slow-Motion" Jones. There were
many characters like him in comics, movies, and other "entertainment" of the era. The less said about him, the better.

And modern-day Marvel creators know it, too!

Really dignified, huh?

For reasons known only to Roy Thomas, the Whizzer was revived in the 1970s, both in new stories set in the 1940s, and in some Avengers-related stories which took place in then-modern times. It was retroactively established that the Whizzer had been a member of two other 1940s super-teams, the Invaders and the Liberty Legion, two teams that hadn't really existed in the comics of the Golden Age! 

At one point -- when the Liberty Legion team first appeared in 1976 -- they even re-told the Whizzer's origin, but Roy Thomas couldn't resist making a mild wisecrack at the end of it.

There was a long-running -- no pun intended -- sub-plot which had everyone thinking that the Whizzer and Miss America were the real parents of Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (that's Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to you). However, this supposition on the part of all characters involved ended in the 1980s, when it was revealed that Wanda and Pietro were really the children of Magneto and a woman named Magda! (Of course, comics being comics, later writers established that neither Bob Frank nor Magneto had fathered the twins. And why don't I just change the subject now, okay?)

Additionally, I should mention that there have been a few different characters since the 1960s -- both superheroes and super-villains* --who have taken the name "Whizzer." (Although I'm not sure why...)

But as for Bob Frank, the original?

After a series of heart attacks... he died in 1982.

And, even though these are comic books, I doubt there are any plans to bring him back.

Thanks for your time.

*Including a villain who later changed his name to Speed Demon, and can you blame him?

Saturday, May 12, 2018


This is a PG-rated post about an X-rated subject. So trust me, it's completely "safe" to read even if you're easily offended.

Once again, I'm asking for your help!

Long before the advent of the internet, I was informally known among friends and acquaintances as "The Man Who Can Find Things."

Looking for an LP no record shop seems to carry? (No eBay back then!) Go see David!

Looking for the name of that uncredited actor in that movie you saw on TV last night? (No IMDb back then.) Go see David!

Looking for that out-of-print book that none of the second-hand bookstores carry? (Again, no eBay back then.) Go see David!

Looking for the name of the group that recorded "that" song? (No Wikipedia back then.) Go see David!

Well! One afternoon just a few days ago, a friend of mine sent an email to me. This email, with "For The Man who can Find things" [sic] in the subject line, contained a link -- and nothing else -- to a website with a brief but... umm...  attention-grabbing video.

Actually, it was a porn video.

Now, I'm not very judgmental, nor easily offended, so my only real issue with most porn is that anything other than basic sex scenes usually suffer from sloppy writing, poor acting (especially when they ad-lib!), etc.  But I couldn't understand why my friend had sent me the link to a porn site.

The video was a six-minute sequence of a man and a young woman engaging in various sex acts. There was no dialogue, nor any sound effects, only some striking background music. I say "striking" because it was a wordless song I'd never heard before, a very simple but somewhat pleasing, melodic tune which somehow colored my impression of the film I was watching. For lack of a better way to put it, the combination of the music and the visuals made me feel less like I was watching two people having sex, and more like I was viewing two people making love.

As the video ended, I again wondered why my friend had sent this link to me. So, using his email's title as a clue, I decided that my friend wanted to know who the actress was.

I'll spare you the details, but before very long, I had used a few different methods to ascertain that this very skinny young woman performs under the name of Kitana A. Demida (shown in G-rated poses both above and below), as well as a handful of other aliases (which is quite common with porn actresses and actors). She's Russian. And yes, she does look uncomfortably young, but as of this writing, she turned twenty-seven exactly a week ago.

I replied to his email that very evening, with all the information you just read, plus a bit more, plus some links to even more info. And my friend replied by saying "NO, dipshit, I want to know the name of the SONG in the video, and who does it!"

So, fellow babies, here's the "quandary" mentioned in today's title: Do any of you have any idea how I can learn the name of the song played in the video? With no lyrics, even my somewhat knowledgeable ear can't recognize a singer's voice. Furthermore, I can't search YouTube without knowing the song's title, and -- duh! -- if I knew the title, I wouldn't have to search YouTube. And obviously, I'm not going to include a link to the adult video site and ask you to go there, nor will I attempt to download the video itself and embed it on my blog.

And in case you're about to suggest that I search the viewers' comments that some of these adult sites include after their videos... I already tried that several days ago.

Any help -- including any suggestions as to how I could place the audio but not the video on my blog --would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your time... and any help you can give me!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

WHAT Were They THINKING?!? ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

A little less than five years ago, I did a two-part "Comical Wednesday" post about what I called "Unfortunate Comics." Here are the links for Part One and Part Two! And even before that, I did a CW post called "Nobody's Perfect!" I had fun writing them, my readers had fun reading them, and frankly, I'd recommend them all.

These three posts, as well as today's, show some of the weirder aspects of comic history, "weird" meaning strange and... ill-advised?

1) First, let's focus on one of the earliest members of Iron Man's supporting cast, Pepper Potts. And no, I don't mean the one featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. I'm referring to the one in the actual comics. Both Pepper Potts and Tony Stark's chauffeur/bodyguard, Happy Hogan, were introduced in Tales of Suspense #45, cover-dated September 1963.

As mentioned here, my first issue of Tales of Suspense was issue #53. (I was eventually lucky enough to get my friend Kevin's copy of Tales of Suspense #45 soon after I learned about Iron Man.) By then, little Pepper looked like this:

The dramatic change in Pepper's appearance was explained at the bottom of that pin-up page. For those of you who don't want to squint, here's what it says:

When first introduced in "Tales of Suspense" Pepper had been a perky, pug-nosed, freckle-faced imp! But, after she realized how Tony Stark feels about glamorous females... Pepper went to her beauty parlor and "shot the works!" Today she's one of [the] most gorgeous females in comics... or anywhere else!

Yeah, well, I personally don't think Tony (Iron Man) Stark deserved li'l Pepper. Look at the crappy way he treated her in the following sequence, which occurred before her famous make-over!

Yeah, I'm sure Tony lost a lot of sleep over that stunt, ya think?

What an effin' jerk, huh?

2) Next, fellow babies, we're gonna leave the mid-1960s and head for 1951 (well, figuratively speaking, anyway). Specifically, Superman #73, cover-dated November-December, 1951.

We all know how, as a baby, the infant Kal-El was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent when his Kryptonian rocket crashed in a field. They wanted to keep him, but couldn't just start showing up everywhere with a baby, so they dropped him off at an orphanage, and "just happened" to find and adopt him shortly thereafter. Well, Superman #73 contains a story called "The Mighty Mite!" This story shows Superbaby being adopted by three different couples (IIRC) before the Kents, all of whom brought him back to the orphanage when various manifestations of his developing super-abilities occurred.

For my younger readers, I should probably point out that 'way back then, it was not only considered proper upbringing to slap the s**t out of your own children, but it was also perfectly acceptable to spank other people's kids if the little brats acted up!

However, such forms of discipline didn't always yield the expected results, not when it came to spanking a baby who would grow up to be called the "Man of Steel!"

3) Oh, by the way, there was a common "bit" in the older Superman titles where people would try to cut Superman's hair for one crazy reason or another. Here are only three examples:

The same thing happened every time. His invulnerable hair refused to be cut, and the scissors always broke!

Oh, really? You try cutting something, something like a strip or rod of metal, something you know can't be cut. But, do the scissors break? Of course not. The "cutter" in these instances would have to be just as super-powered as the "cuttee" in order to break the freakin' scissors!

4) Next, we'll go back to Marvel Comics for something totally different. In 1976, Weird Wonder Tales #19 introduced Dr. Druid... kinda. His origin story was somewhat similar to that of Dr. Strange. During the next few years, he started showing up in various comics published by Marvel.

I said "kinda" above because, as it turned out, Dr. Druid's stories in Weird Wonder Tales were actually reprints from the early '60s. How early? Earlier than Fantastic Four #1!

Dr. Druid was originally called Dr. Droom. He presumably underwent that 1976 name change to avoid confusion with Marvel's Doctor Doom. But they had to change a lot more about the good doctor, as you'll see.

Y'know, with all the necessary redrawing, re-lettering, and the like, I find it hard to believe that Marvel actually saved money by reprinting these stories instead of just commissioning brand-new stories featuring Dr. Druid, or even some other character. Just sayin'.

But why did they have to change so much, you may wonder. After all, ten years earlier, when Marvel had reprinted the old Simon & Kirby Captain America stories from the '40s, they didn't have to change much more than a few intense illustrations and a piece of dialog here and there, remember?

Well... Let me just present this brief sequence from the revamped origin of Dr. Droom Druid: 

Now, check out the original version of that above panel!

Wow! When the doctor acquired his mystic powers, he also turned Asian! Not too racist, huh? I'm really amazed that Stan Lee would have written such a thing as late as 1961. 1931, maybe...!

5) Almost done, I promise! This next little ITEM has nothing to do with comic books, so I probably shouldn't be talking about it here at all, but...

(Oh, wait. I actually got my copy of this LP at a comic book shop, so I guess I can get away with squeezing it in here!)

As I stated above, I actually own a copy, and its official name is "Country Surfin'," isn't that great? That's right, your favorite group and mine, Little Joe Shaver and Devil Dog, playing nothing but Beach Boys cover tunes, country style! Folks, I can't make this shit stuff up!

Believe me, you haven't lived until you've heard "I Get Around" played with banjos! 

"Let's go down to Nashville and catch a few waves, dude!"

6) Okay, last one, I promise! Here's a mid-1960s Supergirl tale -- sorry, no Streaky this time -- where Linda "Supergirl" Danvers plays the helpless female routine so her boyfriend, Dick Malverne, doesn't suspect she's Supergirl!

Yep, "just an ordinary member of the weaker sex." Shame on you, Supergirl!

And of course, her boyfriend eats it right up. "There, there! Don't be afraid, Linda! It's only a movie, you know!"

Well... Why do you think they called him "Dick?"

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

My New Toy!

I call it "my new toy," but since "toy" implies that I'll be playing with it rather than just displaying it in my home, "toy" isn't really accurate. Nor is the term "new" really fitting, because it may be new to me, but the thing's even older than I am. In fact, it dates to the late 1940s, and definitely no later than 1948.

Oh, well, at least the "my" part is appropriate.

So, what is it? It's just the coolest television set I've ever owned.

The above two photos, taken in the seller's flea market booth, are a bit blurry. That's a combination of the crappy camera on my cell phone and my shaky hands. I placed an antique box of gelatin mix on top to give you an idea of the TV's size. The picture screen isn't much bigger than a videotape! (And speaking of the picture screen, if it looks like there's a bunch of junk inside, that's just a reflection of the stuff in the seller's flea market booth!)

This thing is so early, the actual brand name on it is "FADA Radio," although this, obviously, is not a radio!

But what's really cool about it is... well... When was the last time you saw a TV with channel one on its dial? That's right, this set has channels one through thirteen! The FCC took channel one away from TV broadcasters in 1948, but there were so many channels already in existence with higher numbers, it wasn't worth dropping them all down one digit, which is why old televisions usually have channels two to thirteen. However, the ad reproduced above mentions "full 12 channel coverage"  (emphasis mine) meaning my TV pre-dates the ad.

(And why does the preceding paragraph make me think of the "These [amplifiers] go to eleven" routine in the 1984 mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap?)

Admittedly, the set doesn't work -- not that I care -- but I was advised by an expert on antique electronics not to plug in old TVs and radios anyway, because doing so may actually harm the appliance.

Just for ha-has, I did some research on eBay. The one shown below doesn't work either, and its cabinet is in fairly rough shape. Nevertheless, the seller was asking $200 for it. Note that part of the channel selector -- that's the dial in the lower right-hand corner -- is cracked off, too.

The next one shown is in much better shape (cosmetically speaking) than the previous one shown, but only a tad better-looking than mine... and it doesn't actually work, either. The asking price for this one was $599.

Furthermore, in all fairness, I should point out that neither one of these televisions sold for their minimum bid price. So as far as how accurate those asking prices were, who knows?

But needless to say, I think the $100 I paid for mine was well worth it, don't you?

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Frank ALMOST Ruined Frank ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

This is hopefully going to be one of those light-on-text, heavy-on-images posts. Let's see how I do this time, shall we?

Sometime circa 1973, Marvel Comics writer Gerry Conway decided to base a comic character on Mack Bolan, the Executioner, who was the star of a series of paperback novels by Don Pendleton. In his earliest stories, the Executioner, a Vietnam vet, was fighting a one-man war on organized crime.

At first, Conway et al. weren't sure what to name this new character, which explains the names written on this concept sketch by artist John Romita, Sr.

(Did you notice that cartridge belt -- or technically, bandolier -- the one that forms the "teeth" of the character's chest logo? Remember that, please. It'll be mentioned again later, I promise!)

One name they considered was the "Assassin." Stan Lee didn't think that the readers would warm up to a hero (even an anti-hero) called the Assassin, so he suggested the Punisher, a name previously used for a half-robot alien who first appeared in 1966's Fantastic Four #49.

Writer Gerry Conway, artist John Romita Sr., and artist Ross Andru are credited with creating the new Punisher, a/k/a Frank Castle (né Castiglione), who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #129, cover-dated February, 1974. The Punisher, although ostensibly on the side of the good guys, actually killed people. Bad people, yes, but going so far to actually kill villains and criminals just wasn't done then. Hell, even Wolverine hadn't been introduced yet!

Above is the first look comic readers got of the Punisher, as drawn by penciller Gil Kane and inked by John Romita Sr.  Notice, if you will, that Kane has drawn the cartridge belt so it holds two rows of bullets, and the double row of white cartridge holders again serves as the chest logo's "teeth." This look became indelibly etched in my mind as the "proper" look for the Punisher.

In fact, so impressed was I by that double row of cartridge holders, I didn't even notice that the story's interior art by Ross Andru featured the one-row version that Romita had drawn in his original design sketch.

Andru drew the Punisher the same way -- one row of bullets or "teeth" --when the Punisher and Spider-Man met for the second time, in The Amazing Spider-Man #134-135.

Over the next few years, the Punisher appeared more and more often as the black-clad homicidal maniac gained in popularity. Sometimes his cartridge belt consisted of one row, sometimes two. Yours Truly probably was and is the only one who gives a damn. Can't help it. People have two rows of teeth. (Well, most people.) The Punisher should have two freakin' rows of bullets!

June, 1975. Two rows of teeth in this cover illustration by Gray Morrow!

Eventually, Captain America #241 (cover-dated January, 1980) arrived on the shelves. The cover was penciled by a relative newcomer to comics, Frank Miller, and inked by Bob McLeod. Please note, Miller drew the Punisher's costume in the style I narrow-mindedly and stubbornly call the "correct" style.

This "correct" version also appeared inside the book, drawn by Frank Springer (breakdowns) and Pablo Marcos (finished art, and inks).

In 1981, Frank Miller again drew the Punisher for both the cover and the interior of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15. Miller was inked by Klaus Janson.

But check out that suit! Did the Punisher's skull logo suddenly develop buck teeth?

And the interior art? Same way! Hence today's title, "How Frank [Miller] ALMOST Ruined Frank [Castle]."

Why, oh why, did Frank Miller make this odd adjustment in the Punisher's costume?

By the way, fellow babies, Greg Laroque and Frank Giacoia, who did that very same issue's feature, "A Gallery of Spider-Man's Most Famous Foes!" got the outfit right. 

But Frank Miller? Not always. Yet in 1982's Daredevil #183 and 184, Frank Miller once again got to try his hand at drawing Frank Castle, and he did not give the Punisher those new, screwy duds.

And here's a later page from the same two-parter:

Unfortunately, by that point, the damage had already been done.

When Marvel Comics released The Punisher #1, a 1986 mini-series, Frank Castle was decked out in the "goofy suit." Actually, this version -- what I ended up calling the "stovepipe suit" -- was even worse!

How the hell does he bend over, or sit?!?

Oh, by the way... The Punisher mini-series was originally planned to be a five-issue series, but the cover of issue #1 said it was a four-part series. The cover of #2 said it was a five-part series, #3 followed up with a cover proclaiming it as a four-parter, and #4 said it was a four-parter as well! "Well, which is it?!?" wondered most of us in comics fandom. Our question was answered when #5 came out, and of course, this time it said "#5 in a Five-Issue Limited Series!"

But don'tcha think it would have been a lot funnier if they'd called that final issue "#5 in a Four-Issue Limited Series"?

In record time, the Punisher became one of Marvel's most popular characters, spinning off, like, forty-seven freakin' titles featuring Frank Castle! There was The Punisher (an ongoing series which debuted a year after the mini-series), Punisher War Journal, Punisher War Zone... By the early 1990s, he was as popular as Wolverine and the 1990s version of the Ghost Rider. In fact, Marvel released two one-shots in the '90s that featured the Punisher, Ghost Rider, AND Wolverine!

It got worse. In 1994, Archie Comics released Archie Meets the Punisher #1-and-only...

And Marvel released The Punisher Meets Archie #1-and-only!

As it turned out, both titles were actually the same damned book, published simultaneously by Archie Comics and Marvel Comics, only with different covers, covers that featured each company's own character's name first.

But you want to know something surprising? The story really wasn't bad!

Over the years, the Punisher has gone through all sorts of craziness, much of which I'm unaware of... at least since the '90s.

At one point, Frank acted as his own version of Captain America...

And there was even a time when the Punisher actually died (But this is comics, so he got better later!) and was resurrected as (I swear!) Franken-Castle!!!

There have been three Punisher movies, with different actors as Frank: The Punisher (1989), The Punisher (2004), and Punisher: War Zone (2008).

And if you're wondering why Dolph Lundgren's version of the Punisher didn't have the skull logo at all, I've read that the producers of the film didn't want the character to look like something out of a comic book!

Well, duhhh, where did you get the freakin' idea in the first place, geniuses?!?

"Hey, let's make a Batman movie, but without that silly Bat-suit, and a Superman movie, but without that stupid blue outfit and red cape, and..."

Oh, never mind.

The latest version of The Punisher is the series on Netflix, featuring Jon Bernthal. I've seen several episodes (as well as his introductory appearances on Netflix' Daredevil series), and it's pretty good, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Not long ago, I was watching The Wolf of Wall Street for the second time, and one of the actors looked very familiar. I finally figured it out! It was Jon Bernthal, but the facial hair his character sported threw me off for a few minutes.

By the way, here's yet another comic book connection, after which I'll end this overlong post, I promise! The hot babe... errr... I mean, the attractive young lady in the above photo is actress Margot Robbie, who played Harley Quinn in DC's 2016 Suicide Squad movie.

Thanks for your time.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...