Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Titanic Three! Oh, And Hawkeye, Too.

I have been hip-deep in Steve Englehart-penned tales in my ongoing reading of The Avengers, and this seems as good a time as any to discuss a particular issue I have long wanted to spotlight. That would be The Avengers #130, which among other things, included the debut of a super group called the Titanic Three.

I have always felt that the Titanic Three as a concept is something that was completely wasted after it was established. For one thing, an alliance of Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, and Radioactive Man is already a potent combination, and then to "reform" them makes it even more intriguing. It wasn't as if plenty of super-villains didn't become heroes at Marvel! I think the notion of that trio being uneasy champions of justice in Vietnam could have been material for some fascinating stories, or perhaps even one or two issues in a book like Marvel Premiere

It was, alas, not to be. The group made a cameo in one more Englehart Avengers tale, then was summarily written out entirely in the pages of Iron Man less than a year later. Ironically, the writer who got rid of the Titanic Three as heroes was none other than Mike Friedrich, whose work on Justice League of America came up last month.

Another thing which occurred to me during my reading of Steve's main portion of the run was why he booted Hawkeye from the ranks when he did. It makes perfect sense when you realize that the Swordsman is essentially the exact same character with a few variations. Heck, both of them even have purple costumes! So it would have been unwieldy to keep both Hawkeye and the Swordsman on the roster simultaneously, even setting aside their past history in the continuity.

Trouble is, I have the suspicion that it was Englehart's run on the book that devalued Hawkeye's stock in the eyes of many for years to come. Sure, he had had the inferiority complex over being just the guy with a bow and arrows before, and that led to the brief fling with him assuming the identity of Goliath. However, he had been the team mainstay since joining in #16. He was probably the quintessential Avengers character, and I suspect he was one of the most popular members for quite some time. I daresay he WAS the most popular for at least a couple of years.

Englehart's run was the first time in ages that The Avengers functioned without Hawkeye, and I wonder if that example led some writers to decide they could do without him. After all, he didn't have powers, so it did make it hard to give him something meaningful to do in a battle that might include the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch.

Hawkeye gets no respect. I have all seven "remastered" volumes of Essential Avengers, and here are the characters afforded headshots on the spines of each:

1) Captain America
2) Scarlet Witch
3) Vision
4) Black Panther (with Vision & Quicksilver)
5) Hercules
6) Thor
7) Iron Man

Notice who is conspicuous by their absence from that list?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

10 Things About EL BEARDO

You know of OWARI's erstwhile mascot and devil-may-care bon vivant EL BEARDO, but are you aware of the following facts?

1) EL BEARDO's lavender 1973 AMC Gremlin does not run on conventional fuel, but rather on EL BEARDO's pure undistilled charisma.

2) EL BEARDO auditioned for the lead role in the film BOOGIE NIGHTS, but was rejected for being "insanely overqualified."

3) EL BEARDO once shaved a picture of Norman Fell into the chest hair. What? Mr. Roper was hilarious!

4) EL BEARDO has built a small fort comprised entirely of Mad Dog 20/20 bottles. It is located in Pitkin, Louisiana.

5) EL BEARDO appears as if by magic if you say the name three times.

6) EL BEARDO has been known to stare at breakfast burritos like they are an orgasm about to happen.

7) EL BEARDO has a leprechaun for a friend. His name is Clancy.

8) Some nights, EL BEARDO wears shorts made of meat. Watch out!

9) EL BEARDO's swimming pool is filled with the bitter tears of enemies.

10) EL BEARDO uses the bald pate of arch-nemesis Dr. Knobular as a shammy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"She Never Mentioned Any Vampires To Me!"

I have discussed the film DEVIL DYNAMITE (aka DEVIL'S DYNAMITE) here in passing, but it's a movie that deserves its own entry. Trouble is, where to begin? Much of what I'd like to say about this addled non-classic from Filmark has been written elsewhere by others. So let's just touch on the fact that, of all the Godfrey Ho movies I know, this is the one that tries the hardest to tie together the new footage with the old movie. Sure, there is the obligatory phone call stuff where a character in one set of footage speaks to a character in the other set of footage. However, they got that one guy back for the new stuff and even put him in a similar (if not identical!) suit. That kind of attention to detail is amazing in "normal" movies, and downright unheard of in Godfrey Ho flicks.

Hey, don't take my word for it. If you act now (possibly for a limited time), you can watch the WHOLE MOVIE on Youtube. It is worth the 90 minutes it will take, as it will change your life.

Or you can watch this way. Be on the lookout for Angela Mao Ying, who is probably just as surprised as anyone that she is in DEVIL DYNAMITE.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Holiday Sketches by Kabuki Katze (2005 & 2010)

I was rummaging through one of my storage containers last night and pulled out my stack of cards I've received from the wonderful Kabuki Katze. Now, if you get cards from Kabuki, you know she livens them up with doodles and/or sketches. You might also know this if you follow her blog, or even Return of Jetman. These cards are always a special joy when they arrive in the mail. So imagine my surprise to discover a sketch that I had NO RECOLLECTION of seeing! What's more, it was of Shelly Ericson!

It's not hard for me to figure out why Kabuki drew this particular scene for her Christmas card in 2005. I am sure "Lemon Cowgirl" was still fresh in her mind. I just can't understand why I have no memory of seeing it. My best explanation is that I was having some difficulties during that period, and often didn't have a lot of time to focus on creative stuff. I probably did see the sketch, and it just never registered due to all the other concerns I had. But wow, it's cute and saucy, isn't it?

But wait! There's more! It had slipped my mind that 2010's Christmas card also featured one of the Owariverse ladies near and dear to my heart. This one, I do remember seeing, but I hadn't scanned it for inclusion here. I fixed that as fast as I could.

I really love how you can clearly see the progress in both Kabuki's abilities and her confidence in same by contrasting these two sketches. Both are fine pieces of work, but the Firegirl demonstrates how much Kabuki has grown as an artist over these past five years. I am sure there will be much more growth to come!

And there will almost certainly be more of Captain Satellite and friends, too. However, this really is the end of our journey through vintage Cap-related art from other creators. I've enjoyed this review over the past year, and I hope you have, too. Special thanks to Lewis Smith, Kabuki Katze, and Sara Duffield both for bringing life to my characters back in the day and indulging my posting of their older art on this blog. They are all swell folks in addition to being amazingly talented, and they deserve your support.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Have A Smokin' Hot Birthday!" by Sara Duffield (2009)

No, it's not my birthday today. That's July 25. This is just the day when we spotlight more vintage Owariverse art. Some of you may recall that I linked to this picture by Sara Duffield back when I posted my 2009 birthday pic for her in response. Well, that was fantastic, but I thought it would be a shame to not post this piece here.

Sara was definitely trying new things in 2009, and you can see the different approach she took in July as compared to the sketch from January of that same year. Personally, I loved her experimentation with proportions and coloring, and the roughness she brought to this picture. It brightened my birthday considerably.

This is the last picture to date Sara has done of my cast of characters - at least, for public consumption. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them have been cavorting through her sketchbooks over the last two years. One day, I'm hoping to commission her for a return visit to the Owariverse. I have no doubt it will be epic.

This was intended to be the last installment of this series recapping the Captain Satellite crew's evolution in the hands of other artists. As mentioned back in April 2010, Lordwormm depicted a few of them in multi-character pieces alongside OCs from a wide array of other creators. It doesn't feel right for me to repost those here, although all of them can be seen by clicking the links provided in that entry. So I figured this was the end of the line as far as Cap art that either pre-dated this blog or wasn't posted when it was new.

As it turns out, I was wrong. I have TWO additional pieces to showcase in this series. However, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the artifacts I've unearthed. I know, so mean.

Friday, June 24, 2011

mp3 Madness - Round 2

Oh look, another one of these. Yep, it's another list of mp3s I've recently purchased. I'll make a few notes afterward. And yes, this round includes songs from artists that I usually don't follow. We're looking at you in particular here, Bread and Billy Joel.

  • "Couldn't Get It Right" - Climax Blues Band
  • "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You" - Leon Haywood
  • "I Love The Nightlife (Disco 'Round)" - Alicia Bridges
  • "Hold On" - Ian Gomm
  • "Isn't It Time" - The Babys
  • "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" - Ian Hunter
  • "Guitar Man" - Bread
  • "Help Me" - Joni Mitchell
  • "The Game Of Love" - Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders
  • "Get Off" - Foxy
  • "Kung Fu Fighting" - Carl Douglas
  • "Brand New Key" - Melanie
  • "Mike Oldfield's Single (Theme From Tubular Bells)" - Mike Oldfield
  • "Abacab" - Genesis
  • "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" - Billy Joel
  • "Chuck E.'s In Love" - Rickie Lee Jones
  • "Lotta Love" - Nicolette Larson
  • "Amos Moses" - Jerry Reed
  • "Where Have You Been All My Life" - Fotomaker
  • "Blow Yourself Up" - Tommy Hoehn
  • "Year Of The Cat" - Al Stewart
  • "Devil Woman" - Cliff Richard
  • "Superfly" - Curtis Mayfield
  • "Too Much Time On My Hands" - Styx
  • "Morgus The Magnificent" _ Morgus and the Three Ghouls

* I've already done entries on the Leon Haywood and Ian Hunter songs, so go search the archives if you don't remember those.

* I inexplicably love "Get Off", even though I wouldn't argue with you if you told me you found it terrible.

* "Mike Oldfield's Single" is about as disappointing as I could possibly imagine a substitute for "Tubular Bells".

* Fotomaker and Tommy Hoehn are acts that SHOULD have been bigger, but weren't. Seriously, these are great songs.

* The fake band "Morgus and the Three Ghouls" includes the fellow who would later go by Dr. John. This ode to a late night horror host is terrific!

Just like before, if you have any questions or comments on the contents of this list, feel free to leave them here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black X - 2011

Black X - 2011 by ~celamowari on deviantART

I've lately been thinking about the untapped potential of my character Black X. Unlike most of the characters I created in elementary school, he has a very primal quality that stands the test of time. I really would like to find a place for him in the Owariverse one of these fine days, but I really need to do stuff with the characters already there first. There's also some continuity revision that I think I'd like to do, but that's a story for another time.

Anyway, I decided to draw Black X to get back into the art swing of things. I did a digitally-colored portrait of him in 2007, which can be seen here or here (oddly, it generated no comments at all). This time, I elected to use the pencil-shading I utilized for the "My Legion" pics also from 2007. Given Black X's outfit, he was uniquely suited for this treatment.

This picture also gave me the opportunity to test-run my new scanner, and work out the kinks in its settings. I chose to not do any digital clean-up at all, and instead present this one essentially "as is". Though by no means a masterpiece, this Black X pic is the most satisfying piece I've done from a personal standpoint in a long, long time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fighting TV Dragons

I keep forgetting to follow up on this entry from last year, even though I did purchase and finish FIGHT! DRAGON - eventually. I have to say, I think it took me longer to watch the series than it took for it to originally air. But no matter, it's still worth discussing the show. Too bad the Mill Creek Youtube account has gone the way of the dodo, and taken the FIGHT! DRAGON video with it.

FIGHT! DRAGON has great action, just like many of the classic Japanese superhero shows of its era, and Yasuaki Kurata does a fine job holding the thing together. I was less taken by the supporting cast, specifically the comic relief who genuinely started to grate on me after awhile. I guess if he'd been portrayed as more effective, albeit goofy, it wouldn't have bothered me as much. As it was, he came across as a waste of space.

There are some good villains in the show too, though I have to confess that I miss the outrageous monster costumes and more over-the-top stuff which characterizes the superheroes. It was nice when folks like Susumu Kurobe and Shunsuke Ikeda turn up in supporting roles, and I was delighted to see wrestler Mammoth Suzuki (of THE WAR IN SPACE) as an adversary that didn't have to wear a big furry suit.

The scripting by Masaru Igami (every episode!) is pretty good, with a few episodes that stand out due to nice plot twists. It sure looks as if he had to change some plans along the way, and as a result, assassin's guild SHADOW gets a bit muddled. That ultimately leads into the rather anti-climactic non-ending ending of the series. What a disappointment that was.

I suppose I can see the merits of ending FIGHT! DRAGON the way they did, but it sure feels as if the whole thing comes up woefully short. Thinking about it, they were probably painted into a corner and simply unable to pull off a truly satisfying finale by the 26th episode. Since there would be no sequels (right?), we're left with an open ending. It's far from the worst, but I had hoped for more.

FIGHT! DRAGON is a good quality series, even if maddeningly imperfect, and you can still probably find it for relatively cheap. Buy it, watch it, love it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Undercover Alan

I know what you're thinking. You love the song "Undercover Angel", and you want a site from the guy who both sang it and wrote it. Isn't that right?

Well, you are in luck. Alan O'Day is that person, and he does have a site. In fact, it is There you can learn more about his music and his career, including the story of the Helen Reddy song "Angie Baby" that he also penned. You can even buy a CD of his album!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Big Bang On The Horizon

Let's recap. Big Bang Comics was an independent comic book series that launched in the 1990s. Though it first appeared through Caliber Press, it became best-known by an almost ten year publishing relationship with Image Comics. There was later a self-publishing effort that lasted roughly a year, and more recently, a POD comic that I reviewed in February.

On a more personal note, Big Bang Comics is my favorite post-1990 comic series. Though I was reluctant at first to get too attached, it won me over as the years progressed with its delightful cast of characters and strong creators. Make no mistake about it - it was the retro storytelling that first lured me to Big Bang, but it was the quality of work that inspired me to be a fan. I used to write a letter of comment on every single issue, and while they weren't always necessarily views I still hold, I do miss the level of fannish delight it inspired in me.

Well, there still isn't an official announcement yet, but this little image recently surfaced from Bill Cunningham of Pulp 2.0 Press. It is reproduced with his kind permission.

Well. How do you like that?

I am sure more info will be coming in the days and weeks ahead via the Pulp 2.0 blog and the Pulp 2.0 Facebook page. Meanwhile, Pulp 2.0 Press already has some books in print that definitely look like they are worth checking out. I know I've had my eye on those Donald Glut books as I soon as I saw them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Award-Winning Bob Haney

Here's some nice news. Mark Evanier posted yesterday that Bob Haney and Dell Connell have been chosen to be the recipients of this year's Bill Finger Award for Achievement in Comic Book Writing. I must confess that I'm not very familiar with Mr. Connell's name, but that's the whole point of the award. His credits are certainly impressive, and it's heartening that he's still around to receive the award in San Diego this summer.

Ah, but Bob Haney. I've waxed poetic about his work many times in the past. He didn't get much credit during his heyday, and it's only been comparatively recently that he has gotten any accolades at all. I'm really pleased he's getting this recognition for his work. I wish he was also still around to accept it, but knowing that he was so warmly received at the San Diego Comic Con when he attended during his lifetime eases that a mite.

Congratulations to Dell Connell and Bob Haney!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Want'a Be Like Leon Haywood

I discovered the song "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You" by Leon Haywood last year, and it was one of those moments where you wonder why it took so long. It is sheer perfection in its overwrought excess. Give it a listen!

I recently purchased this song on Amazon. In doing so, I noticed the album cover art for The Best of Leon Haywood.

There is nothing about this picture that I don't love. Well, except for the fact that I don't have a large-size version I could hang on my wall.

I want to call special attention to Leon's stylish belt emblazoned with "FREAKY" spelled out in (apparently) rhinestones. I have a birthday coming up, and I do believe I have found a potential present. So no one can say I didn't give you any ideas!

And before you ask: Yes, I would not only wear it, but take pictures while I am wearing it. When you ask for a big belt that says "FREAKY", you are pretty much obligated to wear it. And really, why wouldn't I?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Godzilla News Worth Mentioning

Oh, hey, it turned out that August Ragone was right after all. There will indeed be a Media Blasters release for GODZILLA VS. MEGALON - and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, too! How do you like that?

I am too old and tired to get particularly worked up over such a thing, especially considering people will forever and always bellyache that the releases are not up to their standards. In some ways, I share that feeling - I am a perfectionist who not only lives in an imperfect world, but is far too imperfect myself. I am, however, looking forward to getting these two movies on Region 1 DVD at last. Well, I already have a DAM DVD, but it will be cool to have one that actually has chapters this time. Ah, the magic of late 90s DVDs.

Monday, June 13, 2011

mp3 Madness - Round 1

Now that I have both the connection and the computer to do it, I've been taking more of an interest in purchasing mp3s. Yes, I know - seriously behind the curve here, technology-wise. Hey, you do what you gotta do, y'know. Anyway, it's no secret that I have wildly eclectic musical tastes. All you need to do is click the "music" label on my blog to see all the genres I cover. To highlight this, I thought it might be fun to list the mp3s I've purchased since late April.

(These are in no particular order, except this is how they are in my Downloads folder.)

  • "The Chase" (Theme from Midnight Express) - Giorgio Moroder
  • "Gimme Dat Ding" - The Pipkins
  • "Go All The Way" - Raspberries
  • "In The Summertime" - Mungo Jerry
  • "Revolution" - Los Lobos
  • "She's About A Mover" - Sir Douglas Quintet
  • "Sky High" - Jigsaw
  • "Suspicion" - Terry Stafford
  • "Tom's Diner" - DNA feat. Suzanne Vega
  • "Funky Fanfare" - Keith Mansfield
  • "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)" - Al Green
  • "Super 16" - Neu!
  • "Coconut" - Harry Nilsson
  • "Groovy Situation" - Gene Chandler
  • "Hot Rod Lincoln" - Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen
  • "Dinner With Drac (Part 1)" - Zacherle
  • "Jim Dandy" - Black Oak Arkansas
  • "Sexy Mama" - The Moments
  • "Super" - Neu!
  • "Lady Love" - Lou Rawls
  • "Patches" - Clarence Carter
  • "Dinner With Drac (Part 2)" - Zacherle

Whew! Quite the list, eh? I'm sure there are songs you love on there, and maybe a few where you lose a little respect for me that I paid money for them. Haha! I'm sure there are a few that are a mystery too, so feel free to ask about my reasons why I bought these particular tunes.

Friday, June 10, 2011


As we hurtle toward the weekend, I have learned of some exciting (to me!) news that will be going out next week. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about the return of an old friend of OWARI. It will be something to see, I am sure.

Meantime, please enjoy Brother Midnight and Sweet Daddy Cadillac in possibly the finest wrestling promo ever captured.

Seriously, would I steer you wrong?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Rocket Racecar

There are innumerable things I love about the Owariverse taking shape as a thing. One of them is that it allows me to make long-standing dreams of mine come true. I had always thought that Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson needed a souped-up, retro-styled car to tool around Major City. However, my ability to draw vehicles is even weaker than my ability to draw people. So the idea barely made it onto paper.

Lo and behold, Kabuki Katze has finally helped me realize the dream via this commission. I asked her to use the 1957 Chevrolet as the starting point, with a few specially-requested modifications thrown into the mix. Despite never really drawing cars before, she came through like a winner once again.

It thrills me to see this sleek, flight-capable set of wheels pop out of my imagination, and I sure hope you like it, too. You can check out Kabuki's dA page for it here. Lots of love, and it should play an important role in my next big Captain Satellite project.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Revolutionary Revelation

There is a song that has been plaguing me for...gosh, I think it's been a couple of years now. I would hear a snippet of it here and there, but could never get the opportunity to give it a good, close listen. All I knew for certain was that it had percussion that I loved.

Well, not too many weeks ago, I finally - FINALLY - got the chance to listen to this song closely. When I did, I picked out the word "revolution" in the lyrics. That, as they say, did the trick. The song turned out to be "Revolution" by Los Lobos!

This is the point where I usually link you to a Youtube video for the song in question. I cannot this time, because there does not seem to be a single one for "Revolution"! Instead, I will direct link you to the Amazon song sample from the album Colossal Head. If you like it, you should consider purchasing the song or the whole album.

Another of life's little mysteries solved. If only all of them tied up so neatly, eh?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

REPOST: BREAKING NEWZ--DC, Reboots, Tacos--Yes, This Is Totally A Thing

Wow, are you sick yet of the hype about DC restarting their entire line from scratch? Well, it's only just begun, so I am sure there will be plenty of time for everyone to get sufficiently tired of the whole business. Me? I will just contentedly read my old comics while the world, somehow, keeps on turning.

But fear not! My brother-in-arms Kazekage has stepped forward to rip the lid off the "TRUE" behind-the-scenes story of this amazing company-wide initiative. There's also the incentive offer that has been swept under the rug until now. No more!

BREAKING NEWZ--DC, Reboots, Tacos--Yes, This Is Totally A Thing

You're welcome.

In unrelated (or is it???) comic news, I have discovered that famed BATMAN actor Adam West shares his name with another actor. Or perhaps that should be "actor"? If you feel like checking out the very-NSFW evidence, it is right here.

C'mon, didn't he know?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Late Night Thoughts

This isn't a terribly interesting entry, so you are more than welcome to skip it. If anything, it recalls the sort of posts that frequently populated my now-inactive Livejournal account. I think I write these sort of things more for myself than anything else.

I have a problem, but I don't think it is the one that everyone believes. I am still dealing with a perhaps irrational fear that is 15 years old. There are a number of other factors that affect my life options, but getting over the fear is the biggest in my mind. It also doesn't help that my fear has been essentially reinforced several times since it developed. Well, that's no damn good.

I'm in a good place at the moment to put this fear to bed for good. The question is, will I? I'm happy with who I am, but I really feel like I get little respect for that. And I suppose I can understand. Try as I might, I don't come across as someone who's particularly...earned that, maybe? Long story.

Thing is, at some point, my life must change. Will I control that change, or will I just be swept away by it (again)? I thought I had found an answer a few times, but I need to make my own. And maybe, just maybe, the opportunity to start that has been presented to me.

There is a certain freedom afforded when you stop caring about something, and Sunday at least, I reached that point about what I was doing. That doesn't mean I have to change overnight, but it does give me added motivation. Because I want to care about what I'm doing.

This is, obviously, a boring and somewhat vague entry. My apologies. I don't know if it's going to lead anywhere short-term...or even long-term. But I am tired - so, so tired. Maybe it will take a kick in the ass to get me started as far as where I need to go.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want to make the best of what my life has to offer. And too often, I don't think I have.

Good night. I'll try to return next time with something people might eventually want to read.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's This, What's This?

Oh, this? It's a sample of a recent project that I commissioned Kabuki Katze to do for me. I usually wait these things out and let her post them first on deviantArt (allowing me to link to the page!), but this particular endeavor was undertaken for David McRobie and Xenorama. So I thought I'd give everyone a glimpse of what the future holds for Xenorama!

This particular entry is also a signal to both Kabuki and David to check their respective e-mails, if they haven't already. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"My Ward Is A Jerk!"

A few years ago, my sister gave me THE SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY ARCHIVES Volume 1 as a gift. It reprints the first four adventures of that titular team from the 1940s, which numbered Green Arrow and his sidekick Speedy among its members. It's a decent read - nothing terribly groundbreaking, but acceptable material for the time period.

This is also one of those books that felt the need to add the caution that the stories "were produced in a time when racism played a larger role in society both consciously and unconsciously."

Think they were kidding? Well, you'll need to enlarge this image to be able to read it, but trust me, you'll get the idea. (Oh, and sorry about the blurry edge there.)

Wow, hyperbole and casual racial remarks. Speedy, you definitely hit the bullseye that day.

Source - SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY ARCHIVE Vol. 1 (2005), reprinted from LEADING COMICS #1 (Winter 1941-42). Story : Mort Weisinger. Art : George Papp. Green Arrow, Speedy, and art © DC COMICS.