August 14, 2019

The Last Superman Story

For many years, I've been of the opinion that Crisis on Infinite Earths, the sprawling mini-series that sought to streamline the DC Universe, was a tragic mistake, a prime example of trying to fix something that is not broken. At the time, of course, I snapped up each issue as soon as it was available, right off the spinner rack at my local drugstore.

Marv Wolfman's story and George Perez's art were top shelf, but the premise itself was wrongheaded. I was not confused by the proliferation of multiple universes and their inhabitants, and I suspected that even new readers could catch on fairly quickly. I kinda figured the onus was on new readers, if they wanted to be regular DC readers, to do their homework and catch up on what had happened prior to their arrival. Wasn't that part of the fun anyway?

Eventually, the concept of multiple universes would come back. To be sure, DC has continued to publish great books by talented creators in the last three decades. But to me, some characters have never recouped the prestige of their pre-Crisis versions. Especially Superman.

To that end, let's have a look at Matt Draper's video essay on what I still consider the last story featuring the Superman I knew and loved so much. Even though it was billed as an imaginary story - aren't they all? - "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow," written by Alan Moore and pencilled by Curt Swan, gave Kal-El an emotionally-charged sendoff that I doubt could be bested.

Look, up in the sky...




August 13, 2019

More Puppetoons Coming!

George Pal's Puppetoons are a wonder, and the methods employed in filming them required great craftsmanship and patience. Arnold Leibovit recently sat down with Joe Dante to discuss Pal's cinematic oeuvre and plans to release a sequel to The Puppetoon Movie. Leibovit is crowdfunding to raise money for the project, so you can play a role in preserving animation history!






August 8, 2019

Zappa For Newbies





Frank Zappa was a prolific composer, and his discography is dense and diverse. If you haven't yet delved into this unique world, Treble contributor Wil Lewellyn has a few suggestions on where to begin your journey. Be careful not to eat the yellow snow!

Alfred Hitchcock In The Bay Area

    

Brian Hackney brings us this report on Alfred Hitchcock filming locations, specifically those in the Bay Area. Of special interest is his sit-down with Edna May Wonacott, who was just a young girl when she landed a role in Hitch's 1943 thriller, Shadow of a Doubt.

 

Available on Oct. 1, 2019, The House of Hitchcock Blu-ray collection features 15 iconic films from the acclaimed director's illustrious career including Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo and North by Northwest, plus a range of limited edition extras including blueprints of the infamous Psycho house, movie poster art cards for all the films, and a booklet about his work. It's sure to be the best Hitchcock collection ever produced!




November 20, 2015

How to Destroy Your Vinyl Records: A Guide for Seniors



Greetings, aging music lover!

Congratulations on living a long life, a life filled with joy and sorrow, pain and triumph, and, of course, wonderful music. Yes, Dear Friend, at every step of your journey, you were surrounded by beautiful melodies created by the world's finest musical artists. Their songs touched your heart. They helped you through the rough patches. They made the good times feel even better. 

Even now, as the icy finger of Death gently tap tap taps on your shoulder, you can not help but smile as you gaze lovingly at your vinyl record collection which you have so diligently curated. Each gleaming scratchless platter is as close to perfection as the day it was manufactured, a testament to your love for and dedication to the recorded arts.

Say, have you stopped to consider what will become of this treasure trove after you have departed this mortal realm? Many people such as yourself have bequeathed their records to a close friend or family member, receiving sincere assurances that said records will be treasured, cared for, and passed down to each succeeding generation. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth. 

The painful reality is, you will scarcely even have begun your eternal slumber before the sweaty and possibly jelly-stained fingers of your son or nephew will begin carelessly rifling through your precious vinyl stockpile. "What's this crap?" he will exclaim. "Who the fuck is Buddy Rich?" 

Your beneficiary, having failed to discern the inestimable cultural value of your collection, will then proceed to recklessly hoist your record crates into the back of his freakishly oversized pickup truck, drop them off orphan-style at the front door of the nearest thrift store and peel away, bobbing his head zombie-like to the rhythm of the latest gangsta rap hit. 

Soon, your prized possessions will be unceremoniously dumped on the floor underneath three shelves that contain hardcover books no one will buy for even a quarter, like Jimmie Walker's autobiography, Dyn-O-Mite!  or any Jackie Collins novel after Hollywood Wives. They will swiftly be procured by an eagle-eyed entrepeneur who talks like a sophisticated music aficionado, but is really only interested in the crinkly tones produced by shuffling big stacks of cash. 

Through his Ebay store, he will sell your cherished records for exorbitant prices and then send them, one by one, to every corner of the globe. Your ghost self will watch helplessly as your Basie goes to Boise, and your Miles goes to Milan. You will then spend the rest of eternity wandering about aimless and confused, trying but endlessly failing to remember the tune of one goddamn song.

Ah, but what if there was a way to foil the plans of this vulturous villain, the vinyl profiteer? Luckily, there is! Although there is no way your records will not wind up in a thrift store, by following the steps in this handy guide, you can make sure your collection will never leave that thrift store in this fiend's possession. In fact, you will get a good ghostly chuckle when you see his reaction to your clever handiwork.

1. Make sure you are dying. Some common signs of dying are difficulty breathing, constant chest pains, and profuse bleeding. To help along the process, avoid all doctors.

2. Take care not to deface or spoil in any way the visible outside jackets of your albums. You want to preserve the element of surprise by making your adversary confident that he has stumbled upon a cache of vinyl gold.

3. Remove vinyl records from the jackets, paper inner sleeve and all. Remove vinyl records from paper inner sleeves. Discard paper inner sleeves. 

4. If you are still allowed to handle sharp eating utensils, procure a salad fork from the kitchen. Carefully make a long deep gouge on one side of each vinyl record, preferably over the best song.

5. If you are no longer allowed to handle sharp eating utensils, or if you just want to be extra thorough, spread your vinyl records out on the living room floor. Release six mice and twelve feral sharp-clawed cats into the living room and quickly retreat to a safer room until the commotion dies down. 

6. Prepare a cleaning solution for your vinyl records. A dark cola is ideal, but coffee or beer will do. Gently grasp each record with one hand, wearing a baseball mitt if desired, and apply the cleaning solution to each record. Next, use your free hand to spread the solution out evenly, taking care to oversaturate the paper label.

7. Put your vinyl records next to a heat source to dry. Fireplaces and radiators work well, but a hair dryer will do in a pinch. Leaving them out in the sun to dry is not recommended, as you may not have that much time left.

8. (Optional) After your vinyl records have all dried, why not take a permanent marker and write your name on some of the record labels? If you are feeling creative, you can write other things as well, like "Kilroy was here" or "Eat shit, Ebay Man!" 

9. Carefully place your vinyl records back into their immaculate record jackets. Do not be overly concerned about matching each vinyl record up with its corresponding jacket. Neatly place your albums back in their crates. Fall down the stairs. Die.

Mission accomplished! Now, all you have to do is float over to the nearest thrift store and wait for the fun to begin. Your soul will be at peace forever knowing that your lifelong passion for record collecting has not been crassly exploited for some shady character's quick financial gain, and you'll likely bust a ghostly gut watching his face slowly turning red with exasperated fury.

As for the music, don't worry. Rest assured that The Afterlife has one hell of a band. When you get there, say "Hi" to Satchmo for me.

November 19, 2015

Heinz Edelmann: Before and After "Yellow Submarine"

Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) is best remembered for his role as Art Director for the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. Here is a gallery of illustrations he did for various other projects.

1962




1965

1967



1968

1968


1970


1970


1970

1970

1971

1981



September 1, 2015

Doug Wildey's Haunted Tank Story!


Today's comic share is a treat for Jonny Quest fans, a war story written by Bob Kanigher and drawn by Quest co-creator Doug Wildey! "The Armored Ark" was published in G.I. Combat #153 (April-May 1972, DC). As you might guess from the the title, the story addresses the subject of animals in war zones, and it shows how soldiers can display great compassion, even in the midst of battle.
















August 31, 2015

Goon With the Wind or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Goons

If you are a Monty Python fan, you owe it to yourself to watch this documentary on the Goons, who were very influential in the development of the brand of absurd conceptual humor that the Pythons popularized. In fact, John Cleese and Michael Palin are two of the interviewees featured in this special retrospective.

The Goon Show can perhaps best be described as an audio version of a surreal comic strip, featuring recurring characters (some with recurring catchprases) and innovative sound effects and music. It was broadcast weekly on British radio from 1951 to 1960, and primarily featured the comedic talents of Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, and Harry Secombe. I have been trying to cultivate a greater appreciation of the Goons for a while, and I found this doc most helpful in that regard.