Monday, December 31, 2012

One "N" or Two? -- A "Comical Wednesday" Post!


A million years or so ago, so long ago that my hair almost had some color left in it, I "promised" my Canadian readers -- all three or four of them -- that I would do a post specifically aimed at them, one where I tell how not one, but two modern-day, American comic book characters have their origins in the Canadian comic books published in the 1940! We'll, after a wait this long, this post is assuredly going to be anti-climactic, but such are the chances you take when you read this blog.


I'm assuming that if you know anything about comic books, you've at least heard of the X-Men. What you may or may not know is that they've been around since the early 1960s, and were one of the few Marvel superhero series that never hit really big, but instead kinda limped along. They were even canceled, and revived as an all-new team in 1975.

It's that (almost) all-new team, and its eight million variations and spin-offs, that eventually took comics fandom by storm. (Ouch! Sorry for the inadvertent pun, which only X-Men insiders will catch*)

(*Okay, since some people get really ticked off when they're not clued in on the private jokes around here, the super-heroine known as "Storm" is a member of the X-men. Get it? You're welcome.)


The first fifteen issues were drawn by the late Dave Cockrum,  and the series was catching on with the comic fans by the time that Canadian-born artist John Byrne took over and made it a solid hit.


("Byrne" is pronounced "bern," by the way. As an employee during the mid to late 1980s of the Worcester, Massachusetts flagship branch of That's Entertainment, the Eisner Award Winning pop culture & entertainment emporium, I spent a great deal of time correcting customers who pronounced it "brine" or "byron.")

By the way, as someone who has pretensions to being a writer  myself, I do not mean to slight the X-Men's writer, Chris Claremont, for his contribution to the title's success. Despite his penchant for having so many sub-plots he would occasionally forget one or two over the course of many months, his continuing storylines and terrific characterizations made the title a lot more than "jest purty pictures."

(Besides, if I did try to get by without giving Mr. Claremont due credit, yet another John -- not Mr. Byrne, but a close friend of mine -- would no doubt take me to task for it!)

Okay, okay, since this is more or less supposed to be a Comical Wednesday feature about Canadian comic characters, here's some background on John Byrne's early comic reading days, as related by Byrne himself, in 1980.* Picture it: The X-Men as a title and the X-Men as a team were becoming "hot" for the first time in almost 20 years, and on the verge of  frequent character crossovers, Wolverine origins, and spinning off eight million other ongoing titles and mini-series. Fan Favorite John Byrne is being interviewed about the origins of the super-team Alpha Flight, who were introduced in the pages of The X-Men itself!

"Snowbird, the shape-changer... her power is from... well, originally in my mind got her power from Nelvana, an Eskimo goddess character from the Canadian Whites, which were the Canadian comics of the 1940s. We'll probably never say that, unless we find out there really was an Eskimo goddess named Nelvana, but that's who I figure she got her powers from."

Ever hear of Alpha Flight's Snowbird? Here she is!




Well, eventually, Byrne introduced Snowbird's mother, Nelvanna -- not Nelvana, note the double "N" -- in the pages of Alpha Flight.

And, predictably for modern-day comic books, she didn't stick around long...

And now, fellow babies, a special treat for those who care enough about this subject to wanna see an original Nelvana story! The special treat is, of course... errr... an original Nelvana story!


Those who don't particularly care can stop reading now... but please join me for part two of this Comical Wednesday series in another week or so!

The following eight-page Golden Age comic story appeared in Super-Duper Comics #3,  in 1947 by F.E. Howard Publications, LTD.









Next: A Mister named Monster! Thanks for your time!

(And for those of you who care about this kinda stuff... Happy New Year!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ego



Okayyyy, here goes:

I'm typing this sentence (ort  snetences) as I usually do, which is with my sloppy but swift two-fingered typing method. ASnmd I'm not going to caoprrect any pof it,

[Translation: I'm typing this sentence (or sentences) as I usually do, which is with my sloppy but swift two-fingered typing method. And I'm not going to correct any of it.]

But of course, ordinarily, I do correct stuff like that, because I have this incredible ego that wants to fool you into thinking that I never make any mistakes. And "I do correct stuff like that" because even though it's only a freakin' blog, I am a Grammar Nazi at heart. But since I'm not perfect, I let some things slide here and there, ya know? That's why I don't attack other bloggers who confuse "you're" and "your," for example...

And believe it or not, I was able to type the last two paragraphs without making any mistakes.

No, really.

Really!

Thanks for your time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I've Never Known...

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

Thanks for your time.

*  *  *  *  *


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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Determination ~~ A Fable





  The little girl came from a large family, mostly brothers. There were so many things she wanted to do alongside them, so many games she wanted to play that they could... and so many voices in her head saying "You can't do that. You're just a girl." So many doors locked, so many gates barred... "Boys are stronger." "Boys are smarter."

She laughed at the silly voices every time. "Let me pass!" she insisted. And she passed. And that was that.

When she wanted to leave her childhood home and marry, the voices said, "You can't, not yet! You still have responsibilities here." But she knew it was time to start living for herself. The voices sought to block her departure.

She set the wedding date and packed her bags. "Let me pass!" she insisted. And she passed. And that was that.

All through the middle decades of the 20th Century, when it was the woman's so-called "place" to cook, clean, and raise the children, she did all that and much, much more. The voices implored her to remain in her station, and not do volunteer work, not manage her husband's income, and not do minor refurbishings of their home. "You're doing far too much!" reprimanded those ever-present voices. "Stick to your assigned position as a wife and mother!"

She shook her head and laughed as they stood in front of all she hoped to accomplish. "Let me pass!" she insisted. And she passed. And that was that.

When her husband died, the young widow was perfectly suited to continue raising her children as a single mother, having coordinated so much of their lives to this point anyway. And her guidance continued long into their adulthood. She would always be their mother, she reasoned. They would never "catch up" to her; she would always "outrank" them. The voices said "At their age, you shouldn't help them any more! They're adults!"

 She countered with "But they're adults I'm responsible for bringing into this world... and you're in my way. Let me pass!" she insisted. And she passed. And that was that.

In time, her eyes grew weak, as did the legs, the ears, and even the mind which was once so sharp. When advanced age threatened to rob her of the independence she'd lived by for so many years, she knew that her work was done. And the voices, though not as strong as they used to be, still droned on. "You have to keep trying! Your loved ones will miss you! You can't just give up!"

The old woman smiled one last time. "They'll get by. So shut up. This, like everything else, will be done on my terms. Let me pass!" she insisted.

And she passed.

And that was that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Maple Tree



Is it possible
To take pride
In the accomplishments
Of someone
In whose creation
And molding
You took
Absolutely no part?

I wonder...

So many similarities
Do I see.
I know that
In a different life,
A different world,
I could have pushed
This child
In a swing
Attached to the branch
Of a maple tree
And watched her grow
Somewhat
Like myself,
And so much
Like the tree
As well.
So strong!
Always pushing,
Always daring
That swing
To take her
Ever higher.

Of course,
The real world intrudes.
It always does.
And she does perform
So admirably in it.
But still,
She strives
To play her own songs,
And succeeds!
And she inspires others
To find
Their own music
As well.

But lately,
I sense a weariness,
And it disturbs me.
I sense a fatigue
That cannot be allowed.

Perhaps if I'd been there
During her childhood,
In reality,
I'd have the right
To lend a hand now
And help,
If I could.
For this voice
Should never be stilled,
Even momentarily!
Not from without,
Nor,
God forbid,
From within.

Never from within.


*  *  *  *  *

Don't over-analyze this one too much, fellow babies. That can cause more trouble than it's worth. I oughtta know; I'm famous for doing that!

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

By Request...


Okay, fellow babies...

Until I come up with a "real" post, this photo, illustrating an internet tradition, will get the photo of the dead man's arm off the very top of my blog!

You're welcome.

Thanks for your time.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

George's Last Words ~~ A Pome


The note they found
Next to George's body
Said,
Simply,
They told me
That before killing myself
I should talk to someone.
Anyone.
I thought about it,
And there really wasn't
Anyone
I wanted to talk to.
Not even myself.
So here I am.

*  *  *  *  *

Well... I thought it was funny.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

After the Fox



Hello, fellow babies! A very brief -- especially for me -- explanation of "where I've been." (Boring, too!) I'm having computer issues, and have no working internet connection at home. This is unlikely to change at any time in the near future. My computer time, formerly almost unlimited, is now severely limited to the whims of the public library and the occasional good graces of a friend!

And this, right after I was getting back into the swing of things following a two-month sabbatical! Needless to say, I'm somewhat demoralized in terms of writing in general. I can't even keep up with emails, never mind reading and commenting on my favorite blogs.

Now I know how Charlie Brown felt every time Lucy pulled that effin' football out of his way whenever he attempted to kick it!

I'm going to try -- TRY -- to throw a post on this blog once in a while, but don't hold your breath.

(And give yourself a biiiiig pat on the back if you know where I got the title for today's post!)

Thanks for your time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Putting His Paw in It



Orson: So, Foxy, why are ya even botherin'?

Silver Fox: Excuse me, Orson?

Orson: Why are ya even botherin' to post this?

Silver Fox: This was your idea... Plus, I haven't posted for a few days, and I just wanted to let my readers know that I've been very busy lately, and worse, that I currently don't have internet at home, so my online time is extremely limited.

Orson: My idea? My idea wuz ta actually participate in your friend Betsy's Pretty Piggy Party..

Silver Fox: Stop calling it that! Its official name is Betsy's Pretty Pedicure Party... or Giveaway and Pedicure Party... or Pedi Party...

Orson: Thanks for clearin' that up, Foxy.

Silver Fox: And you just like the idea of "pretty piggies" because it makes you think of pork, bacon, ham, and all the other pork products I don't share with you!

Orson: Stop correctin' me, Grammar Nazi! I wanted ta be a part of this, but thanks ta you, I can't be! This is... this is... kitty litter!!! I ain't really participatin' at all! First of all, ya were too cheap ta buy me any nail polish...

Silver Fox: You're a freakin' cat!

Orson: Stop interruptin'! An' then you kept draggin' yer butt until it wuz too late ta get any photos of me with my claws trimmed. Do you really think the two pictures below that ya stole off the internet are gonna fool yer readers?



Silver Fox: (muttering) They might have, if you'd kept your big mouth shut...

Orson: Uh-uh, not me! Gotta admit, I kinda like the one with the blue background, the one that shows "my" face. Makes me look like I'm wearin' my hat at a rakish angle... if I had a hat. Anyhoo, the only real picture of Orson the Great and Powerful in this lame little post is the one at the top... and even that one's horribly outdated. I'm what, 'bout seven years old now, Foxy?

Silver Fox: Something like that...

Orson: "Somethin' like that," he sez. You know yer own birthday though, don'tcha? (pause) Anyhoo, here I am, 'bout seven years old, and that shot wuz taken when I wuz about one year old!

Silver Fox: Is there a point to all of this, you little furball?

Orson: Prob'ly not... which makes it just like one of yer usual solo posts.

Silver Fox: I... think we'd better sign off now.

Orson: Why?

Silver Fox: Let's just say that I don't want any of my readers calling the SPCA if they see what I'm about to do to you.

Orson: Ahhhh, yer all talk, Foxy. (pause) Hey... Can I say it this time?

Silver Fox: Say what?

Orson: You know.

Silver Fox: *sigh* Go ahead.

Orson: (to the readers) Thanks fer yer time. And... meow. Or somethin'.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Idol Eyes


I have been looking through this warehouse I call an apartment for weeks, trying to find the following poem. "Idol Eyes" is certainly not the best thing I ever wrote, but I only did it as kind of a novelty piece anyway. It may make some tenuous kind of sense to you when you read it here, fellow babies, but if you read it aloud, I guarantee it won't make any sense at all to whomever hears it!

Which was the point.

Thanks for your time.

IDOL EYES
 
You idolize,
You idealize,
But whatcha gonna do when your idol lies?
Your idol lies
To your idle eyes,
So you'll never see the truth in his idol eyes.
You lionize
His lyin' eyes.
(But you'll never see the truth in his idol eyes.)
You idolize
But your idol lies,
And when his day is done? Well, he idle lies.
He idle lies,
Closin' idol eyes,
And when your day is done you idealize.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

David'Z RantZ: "Readers," Yes. "Followers," Not So Much



So.

Someone want to explain to me what the big freakin' deal is about amassing "followers" -- not readers, as I'll explain shortly -- on your blog?

Here's a screenshot from today of my Blogger "Followers" widget. (And please notice the title I've given that widget!)




Thanks to my StatCounter, I have a pretty good idea of who my regular readers -- in other words, I'm not counting people who encounter this blog once because they're doing a Google search for Castle Dracula, the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, or even (I swear!) "mouse standing!" -- are. And frankly, at best, this blog is actually followed by somewhere between a third and one half of the 65 people currently signed up as "followers."

I have a handful of people who comment on almost every post. I also have "lurkers," people who read my blog regularly but rarely if ever comment. (That's fine, by the way. There's no law that says you have to leave a comment!)


I know for a fact that several of my "followers" used to read my blog regularly, but then, for whatever reason(s), they stopped. But when they stopped, they never bothered to stop "following" me officially.

Notice how I keep putting "followers" in quotes. Why? I think it's a misleading term. Y'see, I actually read all of the blogs I follow. I don't always comment on them, but yes, I read them! Other people... not so much.

And lately, I've noticed a disturbing trend. I frequently see comments like this: "Hi, I never saw your blog before! Following! Come follow me, too!"

"Follow me, too." Why? Just to inflate the number of official followers? Again, WHY? Is there a prize Blogger gives out when you reach some magic number of followers, and nobody told me?

So (he said again). A couple of questions here:

1. If you're one of those people whose Blogger profile says you follow 47 different blogs for every letter of the freakin' alphabet, do you really read all of them regularly? I'll bet you don't. So why don't you delete the ones you no longer read?

2. If you're one of those people who has over five hundred -- or over a thousand -- official followers, do you really think that many people are actually reading your blog on a regular basis? I'll bet they aren't.

Of course, I realize that the actual number of readers for a blog with hundreds of followers listed is still a hell of a lot more than the actual number of readers that a blog like mine -- with its crappy little list of 65 -- has. So I'm not trying to insult anyone who has a huge number of followers by suggesting no one reads them at all!

So, what's the sudden interest in inflating the follower count? Anyone know?

Anyway, I don't really have anything approaching a clever wrap-up for today's post, so I just want to share some observations with you on the subject of followers and/or regular readers.

Sometimes, the people who do follow a blog do so almost slavishly, to the point where it's almost scary. (Hence the photo of a zombie mob at the top of this post.)

A poetry blog I followed a long time ago had one reader/commenter in particular who would analyze and praise each posted poem by writing a poem about it in the comments section. And the comments were usually two or three times the length of the actual poem! Heh.

And another thing I noticed about a blog I used to follow was that an alarming number of its readers used to have an odd, disconcerting urge to want to do everything the same way that the blog's author did.

I mean, it's one thing if a Blogger-blogger has a recipe or a household cleaning suggestion that others want to try, or if he or she recommends a certain movie, or musical artist, and others want to experience these things themselves...

But I swear, this blog author could have said "I had a glass of wine yesterday, and I burped," and there'd be several comments to the effect of "Oh, [Blogger]! Please tell me what kind of wine you were drinking! I want burps that sound and smell just like yours!

I don't have any readers/followers like that, thankfully. All my readers are sane.

Helps me sleep at night.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finding Jesus



So, Jesus has been spotted once again, this time on someone's wall... which has since been painted over!

It's absolutely amazing how many times Jesus and his mom have appeared on foods... appliances... all sorts of surfaces! Here are just some of the places people have "found Jesus:"








This one's my favorite...


I think the next two are really pushing it...



And I think this one -- a Funyun ostensibly depicting the Virgin Mary and the newborn Christ child -- is really pushing it!


But the thing that cracks me up the most about these professed miracles is that they more or less show an image of Jesus which is in accordance with the average man's conception of what he looked like. It's not like any photos exist, nor any contemporary drawings, right?

After all, most of us in the Western hemisphere -- and not only those with a Christian background -- are used to picturing Jesus pretty much like these examples:


Or maybe Hollywood has given us our image of Jesus, especially film classics featuring actors such as...

Max Von Sydow in The Greatest Story Ever Told...


Or Jeffrey Hunter in King of Kings... This is the version of Christ that's popularly known as (I swear) "Jesus of Malibu!"


And I couldn't resist adding this photo!


Doesn't that actor look eerily familiar, fellow babies? Or don't you recognize him without his Dracula cape? That's right, the above photo is of none other than a young Bela Lugosi!

Back to the core article, here...

The problem is, educated minds say that Jesus probably didn't look like any of the above! Instead, he almost assuredly resembled the average Semitic man of the first century A.D.

Don't forget, Jesus was a Jew. (And let's try to ignore Archie Bunker's famous line "Yeah, but only on his mother's side!") So modern forensic anthropologists, using skulls native to that area of the world from that very era, have determined that he very probably looked more like this:


Things like the length of Jesus' hair, his eye color, and even his height were determined by several variables. Click here if you want to learn all the fascinating details!

So... what's my freakin' point? Simply this: If Jesus did indeed resemble the swarthier-looking, short-haired gent above, as postulated by today's scientific experts...

Who's this tiny-nosed, hippie-looking guy who keeps appearing on people's toast, frying pans, and potato chips?!?

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sheldon Moldoff, 1920-2012, R.I.P. -- A "Comical Wednesday" Post



If someone were to hold a gun to my head -- which in and of itself wouldn't surprise me, given my checkered past -- and say "I don't care how many freakin' comic books you own, Foxy... I want you to get rid of all of them, except your top ten favorites!" I would agonize over the decision, certainly. But I know one of the books I'd save would be a comic from my youth, Batman #156, from 1963.


Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when I was learning to read, comic books were my main choice of reading material. (Well, those and the Whitman Little Golden Book series.) Anyway, two of my favorite titles were DC's Batman and Detective Comics, both of which featured Batman & Robin.


In those days -- in fact, all the way back to 1939 -- every Batman story was signed by Bob Kane. Kane was the only credited creator, writer, and artist on the feature due to a long, convoluted story which would fascinate you if you're a comic book fan (well, one who doesn't know it already), and bore you to tears if you're not a comic book fan.

If you want to know this "long. convoluted story," click here. As for those of you who don't really care, suffice it to say that what little artwork Kane ever did on Batman was mostly confined to the late 1930s and early 1940s, although he received sole credit for every Batman story written (never by Kane) and drawn (rarely by Kane) until DC Comics finally started giving all their creators credit in the mid-1960s! Kane never wanted anyone to receive credit for Batman, other than himself.

From 1953 to 1967, the vast majority of Batman stories were actually drawn by a comic book veteran named Sheldon "Shelly" Moldoff. Please note that the period from 1953-1967 very neatly includes the years "in the late 1950s and early 1960s" which I mentioned earlier... my formative years as a comic book fan, and my earliest years as a voracious reader.

In other words, it was Shelly Moldoff, and not Bob Kane, who drew the stories -- the writers varied -- which hooked me on reading in general. Therefore, Shelly Moldoff was "my" Batman artist, although I didn't know it until many years later.

I referred to Moldoff as a comic book veteran. Here are just some of his claims to fame, taken from Sheldon Moldoff's website:

Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff of Lauderhill got his start in the comic industry more than 60 years ago drawing “believe it or not” filler items. In the 1940′s, the so-called Golden Age of comics, he drew such strips as Hawkman, Kid Eternity and The Black Pirate. he also drew covers for the first appearances of Green Lantern and The Flash.

But Moldoff is best known for a 14-year run with Batman from 1953 to 1967. He drew some of the goofiest but most beloved Batman episodes ever, including Zebra Batman and the Merman Batman, and he introduced Batwoman and the original Bat-Girl. And while we're talking about "goofiest but most beloved," fellow babies... They left out one of my favorite Moldoff-drawn characters from my faraway youth: Bat-Mite, the ultimate Batman fan from another dimension! (Yep, back then, Batman was far from the so-called "Dark Knight" he was in the 1930s and early 1940s, and as he is today.)


Unfortunately, two weeks ago, Shelly Moldoff passed away at the age of 91. And his loss affects me one hell of a lot more than the 1998 death of glory-hogging Bob Kane.

The following illustration is a Moldoff "re-creation" of the cover to Batman #156, pictured above.


And this is a Moldoff illustration of none other than Bat-Mite!


Both prints are currently up for sale on Moldoff's website. Sure wish I could afford them!

Thanks for your time.


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