Saturday, December 15, 2018

Nothing Says Christmas Like Ernest Borgnine

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Fine, Clean-Cut Lines

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Indie and Small Press Comics & Fanzines I've Read Recently, December 13, 2018

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Comics I've Read Recently, December 10, 2018

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Recently Read: Golden Age Sub-Mariner, Vol. 1

Reprints the first four 64-page Sub-Mariner comics from 1941. These stories, frankly, aren't as compellingly written or drawn as Bill Everett's first Subby stories. Spread thin, he was relying on assistants by this point (and about to enter the military). They are, nevertheless, worth a gamble. The Angel is the just okay backup strip. Jack Kirby's fantastic Angel cover for Marvel Mystery Comics #12 whetted my appetite for more Kirby Angel stories, but I don't think those ever happened (comics historians please clarify).

The volume is filled out with filler pieces by Mickey Spillane and Basil Wolverton (two creators not often mentioned in the same sentence), historical notes by Roy Thomas and the various house ads for all four issues, which appeared in other Marvel comics.
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Friday, December 7, 2018

A Sample Page From The Deeper

The Deeper is the lead story in my upcoming anthology series, All-Neno Comics #1.
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Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Trend is to Gas

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Recently Read: Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

What a wonderful, complex book. Little House on the Prairie covers nearly a year when the Ingalls family left their home in Wisconsin to build a new house and life on the Indian territory plains of Kansas. The hardships and beauties of such a life are told vividly. Despite some critic's misgivings about Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter's editing input into the creation of the books, the autobiographical stories told here ring true, poignant, memorable and sad. Children will be reading and learning from this book for a hundred years.

How tragic and ridiculous it is that the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, has removed Wilder’s name from her own award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award - primarily due to a conversation in the book wherein a racist neighbor expresses a racist remark about Native Americans. These particular ALA justice warriors must believe the primary object of children's literature is to coddle, mollify, pamper and protect children from any viewpoint - even a fictionalized viewpoint - which doesn't make them feel good about their race/gender/age/whatever. History and our present reality is much more complex and nuanced, though, as today's children will soon realize when they enter the adult world. And then there's the true cliche, 'Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.', which makes it very important for young readers to learn about past racial injustices.
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Magazines I've Read Recently, December 4, 2018

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Recently Read: A Dream Flying, by Dwight R. Decker

Good-natured whimsy isn't something you expect from much pop culture today, but Dwight R. Decker's A Dream Flying has it. Using Decker's youth in Mount Vernon (renamed New Romford), Ohio as an autobiographical setting, he tells a far-fetched but enjoyable and relatable tale of a teenager, Kyle Rhodebeck, who dreams of flying and then inadvertently finds a way to do it.

It's a charm of the novel that outlandish events (with the exception of the story's climax) are made believable. Kyle's attempts at elevation are detailed and, ultimately, exhilarating. I'd never considered what it might be like to fly - the physical dangers, the risks involved, the required secrecy - but after reading this book, I almost feel like I have flown!

Many adventures, flying-related and not, are told within. The fantastical elements of the book are woven into a tapestry of small town life, one which I could relate to, partly because I grew up and still live near where the story takes place (watching the same Chiller Theatre on Friday nights on Channel 10 and buying science fiction books at Northland Mall in Columbus as Kyle does), but also because I grew up in roughly the same time period, listening to Ventures LPs and reading Edgar Rice Burroughs paperbacks as Kyle does). 

My one big disappointment with A Dream Flying, even though it's nearly 300 pages long, is that it ends too soon. I'd love a sequel! 
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Friday, November 23, 2018

Zinc: Protection Against Rust

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Recently Read: Argosy Magazine, October, 1898

Whereas the 1896 issue of Argosy magazine I read a few years back was a mixture of news articles and fiction, the October, 1898 issue is (apart from a few slick ad pages) a full-fledged pulp magazine - Argosy was the first pulp magazine - and completely dedicated to fiction (there's not even a letters page or editorial).

The emphasis in this issue is the Spanish–American War, just ended two months before the issue was published. The Battle of San Juan Hill (including Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders) and a romanticized telling of the sinking of the USS Merrimac as a block-ship are described or referred to in two stories (they must have been quickly written and submitted): "The Ninth Hero of the Merrimac", by John P. Ritter (complete in the issue) and Col. Aaron Ainsworth Burr's serialized "Through the Blockade" (the least well-written of the issue's offerings).

Most of the rest of the stories take place in exotic lands, tales of heroism and triumph. Frederick (author of many hundreds of Nick Carter novelettes) Van Rensselaer Dey's "The Brotherhood of Silence" takes place in Czarist Russia; Charles Edwards Barns' "A Fair Slave To the Mahdi" is a tense rescue story taking place in the Sudan (and easily one of the best written pieces in the issues). An exciting mail-carrier story takes place in Siberia.

William Taylor Adams (writing as Oliver Optic) has me hooked on his serialized "The Hermit's Secret", another falsely-accused-and-fighting-to-regain-his-name thrillers of the kind Hitchcock built a career on via novelists like John Buchan. I'm eager to get the November '98 issue to find out what happens next.
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Monday, November 19, 2018

An Early '80s Burger King Coupon

There's no expiration date; I wonder if I can still use it.
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