August 25, 2010

The Schizophrenic Superboy

Shades of Sybil! When Clark Kent is exposed to Red K after attending a ventriliquism performance, he becomes schizophrenic and builds a Superboy dummy. He then proceeds to berate and slap said dummy around, to the astonishment of his foster parents! This Silver Age gem is from Superboy # 122 ( July 1965, DC). Story by Leo Dorfman, art by George Papp.

The earliest adventures of the Smallville Sensation have just been collected in hardcover form in The Adventures of Superboy. The book reprints Superboy tales from More Fun Comics #101-107 and Adventure Comics #103-121.

August 9, 2010

The Most Silent Movie

Last night Pooh and I went to a screening of Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metropolis, one of those classic films that everyone should see, but somehow we both hadn't. After remarking here last week how no one discusses utopias much these days, I was struck by this vision of a future dystopia where the poor, living in a subterreanean city, toil tirelessly to satisfy the whims of the super-privileged. The workers synchronized movements looked like a macabre ballet, and I had an eerie feeling of deja vu. The big message of this surprisingly Christian-toned movie made in Germany less than a decade before Hitler's rise to power is "the mediator between the head and hands must be the heart." Why doesn't someone put that slogan on a billboard somewhere?

This current incarnation of Metropolis is billed The Complete Metropolis and it features recently discovered scenes that had been edited from the original. It also features a beautiful score by Gottfried Huppertz. It was a pity an audio glitch silenced that beautiful score a minute or two into the third act, Furioso.

A dead silence hit the theater. One person behind me whispered "Oh no." A question, borne of new experience, bubbled up in my mind. "How upset should I be that this silent movie is now a silent movie?" The visuals were still there, but they now seemed to have lost the illusion of reality. There was an emotional disconnect, as if it didn't matter as much what happened, even though logically I knew that wasn't true. It made me realize what a misnomer the words "silent movie" are. Without a musical underpinning to help convey the emotions, I found my interest waning slightly.

Suddenly, I became hyper aware of every noise in the theater. The slightest creak or shuffle sounded five times louder than normal. I began to wonder what the other citizens of this community of about thirty were thinking or feeling. It had been about four minutes since the silence began. In reaction to a particularly fake looking shot of the subterranean city being flooded, a few people began to snicker. My stomach growled and it sounded to me like a foghorn. Then it growled much louder. Other people got the giggles and I wondered if it was because of my stomach growls or a particular hammy expression on the face of lead actress, Brigitte Helm, writhing with sadistic glee amongst the proletariat. Without music to add weight to the dramatic events of the final act, "Metropolis" had become , to at least half a dozen people, a comedy.

I have to admit, though I loved the film, I was a little relieved when "The End" came. I did come away with a revelation though. Even well-heeled art movie afficianados can turn into 8 year old giggleboxes when something unexpected happens. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Here's a great article about the film by film collector and historian Fernando Martín Peña.

August 8, 2010

SCTV Kraft Cheese Spoof

YouTube reaction:

Snickpickle sez: "This is one of SCTV's all-time greatest spoofs! If you've never seen Canadian television in the 1970's: The networks would have occasional prime-time 2- or 3-minute commercials, featuring a Kraft product, where they would give a full recipe, with visual illustrations, of how to make the item. The spoofing is obvious, of course."

maskof sez: "Those have got to be Eugene Levy's hairy meat-hooks!"

August 3, 2010

Basil Wolverton's "Nightmare World"

Strung Out Rodent Converses With Atoms

The origin of Atomic Mouse, from Atomic Mouse #1 ( March 1953, Charlton). Kids, if an evil cat magician ever shrinks you down to the size of an atom, and then atoms start talking to you and offering you uranium pills, just say no! Story and art by Al Fago.

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Gaffigan Made Me Laugh Again!

Pooh Bear and I had the pleasure of attending a Jim Gaffigan concert in Myrtle Beach Friday. Jim, looking resplendent in way-too-tight jeans, had the audience rolling in the aisles riffing on an assortment of topics ranging from gyms to seafood. For an encore he did an extended jam on his classic "Hot Pockets" monologue.

Here is a clip from one of Jim's appearances on David Letterman:

Immediately after the show, we headed to The Giant Crab, an all-you-can-eat buffet that is way overpriced, but at least the food was unspectacular. The big attraction of The Giant Crab is the actual Giant Crab made of stone that hovers menacingly over the front entrance. It is supposedly the largest crab in the world. Here is a pic from Google Images:

Upon our arrival, we were invited to pose for a complimentary photograph. When we got ready to leave, we were shown our complimentary photograph, which was about the size of a postage stamp and attached to a much bigger and nicer photograph that cost $10. Of course we had to have it. How many chances does one get in life of owning a photograph that clearly shows an angry shark about to chew off one's entire shoulder?

One Man's Haul: Haul Fun in the Summertime!

More eye candy to share from some recent eBay comic purchases. I want to point out how fantastic the logos are on these covers! I also like the colors and the effective simplicity of the layouts. You can tell these comics were made by humans, and not computers!

Booker T. & the M.G.'s - "Slim Jenkin's Joint"