Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reconsidering Toni Basil

(Forgive me if I'm a bit off tonight - I just switched to the new interface and I'm trying to get adjusted to it. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you have heard some of this already. Sorry.)

Toni Basil is known primarily for that big 1980s hit song "Mickey". I see no need to link to that video today, since almost all of you will know it and either love it or loathe it. That was most of what I knew, too. Oh, I was aware of her career to a point. I knew she was an accomplished dancer and choreographer and that she had even done some acting. Let's just say I hadn't spared a lot of brainpower thinking about Toni Basil. At least, not until last night.

Don't ask me how, but I wound up watching more Toni Basil music videos than I ever dreamed existed. Most of the videos themselves are actually pretty cool. "Mickey" is memorable in its minimalism, but other than the standard white studio background, it doesn't have a lot in common with the rest. Well, there is apparently one where the cheerleader get-up returns, but I'm not sure exactly which one that is yet. Point being, for my being unaware they existed, these videos are quite well-done for their time. There is plenty of great dancing, and inventive gimmicks are on display.

The SONGS, on the other hand, are largely nothing to get excited about. Most of the originals are just OK - I didn't find that many to be especially memorable, but they weren't particularly bad. The glaring exception is "Shopping From A To Z" which...must have seemed like a good idea at the time. If it had just been relegated to an album track, it could be forgiven. Yet somehow, it was decided that "Shopping From A To Z" would be the single that followed "Mickey" in the United States. I guess they thought it was the annoying aspects of the hit record that sold it, and "Shopping" manages to top "Mickey" in that respect. Seriously, this song is omitted from the "Best of Toni Basil" collection (yes, such a thing exists). What does THAT tell you right there?

Toni Basil's pair of albums also have plenty of cover tunes. The most famous is "Mickey" itself, which is based on the song "Kitty" originally performed by the band Racey (with a male lead vocal). There are, however, others - including "Rock On" of all things. What caught my attention was the fact that Basil covered not one, not two, but THREE Devo songs! What's more, Devo accompanies her on those tracks!

See, at one time, Basil was dating Gerald Casale from Devo. I don't know if the timeline is they were dating and then they collaborated, or they collaborated and then they were dating. Regardless, Toni Basil's Word of Mouth LP includes "Space Girls" ("Space Girl Blues"), "Be Stiff" and "You Gotta Problem" ("Pity You"). Except for the second, none of these are high profile Devo songs. It's easy to miss them. But they are there, and they are great.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society

This site showed up on my radar thanks to our friends at Pulp 2.0 Press, and I must say I find it completely charming. I mean, I think it's obvious why topless women would appeal to me, and certainly that's the hook that gets your attention. However, any site that has the slogan "Making reading sexy" is OK in my book. There's already been enough inquiries about the books themselves that there is a page devoted to giving information about them. I personally think this is awesome.

Obviously, this site is NSFW (unless your job doesn't mind partial nudity, in which case are there any openings?), but there is nothing offensive about it. It's just pretty women reading books. Without tops. (And I'll retract that endorsement if it ever becomes something that is offensive.) If that sounds like something you'd like to see, check out The Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society!

Monday, August 29, 2011

See, because he...and, skip it

In all honesty, fella, you pretty much are.

Source - More fun (haw!) from SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY ARCHIVE Vol. 1 (2005), reprinted from LEADING COMICS #2 (Spring 1942). Story : Mort Weisinger(?). Art : Creig Flessel. Art © DC COMICS.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Clones of Bruce Lee

Regrettably, I have never had the chance to see one-time VHS stalwart THE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE. However, it is definitely on my "to do" list. I mean, it has four different Bruce imitators, wrapped up in a lot of pseduo-science involving cloning. Oh, and add in Yang Sze, too. I swear he was in every third martial arts movie ever produced.

There's also the little matter of this even longer alternate trailer for the movie. Wait, it also has low-budget 18 Bronzemen and a bevy of nude women? Can this movie get any better?

I rather suspect THE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE is terrible. But, that's kind of the point, isn't it?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not One Hit Wonders After All

The term "one hit wonder" with regards to music has become almost useless thanks to overuse. Have I really seen Rick Springfield referred to as a one hit wonder? I know "Jessie's Girl" is the one everybody remembers best, but the man had sixteen other Top 40 hits - including 4 others in the Top 10. You can call Springfield a lot of things, but a one hit wonder sure isn't one of them

(And before anyone asks, I happen to like Rick Springfield's music. There. I said it. But that's not the topic at hand.)

In discussing the whole one hit wonder thing, there is a peculiar class of artist that gets tagged with the label all the time. These are the singers or bands who scored one monster hit, then followed it up with a lesser hit that has since been forgotten. As a result, they get branded "one hit wonders" even though they aren't. I doubt they complain about it, though, since at least people still talk about them.

Here are five "one hit wonders" who aren't, plucked from 1970s & 80s music (which is what I know best):

1)Starbuck ("Moonlight Feels Right", #3)

Almost exactly a year after their big hit, they returned to the Top 40 with "Everybody Be Dancin'". It got as high as #38 before disappearing into the ether after two whole weeks in the Top 40.

2)Henry Gross ("Shannon", #6)

After scoring with possibly the saddest song ever written about a dog, Henry made a 2 week cameo in the Top 40 with "Springtime Mama" ascending to #37. Does anyone who isn't already a huge Henry Gross fan remember this song?

3)Looking Glass ("Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)", #1)

Not only did Looking Glass break a single from their follow-up album, it's a pretty good companion piece to "Brandy". "Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne" still only reached as high as #33 during its 3 week stint in the Top 40.

4)Tommy Tutone ("867-5309/Jenny", #4)

The crazy part is not that Tommy Tutone managed another hit besides what I affectionately refer to as a gleefully perverse love song. No, what's crazy is that "Angel Say No" was on the charts almost two years before that famous temptation for phone pranksters. "Angel Say No" got as high as #38 and stayed only 2 weeks in the Top 40.

5)Stacey Q ("Two of Hearts", #3)

I only juuuust barely remember Stacey Q in the first place, but she looked like she might possibly be the Next Big Thing in 1986. Alas, "We Connect" only made it as high as #35 (though it spent 4 weeks in the Top 40 - kinda weird, actually) before it vanished. But it looks like she is still hanging in there, and good for her.

I might do another little survey like this in the future, because the pop charts are loaded with anomalies that fascinate me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My World : Girago

“RAAAAWR! Flee, puny Earthlings! I am Girago, of the planet Goomador! I have arrived to conquer your planet and enslave the human race! Resistance is futile! Not even your Captain Satellite can save you from my awesome power! Soon, all of you shall bow before GIRAGO!”

Will Girago triumph? Or can our heroes Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson thwart this terrorizing titan? Well…what do you think?

Girago was born from the simple desire to incorporate more monsters into my cosmology. He is inspired in large measure by the type of beings seen in Stan Lee/Jack Kirby monster comics from the days prior to the arrival of the Fantastic Four and Marvel Comics as we know it today. While I love giant monsters in general, there is something peculiarly awesome about the Atlas style.

I really like the basic design of Girago, so I was disappointed I had such a tough time inking him. Why? I guess I just had an off night. Did some digital correction to smooth out the worst of it, but thicker lines seemed to suit him anyway. His obligatory monster purple shorts ended up riding up on him kinda funny (one supposes), so the leg perspective looks askew as a result. Oh well, not as if anyone is coming to my blog for fine draftsmanship!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amazing Girl Is Amazing

Ah yes, there was a reason for this entry unearthing more of Sara's art. As you can see, I now have a commission by her longtime pal Kabuki Katze of Amazing Girl. And yeah, a click for full-size will reveal just how amazing it truly is!

After much second-guessing, I've found a way to integrate Amazing Girl into my Owariverse that satisfies me. I haven't gotten around to posting that profile yet, but it is ready to go. And though the magazine and its associated blurbs were all devised by Kabu herself, the reference to Whitney DeKalb should leave no doubt that Amazing Girl is now rubbing elbows with Captain Satellite, Shelly Ericson, and the rest.

If you'd like (and why not, sez I?), you can check out KK's posting of this piece over dA way. And yet, perhaps you are wondering how Synthetic Platypus factors into this renaissance for Amazing Girl even more than she could've guessed in 2009. Or maybe you are wondering where Muscle Woman is while all this is going on.

Patience, dear readers. All shall come in time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Atomic Comics

As I was lurking on Twitter last night, I saw a retweet (by whom, I did not even notice) that the Atomic Comics retail chain in Arizona had shut down. Further looking and playing follow the links led me to the sad conclusion that this news was on the level. Today, we got confirmation from owner Mike Malve that it's true. All 4 Atomic Comics stores have been closed permanently.

I think it's silly to try to frame this as an "Oh no, comics are doomed!" argument when we know so little as to why it happened. Certainly, it can't be good for the industry when such a high profile retailer goes under. But does it mean comics are finished? Of course not. Everyone tries to equate comics to book stores or music stores, but that misses the fact that comics are unique in that they are entertainment, they are art, and they are collectibles. No one approaches comic books for exactly the same reason, and that is one of their strengths. Certainly, online ordering and digital comics will have an impact on the industry, but there is a sense of community that they can never replace for a segment of the population when it comes to the local comic shop. I know if my store went away, it wouldn't be the comics I miss, but the ability to drop in and see what was happening.

On a more personal note, I was lucky enough to visit Atomic Comics in its early days, and have an awesome experience there. More recently, I went by the Mesa store a couple of times when I was visiting my friend Sara. In fact, the last time that Sara and I got to hang out together and have fun was when we went by there one Sunday evening. I bought a couple of 1970s Justice League of America issues, while Sara bought a volume of Adam Warren's Empowered. So I will always associate Atomic Comics with happy memories - finding old comics, spending time with friends, talking tokusatsu, Japanese toys & G-Fan with the owner and namechecking people like Damon Foster and Igadevil along the way. And that is why I mourn for its loss, because those memories become a little more distant now that Atomic Comics is no more.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I know what you're thinking out there. "Chris, if you're writing about the TV show MEGALOMAN, you misspelled it in the title." Well, I am, but I didn't.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let It Be Duly Noted

I was re-reading this entry on the "lost issue" of OWARI when I realized that it contains a critical omission. Due to some lapse on my part, not only did I not LINK to ROJ creator Lewis Smith when discussing the ROJ material he wrote and drew for that issue, but I somehow failed to even mention his NAME in the entry. What was wrong with me? Since that post is already out there and read by most of the people who are going to read it, I figured the best course of action is to create a NEW entry to correct this oversight.

Let it be known for the record that Lewis Smith is a talented guy who was instrumental in the founding of OWARI in 1995. Some accuse him of being "criminally liable" for this action, but ignore those people. He blogs at Witless Prattle and has a killer gallery over at deviantArt. He also has sites devoted to his ongoing projects Gunmetal Black and Seven Spheres Legend. It is possible he is magic. Give him all your money.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DC Comics Retroactive 1970s

I have been meaning to write something about this "event" for a little while, but the hitch in my plan was that I was avoiding reading the comics in question. Why? Just apathy, really. I bought them more because I felt they were aimed at an audience like me, and I wanted to encourage that. However, I wasn't sure how enthusiastic I was about the product.

Well, despite my misgivings that you can't go home again, I read all six of the 1970s-themed books recently, and I liked them a lot. To explain for those of you out of the loop, the conceit in the "Retroactive" books is that the clock is turned back to the decade in question and we are presented with a story from that era. DC has recruited veteran writers for this project - Len Wein, Cary Bates, Denny O'Neil, and Marty Pasko on the 70s books. Sadly, the artist ranks from that decade are somewhat thinner as far as who is still with us, but they managed to bring in a few folks active during that decade.

There are six books that are getting the "retro" treatment. Can you guess? It's only the most recognizable and marketable properties in the DC stable: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Justice League. Ironically, two of those (WW and GL) did not sell especially well for a time in the 70s, and JLA was at one point flirting with cancellation! My, how times change.

I can't pinpoint a favorite book among the sextet I have read. Perhaps the most interesting to me personally are the Superman and Batman books, because Pasko and Wein (respectively) have immersed them in the late 70s continuity for those titles back when they were writing for them. I'd say Cary Bates does a better job on his Flash tale than his Justice League, though he clearly seems to be enjoying giving his retro tales a modern spin. And hey, who knew Hal Jordan was a Pink Floyd fan? O'Neil's GL could have fallen directly out of a time warp from his latter-day, post-relevance run, while the Wonder Woman is...well, an odd duck. It's entertaining, and recalls some of the stories he crafted in the late 60s/early 70s. It just doesn't exactly fit a particular era for the Amazing Amazon. Perhaps that's a good thing.

Kudos to whoever got Eduardo Barreto to handle the Superman book. Not sure if he did anything for DC in the 1970s, but he has a style that fits very well with someone like Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (who doesn't appear, regrettably). Tom Mandrake on Batman was good, and whoever thought to get J. Bone for Wonder Woman is a smart one. It was really neat to see Mike Grell reunited with O'Neil on a GL/GA story, and quite heartening to see a couple of other old pros doing some inking. Sal Buscema (not a DC guy in the 1970s, but a Marvel mainstay in those days) inked the Flash book, while Ernie Chan inked the JLA cover, recalling the time when he was a go-to cover artist for DC as "Ernie Chua". Now, if only they had gotten his name right in the credits...

These are all solid if unspectacular books. Each is backed with classic reprints, but the choices almost feel random at times. If you are a regular comics, I'm sure YMMV. However? If you are one who pines away for the good old days and still rejects these books entirely, I really don't know what to tell you. You aren't going to get mainstream superhero comics more authentic as far as being old school. But then, people usually want comics the way they remember them, rather than the way they were.

I'd like to review the 1980s and 1990s installments of this initiative, but a) I am missing a couple of the 80s books at the moment and b) I am unsure if I can muster the enthusiasm for all 6 of the 90s titles. So, we'll see.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On This Day In 1974...

So yeah, the vintage edition of AMERICAN TOP 40 I heard this weekend was the one from August 17, 1974. While I always enjoy the shows, the music content can be hit or miss at times. There were a number of songs I like or love on this program, but also a few I never need to hear again. Sorry to all you Dave Loggins fans, but that's just the way it is.

There was one especially hilarious moment that marked this episode as being so of its time. Seems one listener had submitted a question that was a bit unorthodox. He was a fan of the Rolling Stones, while his mother was a big fan of Frankie Laine. He asked Casey which artist had more Top 40 hits, Frankie or the Stones. This was apparently an attempt to settle a disagreement with his mother over which was better. Yes, seriously.

Considering this was 1974, it should come as no surprise that Frankie Laine came out on top in that competition. The result might be different today, but Laine had almost 20 years head start on Mick, Keith, and the boys. However, that's not the funny part. Casey did the teaser before a commercial break as usual, but when he did the set-up for the question itself, he said the two acts were as different as Mary Poppins and Linda Lovelace!

As I laughed out loud, I noted that this definitely was a show from 1974. And you get no points for figuring out which artist was which in that particular analogy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

OWARI: The Lost Issue (1997-98)

In my review of the checkered past of the fanzine incarnation of OWARI, it seems only appropriate to discuss the issue I labored over for much of 1997 and 1998. The problem is that it doesn't exist. I abandoned that version of OWARI #4 before it was ever completed, and much of what was prepared has subsequently been either lost or filed separately from the layouts of the published issues. Still, I can reconstruct for you what would have been in that issue, and also why it was fated to remain incomplete.

The cover feature for OWARI #4 was intended to be an article by David McRobie about the film GODZILLA'S REVENGE. I had even settled on the cover, which would have spotlighted Gabara to cheese off a certain contingent of the Godzilla faithful. If all had gone to plan, the article would have been printed as David submitted it. That would have been good, but it also would have meant that there would have been few, if any, pictures. That would have been bad. This won't be the last you'll be hearing of this article in the OWARI chronicles, but it was originally meant to appear in the fourth issue.

Also slated for the fourth issue was the original version of the third "Return of Jetman" story. You can read the current version right here. Elsewhere on the ROJ site, I discuss the fact that my editing input was starting to go a bit far by this time, so it's likely just as well that the version that was prepared for OWARI #4 never saw the light of day. You can, however, see the color version of a frontpiece that would have been relegated to B&W in the issue by clicking here.

Ronnie Burton's "The Kaiju Detective" column was scheduled to return as well, with coverage of KING KONG ESCAPES for #4. I never published this, did I? For the life of me, I cannot explain to you exactly why it never appeared in print - especially since I ran "The Kaiju Detective" as a feature in later issues. So I suppose this article is really and truly "lost", and I deeply regret that. Hopefully, the manuscript and/or layout is lurking in my files somewhere.

I am a little sketchy on this part, but I am pretty sure Marc Dunworth had submitted something to me for inclusion in this issue as well. Was it toy reviews? I think so. I recently reconnected with Marc and his memory matched mine with regard to the fate of his submission. Since he sent it "cold" (in other words, I hadn't requested it), I passed it along to another fanzine editor for possible use in his publication. I want to say that editor was none other than Jerry Cornell, another contributor to OWARI #3.

You may notice in my listing of contents of this "lost" issue, there is something missing - namely, my own work. That's one of the big reasons why this issue never happened. I had considerable difficulty putting together anything of my own to fill out the issue. And since I was still persevering with the format seen in #3, there was a lot of filling out that needed to be done. And yet, beyond Bone Ghidorah, I did not have a single doggone piece ready for publication for this incarnation of OWARI #4.

There were, however, plenty of near-misses that almost became part of the issue:
  • At the end of OWARI #3, I promised to review some of the recent books dedicated to Japanese science-fiction that had been published. Not only did this never happen, but I never even began it. Considering the turmoil in Godzilla fandom at the time, I probably avoided a lot of problems.

  • I floated the idea of doing a retrospective on THE WAR IN SPACE in honor of its 20th/21st anniversary as either a submission to a bigger 'zine or something in OWARI itself. Again, though I do have a rough draft of an article covering that movie in my files from this era, this went nowhere.

  • During this time, I was working on a particularly angry piece of fanfiction I called "Red King's Revenge". Thematically, it would have fit the issue, and probably earned me a lot of enemies. It didn't matter, since it was never completed. The rough draft has seemingly disappeared, but I wrote about it a few years ago on my old LiveJournal. I should probably resurrect that piece and revamp it for this forum.

  • Given the positive feedback I got on the "El Beardo" nonsense in #3, I tried to write a biography for the character. I have no idea how that would have come across back then, but I later drew from the mythology built up around His Beardiness and crafted something along those lines years later.

  • Contrary to the way it seems, I did complete at least two articles for possible use in OWARI #4. One was an appreciation of sentai music and another was a sorta review of MAZINGER Z VS. GENERAL DARKNESS. Neither got much good initial feedback, and honestly, they didn't deserve it. The sentai article was largely hopeless beyond the initial conceit of being a top 10 list. The Mazinger article was marginally better, but it was shooting for something well beyond my abilities at that time. I pulled both of them and never found suitable replacements.
When I wrote about the end of the first phase of OWARI for the ROJ site, I said the following:
I stubbornly continued to work on the next issue of OWARI even though I knew I really couldn't publish it. [...] Eventually, the whole thing just petered out.

And that pretty much sums it up. My circumstances changed, and that prevented me from being able to focus on the issue. When they changed again for the better, I found my enthusiasm for the fandom that had led me to create OWARI had cooled. I had no desire to put all that work into a Japanese monster fanzine. By the time 1999 rolled around, I had decided that OWARI was finished.

But then, you know it really wasn't. The story of OWARI's surprising (even to me) return awaits in the next installment.

Monday, August 15, 2011

mp3 Madness - Round 4

We'll make up for the paucity of choices in the last round this time. There are over 20 songs!

  • "Will It Go Round In Circles" - Billy Preston
  • "Pop Muzik" - M
  • "19" - Paul Hardcastle
  • "Knock On Wood" - Amii Stewart
  • "Monster Mash" - Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers
  • "Turning Japanese" - The Vapors
  • "Sixty Second Interval" - The Vapors
  • "The Groove Line" - Heatwave
  • "Let It Whip" - Dazz Band
  • "The Ballad of Irving" - Frank Gallop
  • "The Breakdown" - Rufus Thomas
  • "Shake Some Action" - The Flamin' Groovies
  • "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" - Paula Cole
  • "The Warrior" - Scandal featuring Patty Smyth
  • "Summer Breeze" - Seals and Crofts
  • "Mr. Roboto" - Styx
  • "Ride Like The Wind" - Christopher Cross
  • "Don Quichotte" - Magazine 60
  • "Oh Yeah" - Yello
  • "Keem-O-Sabe" - The Electric Indian
  • "Little Bit O' Soul" - The Music Explosion
  • "New Orleans Ladies" - Louisiana's LeRoux
  • "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" - The Fortunes

Whew! That list is pretty eclectic. What looks good to you?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Amazing Girl and Muscle Woman by Sara Duffield (2007)

Yes, I remember that I declared this series over not long ago. And yes, I also remember that I linked to both these pieces in this previous installment. However, it seemed fitting to add Amazing Girl and Muscle Woman to the blog in their solo appearances by Sara.

Why? Uh, no reason. *cough*

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jet Jaguar Plush!

My comic shop didn't get their Previews from Diamond until this week, so I am dangerously behind the curve here. However, I have only just learned that a Jet Jaguar plush is coming out. Yes, you too can have your own soft, lovable version of Godzilla's robotic ally from GODZILLA VS. MEGALON.

...Please, someone convince me I don't need this.

Meanwhile, enjoy this post from our pal Sean Moore's Tumblr Brainsplosions!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pencilling The Celestials

I picked up a copy of Jack Kirby Collector #57 Wednesday and opened it up at random. What greeted me there was a double-page spread of Kirby pencils that I found so compelling that I almost HAD to buy the issue. It is a depiction of Arishem the Judge, one of the Celestials (among my favorite Jack Kirby concepts) from an early issue of Marvel's The Eternals.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aizenborg & Tatsumi Nikamoto

So, what do I have for you today? Oh, just a montage from the TV series KYORYU DAISENSO AIZENBORG (恐竜大戦争アイゼンボーグ; "Dinosaur War Aizenborg") dubbed in Arabic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Austin Idol, The Universal Heartthrob

I was familiar with pro wrestler Austin Idol prior to receiving a copy of his shoot interview from the extremely generous David McRobie, but had not really spent a lot of time thinking about him. So imagine my surprise that his stories maintained my interest for TWO HOURS. Seriously, I intended to just watch a little bit at a time and wound up going through all of it in one sitting.

I think the thing that struck me the most about the interview was that Idol certainly seemed to attempt to be honest. Yes, he put himself over on more than one occasion, but it sounded like his genuine opinion rather than lies told to make himself look good. Considering a couple of the stories he tells, where he definitely DOESN'T come across as a hero, I believe he made an effort to tell the truth. He was fuzzy on a lot of stuff, but it's been a long time. I can't imagine anyone pausing for so long and having an expression like he was groping for an answer if he was just feigning for effect. Austin Idol might have been good on interviews, but could he really be that good?

Overall, I found the interview very entertaining and insightful as far as both the business and Austin Idol himself. Idol was a guy who unabashedly did it for the money, and got out when more lucrative and stable opportunities presented themselves. He looks amazing for his age, sounds lucid, and appears to be in good health both physically and mentally. No matter what you think of him as a performer or a person, you have to give him credit for being really smart when it came to the wrestling biz.

You can order your own copy of this DVD by clicking here. And surprise, surprise, Austin Idol has set up his own website. You may learn more of his wisdom there. We're still waiting for that book!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Lights Are On...

I can't decide if the guy on the left is one of the worst actors I've ever seen, or one of the best.

Screenshot from SEX IN THE COMICS (1973?). The actress is the frankly fabulous Cyndee Summers.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I heard "Roaches" once on the syndicated radio program John Lander's Hit Music USA back in the 80s, and then never again. Bits of it stuck with me over the years, but I didn't remember the whole thing. I couldn't even tell you who had done it until just a couple of days ago.

Turns out, it was credited to "Bobby Jimmy and the Critters". "Bobby Jimmy" is a pseudonym for a gentleman named Russ Parr, who has ultimately found success in radio broadcasting. You can check out his website right here. I didn't see if he talks about the Bobby Jimmy days anywhere, but it would be hilarious if he did.

The song itself is a parody of Timex Social Club's "Rumors", which accounts for some of the references in it that seemingly make no sense. Of course, it then detours into a riff on "The Roof Is On Fire" and possibly one or two other songs. Not the greatest song parody, but kind of amusing. I am just astonished there is a music video for it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

JSA, Osamu Tezuka Style

JSA Tezuka by *ktino on deviantART

I stumbled across this Tezuka style homage to the classic Justice Society image from All-Star Comics #3 and fell in love with it. It's a tough choice to make, but I think the Hawkman may be my favorite. Ask me again tomorrow, and I might choose smug Hourman or sad Atom. Really, it's just great.

I also found the website for artist Kyle Latino and wanted to link that here, too. If you like his work (and he has a number of other fine pieces on display), show him some love!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dr. Diabolo

The Cavern of Dr. Diabolo by Sara Denny (2008)

I talked a little about Dr. Diabolo back in April 2010. Here's a refresher on what the Notes from Return of Jetman have to say about the guy.

"Dr. Diabolo was originally a character I created to battle my personal superhero Captain Satellite. The unusual spelling "Diabolo" (not a typo for "Diablo", as a gag much later spells out) derives from the time in high school in which one of my classmates was singing the praises of the Lamborghini Diablo and couldn't quite pronounce the name correctly."

Of course, no one ever told me that there REALLY IS something called a "diabolo" (it is a juggling prop). But that's not important today. Neither is the fact further outlined in that prior entry, which is that the doctor has become essentially divorced from his roots in my superhero stories and is not considered part of the Owariverse. No, we're here to talk about the design of the guy.

Sara at Synthetic Platypus was the artist charged with bringing Dr. Diabolo to life. I was deliberately vague in the details in the story, but there were still a few things that needed to be there. One was armor, and another was a cape. Beyond that? It was open season. Still, I had some ideas.

When explaining the commission to Sara, I equated Dr. Diabolo to Dr. Doom. This was a very logical thing to do, yet it ended up being problematic for her. Why? Despite being a comics reader, Sara had never read any comics with Dr. Doom. The only version she was familiar with was the movie version. Which, as you may recall, is not exactly a guy in armor.

Once we got THAT communication breakdown fixed, we then came to the matter of references. I actually had a certain sort of look in mind for the armor, though it was a visual nod to a robot rather than a human villain. I was thinking of the robot from the movie serial THE PHANTOM CREEPS as a source of inspiration. I think it was an advantage that there was no color scheme involved.

So Sara got a photo of the robot (in fact, that still) to use as a starting point. I'm sure you can see the elements she used in her interpretation of Dr. Diabolo. I do enjoy the variations though. That helmet, complete with pointy nose, whiskers, and monocle(!), is far funnier than anything that was wandering around my brain. And it was Sara who included the snazzy pattern for Doc's cape.

Sara was a bit of an overachiever in putting together this piece, as you can tell. Some of it pertains to the story (Big Face, the Flaming henchmen), while some of it is just a trip to in-joke city (the MAVERICK pinball machine). I really dig this piece, as it gave me way more than I bargained for when I commissioned it. If you like it, why not check out both the ROJ site and Sara's art page?