Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Why even bother drawing Supergirl in such a way that a discussion of her underwear wearing habits is even necessary?"

supergirl in space by jim mooney
I guess this is where I say modern superhero comics suck and are mostly ugly.

Gary Panter's art is ugly but is also beautiful.

The title quote comes from comments on this old blog. I am grateful to the Publishers Weekly comics blog, The Beat, written by the venerable Heidi MacDonald, for her 63 comment-generating, quizzical post about a recent comic book cover featuring the Supergirl character. The character is featured in one panel within the comic in question. The panel also features the welcome return of Streaky, the Super-Cat. It's no Jim Mooney classic, but it will do. I'm still baffled by the post (and I even read the comic in question --which does not feature underwear, you may be glad to know).

Well, at least people are talking about something important, instead of the Wright Awards.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Re-Cruited Some Grem-lins

Well, this looks pretty fucking amazing. Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith promises to be the greatest Fall-related tome since Pan by Camden Joy or maybe Smith's own lyric collection, VII. The Exclaim! piece includes an embedded video of the Fall's cover of "Victoria" by The Kinks. The Youtube version of "Wings", one of my favourite 1980s music videos, is unavailable as an embed, apparently, but I happily substitute the live version below. I really can't recommend enough the jumbled images of notorious alleged squirrel killer Smith as filmed from the mosh pit sleepwalking himself through this number. On the subject of comics, you can read Smith here. He is a fan of Luther Arkwright and a detractor of "VIZ comic". My own opinion is that VIZ rocks (rocked?) and that Luther Arkwright is overrated.

I feel like this should go without saying, but: watch out for those time-locks!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Radio Humour

radio craft magazine 1944 hugo gernsback tv

Is it a Mystery Hoard if there is only one item in the hoard?

I found this magazine in the store around the corner, among an assorted batch of old magazines and newspapers. The owner of the store wanted to give it to me, but I eventually talked him up to $2.

This issue of Radio Craft, dated December 1944, was published and edited by Hugo Gernsback, the so-called "godfather of American science fiction." Gernsback was an early fan of radio and a very early adopter of television, as the cover to this issue attests. The Gernsback-penned cover feature outlines "the technique of a remote controlled robot machine gun," designed to address "the desire of all military authorities of the belligerent armies to conserve human life as much as possible" --this in the middle of WWII! The great cover graphic is perhaps one of the first visual representations of a video game precursor (or is it drone warfare?).

This issue also includes several how-to articles written for the radio hobbyist and professional, with special attention given to military issues. There are many wiring and circuit diagrams that confound me.

frank franklin beaven radio cartoon

The best feature of the magazine, from my point of view, are the two radio-themed cartoons by Frank Beaven, a New Yorker and Humorama contributor and sometime writer. Both cartoons manage to ring fairly lame changes on rather trite stock situations from the cartoonists' gag bag. The first cartoon, showcasing the standard offensively racist "captured by African natives" scenario, is delightfully obscure. Adding to the wonder, the gag is credited to Ed Marles of Chilliwack, BC --making this entry eligible for inclusion in the Canadian Comic Fan Project.

frank beaven cartoon flying carpet

The rest of this issue of Radio Craft is filled out with some wonderful Second World War ads with excellent illustrations, like the inside-front-cover ad for the first cell phone that paints a hellish picture of war by throwing in everything but the kitchen sink and stars a Henry-Fonda-type dogface GI barking into one of those great old Motorola walkie-talkies. The second ad, hawking the Echophone EC-1 radio, is a highly-stylized episode in the adventures of Hogarth, the pop-eyed radio nerd and Echophone spokes-cartoon. World War Two was really a golden age!

motorola ad walkie talkie cell phone 1944

echophone radio ad 1944 hogarth