Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fallout of Falgout

I know I promised more Owariverse Encyclopedia by now, and it hasn't happened. It's still something in the works, but other things have pushed it back. But even though it's been delayed, I'll tell you a little bit about my process in creating one of the new characters.

One of my passions in creating original characters is giving them distinctive, or at least meaningful, names. I've used my fair share of common names, but there is something fascinating to me to throw in a surname like "Witchell." I've got a few of those in this new batch of OCs, but one in particular stands out to me because his name is part and parcel with his history.

I have happily mined my early years for characters and ideas. But some of them are more easily adaptable than others. I've never shied from whimsy, but you kinda want to ground everyone in the same sort of reality. That was why it had never occurred to me until recently to resurrect General "Nuke" Lee R. Fallout.

As you might gather from his name, General "Nuke" Lee R. Fallout was a war-lovin' character I created when the Cold War was still a very real thing. I never had any designs on using him in even a remotely serious context. He was a parody doodle, nothing more.

For whatever reason, I was thinking about the General as I was brainstorming characters for the Encyclopedia stuff. Why couldn't I create a general based on him? Except, what would his role be? Then I realized he would make an excellent Secretary of Defense, and that led to two more characters in my fictional President's cabinet.

That name, of course, would not do. Well, at least the nickname and surname. I tossed the former, but wanted something that at least alluded to the latter. This is where my point of origin came in handy, because the French name "Falgout" fit remarkably well. It doesn't sound quite the same, but it's close enough and looks a LOT like it. So General Lee R. Falgout is primed to receive an entry, as soon as I write the silly thing.

Oddly enough, I discovered later that the name "Falgout" does indeed have an armed forces connection. How do you like that?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Statement

I'm not in the best of moods as I write this entry. There are several reasons for that, but one of them (I am sorry to say) stems from this very blog. This is going to be a bit of a policy statement. It's not really for my regular/semi-regular readers who are all uniformly excellent; rather, this is for a handful of the many people who arrive here looking for something or other.

I am pretty laid back when it comes to comments. There have been a couple of comments over the years that I found questionable that I've left intact. I've responded to them, but never felt the need to delete them. I'm a big boy, and I know if you maintain a blog, someone will come around to give you a hard time. It's inevitable.

My easygoing nature doesn't extend to when you go after the people I consider my friends. I recently closed comments on an older entry - one of the more popular entries on this blog. Why? Because certain anonymous people couldn't behave themselves and play nice. They chose to post comments that seemed aimed at being embarrassing and humiliating rather than adding something positive to the discussion. I don't want to eliminate the ability to leave anonymous comments unless absolutely necessary, but my patience in policing this entry has worn thin. Therefore, no more comments on it.

I mean, take a look at this blog. Why would you think it's appropriate to use that sort of language and discuss those sort of things? I don't have to tolerate it, and I won't tolerate it. Take that sort of thing where it belongs. I'm not going to allow you to harass my friends on my blog just so you can get your jollies. Besides, your efforts to shame people are not going to work. Hate to break it to you, but we're bigger than that.

I'll try to be back with something that isn't quite so sour tomorrow. I apologize to all of my readers who are awesome. You far outnumber the people who have ticked me off, and I'm grateful that you take the time to peruse this little enterprise of mine.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The True Identity of Dr. Guardian

I am pretty positive that Igadevil was the one who first uncovered this link. I had lost it, but had sent it several years ago to my pal Ronnie Burton. When I mentioned it to him recently, he found the e-mail in his Inbox and forwarded it back to me. Capital guys, both of 'em.

This all goes back to the TV series JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT, aka GIANT ROBO. Until the advent of the Power Rangers in the 1990s, this was probably the most famous Toei tokusatsu show in the United States. As a result, it is firmly established alongside ULTRAMAN and THE SPACE GIANTS in the memories of the kids who grew up with it.

(Not for me, though. I never got to see any of them growing up. I think JOHNNY SOKKO is actually my favorite, though ULTRAMAN and THE SPACE GIANTS are fantastic shows.)

One of my enduring mysteries of JOHNNY SOKKO was, "Who is Dr. Guardian?"

Well, in the context of the show, Dr. Lucius Guardian is the guy who created Giant Robo under duress from the Gargoyle Gang and then gave Johnny the watch that allows him to control the robot. Sure, I know that. The thing that puzzled me was who was the actor playing him? I am more well-versed in gaijin in Japanese movies than the average person and couldn't place him. To my knowledge, I've never seen him in anything else. If he shows up, it's not in any kind of prominent role.

I got a partial answer when I received a DVD that included the Japanese opening credits for the first episode of GIANT ROBO. There was only one foreign name listed, and it was ジャック・オンガン. So that had to be Dr. Guardian.

Except the name itself was a bit...odd. It's phonetically "Jyakku Ongan." The first name seemed to be "Jack," but "Ongan" wasn't ringing any bells for me. I just wound up accepting it since Japanese cinema was filled with performers (many of whom were Turkish) with names that were wholly unfamiliar to me. I am looking at YOU, Osman Yusuf and Enver Altenby.

When Igadevil and I were debating this one night, my recollection is that he's the one who uncovered this list of French surnames and their katakana equivalents. There it was, tucked away as a parenthetical alternate rendering. It seems the usual method for this name is アンギャン, but sometimes オンガン is used instead. But both of them were katakana renderings of the French name ENGHIEN.

There was the answer. It was not "Jack," but rather "Jacques." Both names are written identically in katakana. Dr. Guardian was evidently played by a Frenchman. Whether he has additional roles in Japanese productions is unknown to me. But let the records show that the role of "Dr. Lucius Guardian" in the first episode of JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT is played by Jacques Enghien. Another minor mystery solved!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Only If You Want There To Be...

I have posted this link elsewhere, but honestly, this sort of thing deserves maximum exposure. And thaaaat's a pun right there. You'll see what I mean.

I've been checking the items available through VictoryBuy lately, for obvious reasons if you've been charting my Galaxy Laser Team posts. Last night, I clicked on "Pack 140 Battle Space Robot 1-3/4 inch (44mm) Toy Figures" because they looked interesting. They are based on the robots from MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM, though I suspect the manufacturer is unaware of this. As I read, I noticed a review so bizarre that I had to click over to the Amazon page to see it for myself.

"FYI: Some of the robots appear to have male genitals..." is apparently a serious review by someone who is convinced these tiny plastic robots have penises. They have even uploaded a picture to "prove" their assertion. But I dunno, sometimes a robot is just a robot. I don't recall any robot wang symbolism in GUNDAM, but maybe someone can remind me?

If you're seeing penises on tiny plastic robots, I suspect they only exist in your fertile imagination. On the upside, "Tiny Robot Penis" has entered my list of Great Potential Band Names. I suspect it has also entered my list of unsettling search terms that cause people to find this blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Evolution of Captain Satellite, Part 2

Captain Satellite - 1980s by ~celamowari on deviantART

In the second installment of this irregularly-scheduled (i.e., whenever I feel like it) series, we get to Captain Satellite himself. Or should I say "Captain Satallite?"

(By the way, much of this is cobbled together from the description I wrote on deviantArt back in 2007 when I originally uploaded this drawing. Word to the wise and all that.)

This might be the first piece of Captain Satellite artwork. Certainly, it is the oldest surviving example of the character. I'm not sure when it's from - possibly as early as 1983, possibly as late as 1985. My memory is that I thought of the guy during Sixth Grade recess one day. Who knows if that's right anymore?

As you can see, the Captain looked a bit different when originally conceived. I gradually discarded elements of the outfit, like the visible boot jets and wave pattern eyes. However, that old style satellite chest emblem hung around for years. I'm pretty sure I only dropped it because it was hard to draw it at a smaller size, and much of my art was downright miniscule doodles. But really, nothing was cast in stone about the Captain in those days. Heck, at this stage in development, I imagined his suit was yellow rather than the white that's become so entrenched.

What's even more fascinating (well, to me) is the fact that Captain Satellite was originally a VILLAIN! I pictured him as an adversary for the various superheroes I was playing around with at the time. Later, I had a change of heart and "killed off" the villainous Captain Satellite and replaced him with a second Captain who was a superhero. As time went by, Captain Satellite's villainous origins were forgotten entirely and the superhero version became the only version. That version was the one who evolved into the Captain Satellite we know today.

There was really nothing particularly special about either incarnation of Captain Satellite in those days. He had no secret identity or special hook that I recall. He was just another super character in a veritable army that sprang out of my head. Cap's advantage was that he had a name that fascinated me and a look that I rather liked. I'm sure that's why he got filed away for future reference in later years.

Of course, it took awhile to learn how to spell "satellite" properly.

More on this subject one of these fine days. At least, I don't think I've exhausted the possibilities just yet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Original Galaxy Laser Team Returns

I ventured into the attic last week, and as I observed on Twitter and Facebook, I remembered why it had been so long since I'd been in the attic. But? It was for a good cause. I finally excavated something I'd been promising a friend forever. And I also uncovered some old friends who have been on my mind these last couple of months.

Yes, part of the reason for my expedition upstairs was to find my original Galaxy Laser Team figures. You see a group shot of the survivors above. Out of a bag that was probably 31-36 figures, I still have 9. This is actually better than I thought, since a couple of them were in a different box than the ones I'd first unearthed back in 2007.

Looking at the assortment, I'm struck by how well these cheap figures hold up. I probably gave little thought to taking care of the Galaxy Laser Team over the years, and yet they still look pretty decent. The space hero is missing his antenna, though his helmet is so smooth at the top that I wonder whether this one came out of the factory without his. The space yetis are all suffering from broken antennae, with the black one already missing one. There are scuffs and wear, but doggone it, these things have lasted. Sometimes, cheap toys are the best toys.

As I think I've mentioned, I've never really been a serious toy collector. I can't say I'm becoming one, but the Galaxy Laser Team has come along at a point in my life when my long-term hobbies haven't been quite the same. They are nostalgic, they are relatively cheap, and they are fun. I'm quite grateful to Kirk Demarais for reminding me of them and Jeff Imell for reissuing them. It's been a good time revisiting my misspent youth.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Kitty" by Racey

So, does this sound familiar to you?

If you ever wondered why Toni Basil insisted to Mickey she could "take it like a man," now you know. She just left that line intact when she covered this song.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Smile Is Broken

My Smile Is Broken by ~celamowari on deviantART

No no, this is not an emo piece. Relax.

This plastic smiley face ball was in my car for years and years. Finally, age and the elements (extreme heat and extreme cold) caught up with it and it shattered. I haven't had the heart to throw it away, but couldn't think of a good purpose for it.

Then I thought that doing a picture with it might be interesting. Of course, my lighting is terrible here, but I did some things with filters and...well, I kinda like the result. I also have a B&W version, but am not sure which I prefer. That's why I defaulted to color.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Was It Called "Marvel Triple Action?"

Sometimes, I put a little extra thought into a comment and I think, "Hmmm, I should turn that into an entry on my blog." This is what happened here. David was discussing The Avengers #33, and I pointed out the mistake on that issue's cover was corrected for a reprint of the story in Marvel Triple Action #25. This led him to ask the question which is this entry's title. Here is my (re-edited) reply:

That's such a good question that I don't have the real answer for you, and don't know if there's ever been one offered (seriously). All I CAN say for certain is how the title was marketed:

1) The first few issues reprint Fantastic Four stories, but are promoted as starring the Thing, Doctor Doom, and the Silver Surfer. The first issue promises "3-in-1 Thrills!"

2) When the book shifted to the Avengers (the FF usually was reprinted in Marvel's Greatest Comics), the three "stars" were Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. This was fine until you get to The Avengers #16.

3) Eventually, the book was sold as just an Avengers title, but usually with three "bursts" touting stars. On #25, they are on the right of the logo. I doubt anyone bought the book on the basis of things like "Goliath and the Wasp!", but they kept up appearances. This practice was dropped in the last year of the book and they just ignored the fact that the title made no sense.

4) There was one period when the MTA name DID make sense, and that was ironically when it was briefly cancelled. It resurfaced as Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action and reprinted the Avengers, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange. The ongoing Giant-Size books were ended and MTA resumed its original numbering as an Avengers-only book again. Coincidentally, the first post-Giant-Size issue was #25. So yes, the story is "continued" from Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action #2.

Finally, to wrap this up, here are the GCD cover galleries for Marvel Triple Action and Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Galaxy Laser Team Beams Into OWARI HQ

If you recall this entry, I posted the picture of a lot of vintage Galaxy Laser Team figures I purchased on eBay. Well, they arrived last week, so I thought I'd give you an update on them. But first, I need to mention something.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OWARI #7 (March 2000)

I have to confess that, of all the issues I did of OWARI, #7 is the one that stands out the least in my memory. Until I look at it, I can't remember what it contains off the top of my head. This is not really an indictment of the quality of it compared to other issues. No, I think it indicates...well, I'll tell you when we get to the end.

One thing I would like to point out up top is a little achievement I quietly managed during 1999-2000. I had long resisted the temptation to put OWARI on a set schedule of any kind. I knew I could never adhere to such a thing, and omitting it gave me the flexibility to prepare issues at my own pace. However, from OWARI #4 (April 1999) through OWARI #7, I maintained a more or less quarterly schedule. THE KAIJU DETECTIVE BOOK ONE filled one of those slots, but it was still amazing to me then (and still is today) that I managed to publish five separate fanzines in the span of one year. I would never again achieve such a prolific output.

I led off with yet another Y2K reference, but in fairness, it was part of the zeitgeist in 2000. I compared it to the Jupiter Effect, which should tell you what I thought of that silliness. Sober-minded about predicted disasters, I have never been.

Our first order of business was a review of Golden Throats 3, one of those compilations of celebrity singing that Rhino used to issue. And say, remember the days when Rhino used to be about fun stuff? I purchased this album on cassette at Big Lots, which seemed quite appropriate. I am pretty fond of this collection, particularly the surreal awesomeness that is the French version of Lorne Greene's "Ringo".

I covered the Alan Moore comics label America's Best Comics, which was still pretty new at the time. The years have diminished my enthusiasm for these books. Alas, a lot of that is due to my antipathy toward Alan Moore these days, but that's a whole other story.

In a semi-charming return to roots, I talked about MONSTER ZERO and related how it was my first Godzilla movie. This was followed by plugs for both Scott Saavedra's COMIC BOOK HEAVEN fanzine and John Marshall's Toyzilla website. There is a CBH blog, but it appears to be inactive now. Scott can be found at his website. As for John, his current home seems to be John Marshall Universe, but it doesn't look like it has been updated in awhile. I kinda remember him having a blog, but I can find no sign of it.

The first feature of the issue is "The Kaiju Detective" by Ronnie Burton. Except it's not - rather, it's a sell for THE KAIJU DETECTIVE BOOK ONE. I don't think my inability to reach people with this 'zine had quite sunk in at this point, but I acknowledge that $5 is too much. A portent of things to come?

I ran an update feature following up on some of the topics from previous issues. Most notable from my perspective today is this:
There are plans afoot to revive at long last THE RETURN OF JETMAN, Lewis Smith's M.I.A. fan story. But saying it is "Coming Soon!" might be a trifle optimistic. Let's just say we are working on it.
As has been discussed elsewhere, this particular revival was not to be. This was really the first public sign of that.

I adapted an installment of my column "The Ranger Report" from Xenorama #13 into "A Supergiant Among Men." Both were concerned with the Japanese Starman films. Why didn't I reuse more material I'd written for Xenorama in the pages of OWARI? Beats me. I guess I was more averse to recycling material in those days than I am now.

"Your Tax Dollars At Work" is mostly my amazement over HUD documents that are written in Creole. It's the sort of thing that might merit a few lines, but I think I gave it too much space here. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Lewis Smith's column returns and it's both all-new and has a new name. "More Truth Than Reality" was a typo that cropped up somewhere in our correspondence, and I was so taken by the phrase that I knew immediately it had to be the name of Lewis' column. He wrote a wonderful piece on Dr. Madblood that I'd like to see him revisit someday. Here's hoping!

I concluded the issue with my "Tilting At Windmills With A Toothpick" column, in which I discussed pro wrestling, wondered how people could say METAL GEAR SOLID without laughing, and did a little review of 1999 both in personal and fanzine terms. I also hinted that I might be ending the column in future issues.

And that, friends and neighbors, was that. OWARI #7 was a decent enough issue, certainly no worse than the prior one. However, I was increasingly dissatisfied with the fanzine. What had felt like a breath of fresh air a year earlier now felt like I was repeating myself. Part of that was due, I suspect, to the very productivity that had driven me.

As I mentioned, OWARI #7 was the fifth fanzine I had produced in the span of a year. I think the goal of producing on a semi-regular basis led me to do things I probably wouldn't have done if I'd been taking my time. Certainly, that HUD thing didn't merit an entire page. It might not have deserved inclusion at all, but I had pages to fill and it was there. The big reason why I have trouble remembering what I wrote about in later issues of OWARI is because I didn't really have as much of a connection to the topics or the issues themselves as I did with earlier issues.

Between the difficult task of putting together THE KAIJU DETECTIVE and my need to put together the next issue of OWARI out almost as soon as I had finished the current one, I was in danger of burning out. At best, I was pretty disenchanted with much of the work I was producing. A brief hiatus to recharge and reconsider seemed to be the order of the day after OWARI #7

Sunday, September 16, 2012

At Last--An ROJ Update For You

As I strive to put a ribbon on Return of Jetman once and for all and leave it as an archive, I find that making the time for it is extraordinarily difficult. If I'm not motivated, I'm just not, and nothing will change that fact.

This said, there really is a new update. It's the long-awaited(?) return of NROJ Episode 5's Notes. This particular episode is notable to me for being the most difficult one in that series to finish. I have no excuses some four years later, but that story was like pulling teeth. It took over a YEAR to finish!

Now, you can read a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the process at your leisure.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Pop Muzik" by M

The mystery is not why "Pop Muzik" became one of the first so-called "new wave" records to top the American singles chart. It's an insanely catchy, fun song. Seriously, I have a friend who still has "Wanna be a gunslinger/Don't be a rock singer" stuck in his head to this day after I turned him on to the tune.

No, the real mystery is why it took me until the late 90's/early 00's (wow, that was weird to type) to discover "Pop Muzik". To this day, I rarely hear it on the radio, despite listening to stations geared to this very kind of music. What's the deal, radio programmers? Why have you made "Pop Muzik" so obscure?

Friday, September 14, 2012

BENT, a short film by Amy Jo Johnson

For reasons which will become abundantly clear soon enough, I found myself wondering recently what Amy Jo Johnson was doing these days. I'm pretty bad on keeping up with these sort of things -- or at least I was, until the magic of social media. It took a little looking around, but I discovered Amy Jo - the real Amy Jo, that is - on Twitter and Facebook. I also discovered something very cool.

By sheer coincidence (maybe?), my decision to look up Amy Jo Johnson happened while she is in the middle of raising money for a special project. That project is BENT, as you probably surmised from the title of this entry. She is the writer, director, and one of the stars. The trick is that making even a short film isn't cheap. That's where the campaign comes in.

Would you like to contribute to help make Amy Jo Johnson's film a reality? Of course you would. Here is the campaign page for BENT on Indiegogo. Amy Jo has made it to over 50% of her goal, but there's only a limited amount of time. To sweeten the pot, there's plenty of perks for those who contribute. At the very least, you could get your name included in the closing credits. Nice, eh?

Check out the page, watch the video, look at the Twitter and Facebook accounts. Then, maybe shell out some dough? I just did, so I'm not asking you to do anything I wouldn't! Let's see BENT get made!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chaos Theory Is Back In Town

Hey, I was a bit late getting online tonight. That's because I was in Sulphur at the opening reception for Chaos Theory IV. Remember Chaos Theory? It's merely the coolest art show of the year in Southwest Louisiana! In fact, it might just be the coolest art show of the year, period. I'll let you get back to me on that one.

If you couldn't make it tonight, or even if you did, Chaos Theory IV runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 11, 2012. Stop by and check out some great pop culture-themed artwork. And I've seen it and can verify it really is great.

Oh, before you go, why not "Like" the Chaos Theory Art Show Facebook Fan Page? That will keep you up-to-date on all the happenings! Plus, you might get a cookie!*

*(Cookie not guaranteed.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The 1970s Batman Cartoon Is Amazing

My perception of Batman will forever and always be colored by the fact that my first exposure to him was the TV show from the 1960s. There's also the little fact that THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN debuted at exactly the right time for me to watch it constantly and absorb it into my DNA. That particular incarnation of Bats came out in 1977, and is notable for having Adam West and Burt Ward provide voices to the characters they brought to life in the prior decade. It should also be notable for being bonkers.

I dutifully bought the DVDs when they came out several years ago, and rewatching the show through adults eyes experience. I remember one episode that made me laugh out loud, but I don't think that was the desired effect. The premise was not too far out there for a superhero show - 1) scientist is capturing ships in the middle of the ocean; 2) each ship carries a piece of a device that, when assembled, will allow said scientist to rule the world; 3) Batman and friends must stop the fiendish scheme. Even the obligatory mid-1970s shark isn't too far-fetched considering the basic plot.

However, I'm not sure there is any way to explain how CB jargon not only finds it way into the story, but plays a pivotal role. Adam West and Burt Ward spouting off such lingo is priceless. And then...then, there are the electric eels.

Batman is doing his diving thing when the scientist unleashes two electric eels to take care of the Caped Crusader. When our hero espies them, he radios Robin that he needs to find the Transatlantic Telephone Cable. Robin's reaction, much like that of everyone in the audience, is, "What good will that do?"

Batman's reply? "The cable is DC! The eels are AC!" And then he says he'll "reverse [their] polarity!" Which he then does, shorting out the electric eels.

I can't decide if this solution is ingenious or insane. Possibly, it is both. I can't even tell you if it has even the barest hint of science behind it. I trust anyone that cares will look this up for me.

Of course, coming on the heels of the episode where the villain's WHOLE PLAN was to blackmail Gotham City by turning its water supply into chocolate syrup, this one at least had the air of vague plausibility.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Other Captain Satellite

This isn't directly related to my examination of the origins of Captain Satellite, but it's in that same vein. One of the reasons I latched onto the name "Captain Satellite" over the years was because there was no major character that shared the name. At least, that was what I thought. Little did I know as an 11 year old in mid-1980s Louisiana that there had, in fact, once been a Captain Satellite.

Bob March (pictured above) portrayed "Captain Satellite" in a kid's TV show that aired on Oakland, California's KTVU in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s. Imagine my surprise when I learned this fact! So much for having an original name. Still, it did explain the volume of people who arrived here searching for "Captain Satellite."

I'm not planning on changing my character's name. I think two Captain Satellites can happily coexist in the world, especially since mine isn't going to make me a bunch of money. Still, I wanted to acknowledge Bob March and the fact that his Captain came first. I've even chosen to recognize him by naming my Captain's home base "March Mansion." There will be a different in-story explanation, but the reason is because my Captain is following in Bob March's footsteps.


San Francisco Local TV Kid Shows Captain Satellite & More

Bob March profile on NATAS Northern California site

Capt. Satellite reflects on TV career

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Evolution of Captain Satellite, Part 1

I don't have anything particularly compelling to discuss at the moment. Therefore, I thought it might be fun to explore how my primary original character grew to fill his role. Like most stories of this nature, it's not a clean, linear evolution.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Guardians Preview #3

Big BANG Comic PAGE- by *Thuddleston on deviantART

One more page from Big Bang's National Guardians #1 (pencils by Sterling Clark, inks by Terry Huddleston). I make no guarantee that these were posted in order, since I actually don't even remember! However, there are also a couple of preview pages online from the Renegade story that rounds out the book. I may post those as well if interest warrants it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

National Guardians Preview #1

Big BANG Comic PAGE-- by *Thuddleston on deviantART

Inspired by a recent comment on the entry for Big Bang's National Guardians #1, I thought I should feature some of the inked pages that had been uploaded by inker/colorist Terry Huddleston a few years ago. While I'm not sure when NG will be widely available, this will whet your appetite for the whole story.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tim Mee Plastic Army Men

When I concluded my post on the Galaxy Laser Team, I hinted that I'd be picking up some army men to complement my space men. Well, that has finally come to pass. Let me tell you a bit about my new friends.

Plastic Army Men are classic, and if you're in my age range, these guys will seem very, very familiar. These were the toy soldiers of my youth. Well, there are a few changes in keeping with the times, but the essence is the same. From what I understand, the tan soldiers didn't come about until the first Gulf War, and the grenade thrower has lost his grenade over the years.

Part of the reason for the "C'mon guys!" soldier replacing the grenade thrower is one of the exciting parts of this reissue. You see, the original mold was altered to remove the grenade. And these Army Men are cast from the original molds! Yes, it's true! They are as high quality as they get, and they're even made in the good old USA!

If you'd like to feel like a kid again, or share the joy of these with a kid, you can order them through VictoryBuy on Amazon. You should also check out the Facebook fan page for the latest news, cool links, and lots and lots of toy love!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Third Rate Romance, Low Rent Editing Job

"Third Rate Romance" by the Amazing Rhythm Aces is a song I love. It has a low key, almost lazy feel to it musically that sells the story beautifully. And what a story! It's the awkward buildup to a one night stand. A third rate romance indeed.

"Third Rate Romance" was a song that still had life on my local country station when I was a kid. Yep, this was a song that made both the pop and country charts. Since it was from 1975, I never knew who did it. It wasn't until about 12 years ago that I was able to put an artist to the tune. By then, it had been supplanted on the radio by a cover version performed by Sammy Kershaw.

I bring all this up because "Third Rate Romance" was #18 on the AMERICAN TOP 40 show from August 30, 1975. As you might've guessed, that program was rebroadcast this weekend. My excitement over hearing "Third Rate Romance" in the context of it being contemporary was tempered by the handling it received.

Understand, AT40 frequently edited songs back in the 1970s. Sometimes it was for time (remember that three minute "American Pie"?), and sometimes it was for content (skipping the needle during Neil Sedaka's "Bad Blood" when he says a naughty word springs to mind). I am not sure which column "Third Rate Romance" falls under, since it's only three and a half minutes. HOWEVER, it had one of the most amazing, non sequitur edits it has ever been my pleasure to hear.

Did you listen to the song? Do that if you haven't already. On that particular AT40 countdown, this is how the lyrics go:

She said, "You don't look like my type, but I guess you'll do"

Third rate romance, low rent rendezvous

And he said, "Yes I have, but only a time or two"


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Owariverse Encyclopedia: Section II - Heroes and Villains (Update 1)

Princess Nikatonia: Princess Nikatonia is alien royalty from the planet Oraygion. Her mission on Earth is to kidnap women and return with them to her homeworld for unspecified purposes. Predictably, this has brought her into conflict with Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson. Somewhat less predictably, these battles have led Princess Nikatonia to conclude that Shelly would be an ideal subject for her objective.

Princess Nikatonia wields the Stellar Staff, a powerful weapon she uses to channel a mysterious force dubbed “Jadoo.” The princess insists that the enigmatic Jadoo is the source of her strength in battle. However, no one is exactly sure what Jadoo is supposed to be (other than Princess Nikatonia herself).

Red Taiyo: Red Taiyo (レッド太陽 Reddo Taiyo) is secretly Atsushi Anzai (安西敦士 Anzai Atsushi), an associate lecturer of astronomy at Tokyo’s Johoku University. Returning home late one night, his motorcycle disappeared into a burst of light. Anzai was greeted by three luminous beings who introduced themselves as the Solar People. These mysterious Solar People bestowed upon Atsushi Anzai both a henshin (transformation) belt and a mission: fight for Japan and the entire world during a coming time of darkness.

Returned to the normal world, Anzai took his newfound mission to heart and created the identity of Red Taiyo (“Red Sun”) with his henshin belt. He uses the powers of the belt to transmute his standard bike into a potent machine dubbed “Sunflare.” Red Taiyo utilizes Sunflare and the enhanced strength granted him by the belt to fulfill his promise to the Solar People.

Red Taiyo is trailed in his ongoing crusade by Kenta Chiba, a bumbling freelance cameraman. Chiba does his best to be helpful, and sometimes even succeeds. Whether he will prove to be a hindrance or an asset in Red Taiyo’s mission has yet to be determined.