Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Gift

As we put 2013 in our rearview mirror, there are a lot of things we could discuss here. There was good and there was bad, just like every year. But there is one story that will forever color my memories of 2013, and today, I want to talk about it.

For me, Monday, April 15th was just a day off. I got some DVDs in the mail that I had been wanting for some time, and planned to spend the day watching them. I was only vaguely aware that the Boston Marathon was even taking place. But that all changed most horribly that afternoon.

For my own reasons discussed previously, this really hit home for me. And then, a couple of nights later, I accidentally stumbled across the Twitter account of one of the survivors. I sent her a message of support, but didn't stop there. I kept reading and learning about who she was. As I did, she became real to me.

You see, the thing about "big" stories is they happen to someone else. There's a disconnect because, well, you don't know them. But reading that Twitter, and seeing a small part of the bigger story of her life, it flipped a switch in my brain that turned off that disconnect. I decided that I couldn't help everyone, but maybe, just maybe, I could help her.

That survivor was Sydney Corcoran, as you have probably guessed. We've gone from being random strangers to friends in that time. Along the way, I have made other friends because of Sydney: Alexis, Katie, Tyler, Alyssa, Michelle, Kassandra, Sarah, Thais and Rin (and apologies to anyone I inadvertently left out). There have also been friends I only know through online aliases: Cellmate, Splendid, Silver, Hedge, Ladybug and probably dozens of others. It has been heartwarming to get to know and come to care about people that were not even on my radar a year ago.

But with this all comes a degree of guilt, because of why. It's all the result of a tragedy and a crime, and that sometimes gives me pause. As much as all these people mean to me now, I would gladly give it all back if it meant that the bombing never happened. Life doesn't work that way, but it's something that weighs on my mind from time to time.

I have felt like darkness has nearly consumed my soul on more than one occasion the last couple of years. I am down, though not as badly as I have been in the past. I am not sure which way is up and which way is straight to the bottom. Mostly, I have been muddling through as best I can and trying to survive.

The thing is, Sydney has given me a reason to smile that I wasn't sure I still had. I have exulted in her triumphs. I have offered a virtual hand through the setbacks. Mostly, I have just tried to be there for her. And I can't very well do that if I'm busy feeling sorry for myself, can I?

Sydney and her mother Celeste, and indeed, her entire family, have gone through so much in 2013. They have let me, a person they've never even met, tag along in a small way. It is an honor that I find humbling to this day, and I don't take the trust they've placed in me lightly.

All of this was born out of tragedy. If I'm being honest, I've crossed paths with some horrible people during this year - folks that either lack empathy or are disturbed in ways I'd rather not contemplate. But they are in the distinct minority. I have encountered far more decent, kind, and just all-around AWESOME people through this whole experience. And I can honestly say they have changed my life.

I have seen the worst of human behavior this year. I have also seen the best, and it was far more impressive than the worst could ever be. I have seen compassion, and shown compassion. I have seen the triumph of the human spirit against incredible odds and heartache. Where there were once strangers, there are now friends. And an anonymous person in a photograph became like a sister to me.

"The Gift" of 2013 was not the horrible nightmare of the Boston Marathon Bombing, but rather, the response to it from all over. It reaffirmed my faith in the basic goodness of most people. And, perhaps, it taught me a lot about myself, and reminded me of some things I was in danger of forgetting.

And Sydney? Well, the road for the Corcoran family is still a long one, but they have come so far already. This Boston Globe story (complete with video and photo gallery) may just bring a tear to your eye. I know it did for me.

Thank you, Sydney, for...everything. I hope my being a part of your life has helped you as much as you being a part of mine has helped me. You were already remarkable, but now I have no doubt you are going to have an impact on this crazy world of ours. You're clearly here for a reason, and I'm excited to see THAT story play out, too. You'll always be my gurl.

Sometimes, it feels impossible to make a difference. I was just a dude on Twitter with a blog. But in the end, that was enough. I made a difference. Now, to make a bigger difference in 2014.

I'm out. Thank you and good night.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Destroyer vs. Victor the Bear

Hey, remember this photo? I found some video of a match between the two. It's even narrated by the Destroyer himself!

The finish of this match is weird. I'm gonna guess it was booked this way to keep the Destroyer strong, but it feels like a cheat and the crowd lets it be known that they aren't happy. I wonder how many bear matches ended in this fashion?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians

So, the whole "movie pack" thing sort of fell by the wayside after a month or so, didn't it? I didn't even manage to write about all the programs I watched! I'm going to try to do better next year. In that spirit, here is a discussion of a movie that fits today better than any other.

SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS is rather infamous as one of those "Worst Movies Ever." So I'm going to go against the grain and say I sort of enjoyed it on its own merits. No, I didn't watch an MST3K version, but rather the original, unexpurgated version as featured on PD video. And yes, I'm feeling fine, thank you.

Understand, the movie is utter nonsense. But I found it to be likeable nonsense. There's nothing remotely realistic about it, and that's fine. After all, it was aimed at young kids. Somewhat tellingly, the only adults who qualify as actual "characters" are either from the North Pole or Mars. The connection to the world of "Grown-Ups" is tenuous at best, filtered through a kid's eyes with regard to both the media and the military. Please note that no EARTH parents ever appear.

SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS has Martians with pop guns, a wholly unterrifying robot, a dude in a bear suit, Milton DeLugg music, and Pia Zadora as a child. The plot has a twist that is telegraphed a mile away if you're paying attention. And then, there's the theme song (embedded below). It will haunt you.

SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS is dumb. But it's a fun dumb. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Owari for Return of Jetman

This is something that has been brewing for some time, so I encourage you all to go read it instead of me just rehashing it here. That's especially vital since that link (and indeed, all ROJ links) will break in a week or so. This bugs me so much that I might have to spend a few days posting lists of the new links for the site, since I surely don't have the time or the will to edit every ROJ entry here.

Oddly, I don't find myself particularly nostalgic about this whole situation. Mostly, I feel like a tremendous weight is off my shoulders. Still, it was a lot of fun.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Flash Gordon (1936)

As part of my pursuit of Continued Next Week!, I decided to rectify a longstanding oversight on my part. You see, in all my years, I have never actually watched the first FLASH GORDON serial in its entirety. I know, what? Doing a movie serial blog, and I hadn't even bothered to check out the quintessential serial? Like I said, an oversight.

Well, I am happy to report that I corrected this oversight earlier this year. And for the record? FLASH GORDON move than lives up to its legendary reputation. Yeah, the FX are corny and often obvious, and that's not even just a function of the passing years. However, you have to give them credit for even trying. There is a concerted effort to realize Alex Raymond's comic strip on the screen, and that must have been absolutely daunting in 1936. That they succeeded as well as they did is laudable.

Also worthy of praise is the characterization in the film. This is not a sentence that can be applied to most serials, but here, it absolutely does. Most memorable is, of course, Charles Middleton as an utterly flawless Ming the Merciless. Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, and Frank Shannon are wonderful (even if Rogers gets precious little to do other than faint, be captured, or be a lust object), and the supporting players cut fine figures. But for me, the highlight of the film is Priscilla Lawson as Princess Aura.

Simply put, Priscilla Lawson is absolutely FABULOUS in this serial. She is alluring and sensual in a way I find a little shocking for 1936. She is also very amoral for a good portion of the story - her actions turn on her whims and desires rather than what she thinks is "right." And as you may have gathered, it's all but explicitly stated that what Aura wants is to jump Flash Gordon's bones. She's a marvelous character, and it's just a shame that Lawson never got the chance to reprise the role. (And even more of a shame she died so young, but that's another story.)

If you're on the fence about movie serials, I can definitely recommend FLASH GORDON as one to try. It is compelling throughout, and never boring even if you watch multiple chapters in one sitting.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nicky Flamingo's Advent Calendar

Nicky's Sketch Advent Calendar Pt 2 by *nickyflamingo on deviantART

This is pretty epic, but then, so is Nicky Flamingo! She has been working on a three page advent calendar featuring OCs from a number of people who have supported her this year. I am honored to have my own Princess Nikatonia featured on Page 2, and since it was recently completed, I thought I'd post it here for everyone to enjoy! You can find her in the middle, getting all handsy!

Nicky has another page upcoming in this project, so more art-y goodness will be in our future! You should click over to her devinatArt and show it some love!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

K-tel presents "Pin-Ball Rock"

K-tel trots out a Wolfman Jack imitator to promote Pin-Ball Rock (sic). This album is a bit different, in that most of the songs featured are "oldies" even at the time. The "theme" is made explicit by the New Seekers' cover of "Pinball Wizard", but the majority of this one seems aimed at nostalgia.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rene Bond in "Too Hot For The Blog!"

As mentioned a few days ago, I picked up some Rene Bond items recently. And to celebrate, I'd like to show off! But Rene's career being what it was, that's difficult on here without adding a warning that would necessarily limit the audience.

Ah, but my Tumblr! Why, that's a whole other story! In fact, it's one of the primary reasons why I maintain a semi-regular presence there. Though I'm getting a bit self-conscious about it right now. Hopefully, I'm getting it out of my system!

Anyway, here's today's new arrival, and a little something that will be arriving shortly. Remember, NSFW, and you must be a legal adult. Seriously, don't make me come over there!


Rene Bond: "Backfield In Motion And Other Signals"


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Return of Jetman Notes Finished!

Sound the trumpets! The day I (and many others, probably) felt would never come has arrived! The notes for the seventh and final episode of New Return of Jetman were completed and posted today! That means all 14 episodes of ROJ and all 7 episodes of NROJ are officially annotated! This project, she is done!

I wish I could tell you that these notes were worth a wait of over 3 years, but alas, such is not the case. Maybe if I had kept up with the original series back in 2002-03, it wouldn't have taken so long. But yeah, the last three years has been a slow process of putting these out because it was hard to find the time, energy, and motivation to write them.

New ROJ Episode 7 Notes are currently here. But as you might have surmised, that's only part of the story. I'll post something else over on the site before the year is out, but you can see the announcement at the top. It's true - the domain name will be allowed to lapse and the site will revert to being strictly at its blogspot address. This will undoubtedly lead to some degree of confusion, but in the end, it's for the best as far as ROJ remaining online.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Star Force Vol. 2, No. 5

When we last discussed the Myron Fass family of magazines, I mentioned that the one I had really been seeking - the one that truly spurred me on the quest - had still eluded me. I am happy to report that, as of today, I am the proud(?) owner of a complete and reasonably decent copy of Star Force Vol. 2, No. 5.

This earlier entry spells out in more detail the importance of this magazine to my personal history. What's odd is that I wasn't even looking for it the night I found it. I was on eBay buying something totally different last week and decided to check on this mag's availability on a whim. And lo, there it was.

I am seriously tempted to do a full write-up on this one in the future, and track down the original sources and authors of the articles. All of them have had their credits removed, and I think that's a darn shame. There is a lot of solid information in a couple of them, and one or two are so freaking loopy that I feel the perpetrators should be publicized.

Oh, and the ads? The ads are GOLDEN. Most of them are for books that I suspect are also published by Myron Fass. However, there is an ad for Army surplus that promises me a tank for under $200, and another ad selling handguns through the mail. Truly, I had NO IDEA what was going on in 1981 when I got this magazine.

Another quest completed, thanks to the magic of the Internet.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Awards of Rene Bond

To celebrate a few recent eBay scores, I thought I'd post a list of Rene Bond's awards. I compiled this for Rene Bond Tribute on Facebook ("Like" it!), but had never gotten around to including it here.

AVN Hall of Fame (1998)
Legends of Erotica Hall of Fame (2000)
XRCO Hall of Fame (1985)

What I find most intriguing about these awards is that both the Adult Video News (AVN) and "Legends of Erotica" Hall of Fame inductions date from Rene's renaissance of popularity thanks to the video revolution and Something Weird Video in particular. However, the X-Rated Critics Organization (XRCO) induction is from 1985 - not that many years after Rene had left the business. It's also the only one that wasn't posthumous. It makes me wonder why she was honored at that time by them, and if she even knew.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Three Times As Nice With GabiStar

[C] Beth Gordon (Thank you, Kabuki!) by *GabiStar on deviantART

I don't remember being that good this year, but clearly Kabu thought otherwise. Wait, THREE giftarts from GabiStar?!? Who knew?!?

If you can't get enough of Gabi (and who can blame you?), she also has a Facebook fan page!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Secret Fun Blog Strikes Again!

Kirk Demarais is on the case! Tonight, he posted a blog entry on the Time Mee Toys Legendary Battle figures. Because Kirk knows what he's doing, he was able to include his own photos instead of ones cribbed from VictoryBuy like yours truly. Even better, he dug up comparison shots of the original Marvel figures that served as the basis for the molds. So now I don't have to do it myself! HURRAY!

Seriously though, "Secret Fun Blog" is a terrific site and Kirk has written some fantastic books. You should check it out!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Inexplicably Star Wars

Maybe I'm just being dense, but I don't see the thematic connection to STAR WARS in this production number for Meco's "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band". Cowboys?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Shelly Ericson by GabiStar

[C] Shelly Ericson (Thank you, Kabuki!) by *GabiStar on deviantART

Waitwaitwait, another bust by GabiStar? Yes, I am giddy to report that Kabuki Katze seems intent on spoiling me this holiday season. Tonight, we have Shelly Ericson taking a bow!

And if you haven't taken the hint already, you should be checking out GabiStar's gallery! I know I did!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hi Jinx!

Woo hoo, it's Jinx again! Only this time, she's by Sean Moore and wearing a cowboy hat! And she'll be the first to tell you, it's not her hat!

This particular project went through a couple of iterations before we arrived at the final product. It's also tastefully but very strongly NSFW, so keep that in mind as you decide whether to admire it in all its glory at OWARI 2.0. Alternately, you can visit it at Sean's dA page, and peep the rest of the fine, fine work in his gallery!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Weird Wonder Tales #5 (August 1974)

For reasons unclear, this entry on Weird Wonder Tales #22 has been the least popular thing I've posted in the last 2 months. Bad timing? People just really hate Dr. Druid? Whatever the reason, I am hoping to garner a little more love for that entry by...talking about another issue of Weird Wonder Tales. Perhaps not my best ever plan.

Weird Wonder Tales #5 (August 1974) leads off with a cover that SORT OF relates to an interior story. I qualify this because it takes it much further over the top, as these 1970s reprint books were wont to do. It is for the first story, and it's a minor little morality tale that is kinda clever. The biggest plus is the always welcome art by Steve Ditko.

Next story has very attractive art by a fellow named Pete Tumlinson, who was previously unknown to me. I like the twist involved, but it doesn't bear even a little bit of scrutiny. In fact, it doesn't make much sense at all! Oh well, logic wasn't always at a premium in 1950s monster books.

Oh, now we come to a bit of slightly important pre-Marvel Marvel Universe stuff. "I, The Robot" introduced the character who would be christened the Human Robot a few years later in the pages of What If?, and ultimately be a part of the Agents of Atlas team. The art is by a very well-known name in the annals of Marvel history: John Romita. It's an intriguing glimpse into his style prior to the familiar and legendary run on Spider-Man.

Speaking of Spidey, his co-creator Steve Ditko turns up again on the art for the last story. This is one of those tales with aliens planning to invade our world, only to be thwarted by some unforeseen circumstance. Ditko seemed to draw any number of variations on this theme, and while his work is solid, the premise for this one was a bit weak for me.

I'm not going to cover the ads this time, though they could fill an entire blog post on their own. I do, however, want to point out something odd I noticed in the "Bullpen Bulletins" page. Reference is made there to Marvel launching three new titles referred to quite modestly as SUPER-GIANTS. They would be devoted to Spider-Man, the Avengers, and Conan, and it was promised they would be 100 pages for 60¢ on a quarterly schedule. These "Super-Giants" were promoted as containing new, "novel-length" stories, special features, and "Marvel classics" (i.e., reprints).

I have never heard of these "Super-Giants" before! They are an obvious response to DC's 100 Page Super Spectaculars. Equally obvious is that they never happened in this format. What's most striking about this fact is that Super-Giant Spider-Man #1 is listed in the column as spotlighting "the story you virtually dared us to print - as Spidey encounters the one and only COUNT DRACULA!" Eight pages later in the selfsame issue of Weird Wonder Tales is an ad for Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 - with Spider-Man and Dracula. And now the book is 68 pages for 50¢!

Even more curious is the Bullpen Bulletins makes reference to the "Giant-Size" books, too, but lists them as being 35¢. A quick look at the GCD reveals that there are a couple at that price, and they are only 52 pages. I guess the decision was made fairly quickly to split the difference and go with just ONE oversized format rather than two. Probably a wise decision in the long run, but now my imagination runs wild with 100 Page Marvel books like those much-cherished DC Super Spectaculars.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

$20 Pin-Ups: Sydney

$20 Pin-Ups: Sydney by =KabukiKatze on deviantART

I told you I'd tell you when this piece went live on deviantArt, and today is the day! Be sure to click on the embedded image above to travel to the magical land of dA and leave feedback for Kabuki on this!

Thanks again, KK, for such an exemplary job! And I am pleased to report that Sydney LOVES it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fifth In A Series

This is not me.

However, we did exchange e-mails once.

(If you don't think it's odd seeing a message from yourself in your Inbox, you're wrong.)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"It's déjà vu all over again"

If we're being honest here, I'm pretty sure things like this and this happen more often than I notice or like. And continuing that honesty, the longer this blog exists, I'm sure this sort of thing will keep happening.

Still, it made me laugh.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Firegirl by GabiStar

[C] Firegirl (Thank you, Kabuki!) by *GabiStar on deviantART

This was a nice surprise! It's a bust of Firegirl done by...no, not Kabuki Katze. It's by GabiStar as commissioned by Kabuki. Thank you both, ladies, for such a tremendous piece of giftart! And be sure to check out Gabi's gallery, too!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pro Sports In Major City

I am perhaps a sucker for detail. If I have a fictional metropolis like Major City, it only follows that they have professional sports teams. And they aren't necessarily analogous to New York City, since Major City is very much Not New York (though they have elements in common).

Here then are the known sports franchises in Major City, with some discussion of their inspiration.

Major City Majors
Major City Aces

Major City Majors
Major City Tops

Major City Electrics

Major City Maroons

Additionally, the chief pro wrestling association, the GWO (Global Wrestling Organization) owned and operated by promoter Burl Lee, is based out of Major City.

*"Major City Majors" is a bit of an allusion to Major Major Major Major in Catch-22. It plays off the fact that New York once had both football and baseball Giants. The military rank nickname has precedent in both New Jersey Generals of the USFL and Shreveport Captains of minor league baseball (though Shreveport used a sea captain mascot).

*The Major City Aces owe a bit to the New York Jets, but it's mostly because I think it's a swell name for a team.

*Major City Tops (with, yes, a top as their logo) were originally inspired by the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League.

*The Major City Electrics are inspired by the Camden Electrics of an early National Basketball League.

*It sounds like a joke, but the Major City Maroons earned their name from the Montreal Maroons.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Tradition: Blood Freak

It has been many, many years since I rented BLOOD FREAK on a VHS tape that was ancient at the time. It is...well, something else. It's rare to find a gory monster movie that also attempts to preach the Gospel. It comes across as a very sincere but very amateurish attempt at a movie. Quite the experience, I'll say that much.

Why do I bring this up today? Because the titular BLOOD FREAK comes about from eating drugged turkey(!) and becomes a rampaging, blood-drinking turkey monster(!?). It sounds like something I made up, but I swear that's actually what happens. How this movie isn't already a Thanksgiving Day tradition, I have no idea.

I was going to embed the trailer, but decided it's not the sort of thing I want sitting on this blog. Instead, here's a link to it. Watch it with the whole family!*

*Not responsible for the consequences if you actually listen to me for once.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Legendary Battles and The Wild West!

I promised more toy reviews for everyone, so that's what you're going to get! Special thanks to Jeff at VictoryBuy for making not only these reviews possible by hooking a brother up, but for reissuing these fine toys for a new generation!

First, we have a set of fantasy-themed figures you may call "Legendary Battle," my friends. I have been banging the drum for these to return since I learned of their existence, so I'm pretty happy to have them. Though only green is depicted here, you will notice they also come in grey. They're about twice the size of your standard Army Man figure, but as my pal Thom pointed out, that just means they can be GIANT GODS if they associate with those guys.

These are really sturdy figures with a lot of nice detailing to them. What makes this even more stunning is EVERY ONE OF THESE MOLDS WERE RETOOLED. Why? Because they originally depicted Marvel Comics characters, and the original Tim Mee company decided to recycle them after the Marvel deal ended. The origins of a few of the characters are pretty obvious just by looking at them, but a couple of them are so disguised that you would never know who they originally were. I'm hoping to put together some comparison pics to demonstrate this in the coming weeks.

Besides flights of fantasy, we also have the return of an old stand-by:

Yup, it's Cowboys & Indians, pardner. These are in roughly the same scale as the fantasy figures, which could lead to some...intriguing storylines if you were so inclined. They also have a lot of nice detail and good posing. Definitely a winner if you want some Wild West action in your toy life.

And since times are different now than they were back in the olden days (which can often be for the better), you don't have to feel limited by a strict "cowboys vs. Indians" dynamic. Since both groups comes in the same colors, you could choose to have good cowboys and peaceful Indians teaming to fight off nasty owlhoots and renegade Indians. Just a thought.

I didn't realize it, but I had these Western figures as a young child. I still have the cowboy who is drawing his shootin' irons in a box. It was a nice surprise to see him again and get in touch with a little personal history.

Just some gift ideas for the toy fan in your life...or maybe for yourself. Happy Playtime, friends!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Galaxy Laser Team in "Rainbows in Space!"

Things have been a bit quiet in these parts on the Tim Mee Toy front. Today we change all that with some exciting news for your Christmas buying season. Yes, it's a return of the Galaxy Laser Team!

Only now you can also choose blue and green figures! If you recall older posts on this tag, green was one of the colors included in the original assortments. Blue was not, but I believe figures in this shade were available with the mountain playset. In any event, this is a very cool way to fill out your space armada.

But wait! There's more!

There's also an assortment in orange and red! I don't think these colors previously appeared on domestic issues of the Team, though they did turn up outside of the United States. Whether all of those were authorized or not is a question more serious collectors than yours truly will have to answer. All I know is these are just as solid and high quality as the other reissues, and not as prone to low grade plastic as some foreign issues in these colors.

I am still holding out hope for a return of pink plastic for the Galaxy Laser Team. I mean, what could be more awesome than Space Yetis and Faux Vaders in hot pink? But these two releases are fantastic and highly recommended for anyone with a passing interest in toys. Give them as a surprise gift to the STAR WARS fan in your life!

The fine folks at VictoryBuy not only supplied me with their product for review, but they have more Fall reissues besides the Galaxy Laser Team. I'll be talking about a couple of those next time.

Friday, November 22, 2013

K-tel's "Mind Bender"

Rarely has a compilation album been more aptly named. Get a load of the cover and track list, appearing on this Flickr page. Is there any rhyme or reason to leading off with Neil Sedaka and concluding with C.W. McCall? I submit to you, there is not.

If anything, the commercial is even better.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Delegates - Convention '72

Here's another song I probably never would have heard had it not been for "American Top 40: The 70s." I'm usually not a fan of break-in novelty records AT ALL, but something about this one amuses me. Maybe it's because it's not by the usual culprit Dickie Goodman, but rather by a different group of folks dubbed "The Delegates." It's topicality is largely lost now that it's not 1972, but the song clips are especially well-thought-out. Gotta love so much usage of Jimmy Castor's "Troglodyte"!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Dreams Will Dance!

Let's talk about this picture, shall we?

As you might recall, I befriended a young lady named Sydney Corcoran earlier this year. Sydney was severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, and of course, that's how I ended up "finding" her online. But that horrific experience does not and should not define who she is as a person. There is more to her and her life than just what happened to her - even if that is hard for people to remember sometimes.

Sydney has really struck me as a strong and resilient young woman. But that doesn't mean it's easy. She is, after all, 18 years old, and that can be trying even without the extra burdens placed on her. The last couple of weeks have been particularly challenging in a way that they never should have been in the first place. But that's another story.

Concurrent with recent events, my good friend Kayleigh Lebak (aka Kabuki Katze) was running a special on pin-up ladies on her deviantArt page. (This special still has a couple of days if you'd like in on it!) Kayleigh had previously crafted this Beauty and the Beast card for me as a gift to Sydney. One night, the wheels started turning in my head, and I went to Kayleigh with my idea.

The idea was simple: a pin-up of Sydney, glamorous and powerful and free. She is not untouched by all that has happened to her, but she is unbowed by it. The reference was photo of the lady herself taken this summer. So yes, this is absolutely Sydney Triumphant.

The text for this piece is derived from the English translation of Rica Matsumoto's "Alive A life" (actual title), the theme song to the Japanese superhero series KAMEN RIDER RYUKI. These words in particular really strike a chord for me with regards to Sydney, especially since she is a dancer. They fit the pose perfectly, and have the odd sort of poetry you can only get via non-native English.

The point of this picture is to highlight Sydney's inner and outer beauty. Sydney is a gorgeous woman (even if she doesn't always think so), and her scars don't change that. If anything, they call attention to the person inside who has survived so much already in her short life. She is extraordinary, and I am proud to call her my friend.

Sydney is an individual, and it's important to not forget that simple fact. Her healing process is an ongoing one, and isn't just all of a sudden magically finished. Some days are a struggle. But with her indomitable will (or is that stubbornness?), I have no doubt she will emerge victorious. And her dreams will dance.

This one's for you, Syd.

(Special thanks to Kayleigh for her amazing talent in creating this picture and for giving me permission to post it early. Watch this blog for news of it going live on her dA account!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Future of Return of Jetman

Big News:

I have been doing some hard thinking about this site in the past few months, and have reached a decision or two. Hear me out.

When I spun Return of Jetman off into its own site back in 2004, I registered the domain for as long as I possibly could. That was 10 years. That registration is set to expire at the end of January. I will not be renewing it. In fact, I may cancel it early - depending on how things go.

Whoa! So does that mean Return of Jetman is dead? No. But it is changing, and it is time to acknowledge that for the story and artwork to continue online, the presentation itself must change (again).

Simply put, I no longer have the will to continue financing this project. I have moved on from Return of Jetman these last three years. While it will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am deeply proud of the work all involved put into it, I'm over it. I'm ready to look to the future, and not continue holding onto the past.

Yes, there are still the notes for the last episode of "New Return of Jetman" to complete. Hopefully, I can get off my keister in the next couple of weeks and put a ribbon on them. In any event, that's it. There are no plans to add new content afterward. I'll probably even modify what's already here.

To put this plan into motion, I have to edit a lot of entries. If you are still visiting this site on a regular basis, be aware that things are going to be unstable for a few weeks. It may even disappear entirely for a time. I apologize in advance. I don't think there's a clean, painless way to get this done.

I thank all of you who have made this project so rewarding over the years. I hadn't realized until I sat down to compose this entry that it was 11 years ago today that I officially premiered the first episode of this incarnation of ROJ. It has been a wild ride, and while it's almost completed, that doesn't mean we can't look back on it fondly.

Stay tuned for more news. Eventually, this site will revert to http://returnofjetman.blogspot.com. Make a note of this URL so you can find it when the change occurs!

Please note that this news applies only to Return of Jetman and not this blog or any of my other projects.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Astro-Dracula by Andrew Barr

Astro-Dracula by ~APBarr on deviantART

If you have a long memory, you may recall that I did a picture of a similar concept. Kinda glad I didn't see this piece by Andrew Barr until after the fact, because it takes the same idea and makes it so much cooler. I seriously love this picture, and am glad I discovered it. Be sure to check out the rest of this man's work!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Breaker's Ball

Who is this smiling woman? It's Gabrielle Fitzgerald, or "Jinx" if you prefer. If you want to see a LOT more of her, ready for a spicy adventure, you can check out the full version of this pic by Kabuki Katze over at OWARI 2.0. Of course, remember it's NSFW and have your I.D. ready since it's strictly for adults only.

Oh, the link? "$20 Pin-Ups: Breaker’s Ball by KabukiKatze" should do the job nicely. Clicking through it there will also take you to KK's dA page for the piece, where you can leave a comment - if such a thing pleases you.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hello It's Me

If a person can be labeled both a "rock star" and "obscure" at the same time, Todd Rundgren would fit the bill. He's an amazing singer and musician, as songs like "Hello It's Me", "I Saw The Light", "Bang The Drum All Day" and "We Gotta Get You a Woman" ably demonstrate. He's been an integral part of bands like the Nazz, Utopia, and the New Cars. He produced records like Grand Funk's We're An American Band and Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. He guest-starred on the first episode of THAT 70s SHOW, and was the man Liv Tyler thought was her father for the first few years of her life. Yet Todd Rundgren is not someone the general public remembers when it comes to "Classic Rock" legends. And that is a shame.

I never intended El Beardo's "takeover" of this blog to last a week. Things have come up that kept me from updating - including a couple of instances of my Internet going down for more than a few minutes. I need to regroup after some of those other things kept me from concentrating on subjects worthy of inclusion here. But fret not, OWARI is still open for business!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Greetings, acolytes of OWARI! It is EL BEARDO, the manliest man any of you ever dreamed existed! His Beardiness has commandeered this blog from the Head Honcho for the night to bring to you the greatest art masterpiece of the ages. Why? Because it is a portrait of EL BEARDO!

This fabled etching is the product of Sara at Synthetic Platypus! What's more, this lifelike capturing of the chiseled, rugged good looks of EL BEARDO was crafted six years ago! Sara's skills have only improved since then! GAZE UPON THIS GALLERY AND TREMBLE AT HOW ASTOUNDING IT TRULY IS!

Today marks the anniversary of Sara's birth, so please join with EL BEARDO in wishing her a merry one! May it be filled with only the best in hijinks and shenanigans!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rene Bond- Super Heroine?

C'mon, can't you see how much that outfit makes Rene look like a super heroine? Or maybe a villainess!

This is the kind of thing you can find on Rene Bond Tribute! It's also on OWARI 2.0 (reblogged from Coitus and Carnage)!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chaos Theory 2013 Halloween Spooktacular!

Just a reminder to local peeps that Chaos Theory 2013 opens at 6 PM local time at the Henning Cultural Center in Sulphur, LA. We're due for some nasty weather, but really, maybe that's sort of appropriate for a show on Halloween night? It does alter some of the plans, but plenty of great art is still going to be available where it will be dry.

If you'd like a sample of some of the pieces in the show, there's a folder on the Henning Cultural Center Facebook page that offers just such a thing. And folks, there's going to be two floors of this stuff!

Hope to see you there! And speaking of which, I should probably make a Chaos Theory tag for this blog!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Big In The Philippines

So, this happened last week.

I have to say, I never anticipated the significant number of hits I've received from the Philippines. They are my Number #2 referring country, after the United States. Whether it's from an entertainment list site or a forum for "Pinoy Pistol Enthusiasts" (sadly, you must register to view it), I thank my Filipino friends for always being a consistent audience for OWARI.

(OK, yes, almost all of them are here for Naomi Morinaga. Indulge me!)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Urban Nightmare Bust...Plus More!

Hey, look at that! It's my character Urban Nightmare as drawn by Sean Moore last night! He looks just as frightening as this sort of street crimefighter should. He's going to strike fear into exactly the right people!

But wait, there's more! Urban Nightmare is on my Tumblr, too! And so is Rene Bond from the same stream! I just can't post her here because she's a bit too hot for this blog. If your heart can stand Rene Bond's NSFW awesomeness, you are invited to click here!

Thanks Sean! You're tops!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rene Bond Tribute

A year or two ago (bit fuzzy on precisely when now), a gentleman named John Harrison made known his intent to write a book about Rene Bond. He even posted an official announcement in January, complete with cover mock-up. But before that, he had started a Facebook page to support the project. That page was, to my knowledge, the only active Facebook presence for Rene Bond.

I cannot be certain exactly when it happened, but that page went away in the last few months. I don't know what the status is of either it or the book, but ultimately, it's not any of my business. I am still eager to support the book when and if it comes out, because I obviously think Rene's life is a subject worth exploring.

I did, however, mourn the presence of Rene Bond on Facebook. I kept checking periodically to see if the page had returned or if a new one had sprung up in its place. It's a tricky proposition, since the bulk of Rene's career would run afoul of Facebook's TOS. But y'know, there are pages for so many things under the sun, it seemed a pity to leave Rene out - especially since she did have a "mainstream" acting career.

So I have decided to step up and create the Rene Bond Facebook fan page I wanted. It is in its embryonic stages right now, and I don't have any long term plans for it in terms of content or posting frequency. I just wanted there to be a real page that Rene fans could "like" to show their devotion to the lady.

And obviously, none of this is a replacement for a real, honest-to-goodness fully-researched book on Rene Bond. I've invited Mr. Harrison to the page, whether he intends to go through with his project or not. Big respect and a tip of the cap to the man for wanting to get her story to a larger audience. I hope it happens.

My Rene Bond Facebook fan page is here. Give it some love if you like Rene! And thanks if you do!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weird Wonder Tales #22 (May 1977)

I already owned a couple of issues of Weird Wonder Tales, but #22 was a bit of an eye-opener. For one thing, it is from much later than most of my Marvel monster reprint titles - 1977, to be exact. For another, it's the final issue, and brings to a close a very intriguing period for Weird Wonder Tales.

In WWT #19, a mostly forgotten, pre-Fantastic Four character named "Doctor Droom" was given a makeover and a new name and ushered into the Marvel Universe proper as Dr. Druid. Now, Dr. Druid isn't exactly one of the more popular superheroes ever, so it's sort of interesting to see him promoted as the star of a comic book. Granted, his series is just altered reprints, but he's not someone you would pick out in retrospect as having breakout potential.

The revelation comes in the letter column(!) of the issue, which has no letters, but rather an explanation that the book is cancelled and the reasons why Dr. Druid came into existence. More than just a hero, he was envisioned as a host character, giving continuity to tales never intended to be connected. It's rather ingenious, and a good attempt at suckering in hardcore superhero fans who might normally take no interest in older anthology stories.

The stories themselves are nothing outstanding, but they are enjoyable. The Dr. Druid story and the story he "hosts" are Lee/Kirby/Ayers collaborations, and while not to the level they would reach in short order, they are still very good. The third is a rare Joe Kubert art job for Marvel, complete with a "shocking" twist ending (and dumb authority figures).

It's no surprise Marvel chose to make Weird Wonder Tales #22 the last issue to free up room on the schedule for more promising books, but it's not a bad way to spend 30¢ at all. I even like the knowing blurb added to the Dave Cockrum/Ernie Chan cover. "Dr. Druid falls victim to the most fearful fate of all!", and you might ask, "Well, what was it?"

Why, having his book cancelled, of course.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Rialto Report: Eric Edwards

I was unaware of The Rialto Report until last night, and I fell in love with it at first sight. According to its own info page, it "is a series of podcasts dedicated to expanding the historical record on the adult entertainment industry between the early 1960s and the mid-1980s." I won't tell you I've listened to all of them, but I'm in the middle of my third one and they have all been fascinating. If you have an interest in the people and stories behind this particular subculture and industry, I recommend it highly.

In fact, I'm going to go a bit further than just recommending this podcast. The first interview I tried was the most recent, with Eric Edwards. I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but I can definitely say being moved to tears was not on the list. Edwards' story is engrossing, and at times, poignant and sad. Some of his memories of female performers Chris Jordan (his first wife) and Arcadia Lake (called "a life companion") are especially touching. Bet you wouldn't figure on hearing a poetry reading in this kind of interview.

Give it a listen. No matter what your feelings on pornography, you will find it enlightening.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Owariverse Doodles

This actually precedes the Cap/Shelly doodles I uploaded almost a month ago. Unfortunately, the pen was particularly spotty while I was working, so the scans are not particularly tight.

The centerpiece here is the Phantom Rogue. One of the reasons I have always enjoyed his character is because he's really fun for me to draw. Of course, I couldn't neglect Captain Satellite, and this version is pretty similar to the other doodle.

The other two figures are perhaps not quite as polished, but they at least interest me. Firegirl was an attempt to see how well I could get her across with an absolute bare minimum of lines. Blue Behemoth is almost like a bobble head version. I don't even know why.

Monday, October 14, 2013

History, Revised: Happy Columbo Day!

Yes, it's the time of year when we celebrate the life and career of actor Peter Falk and the TV detective he made famous! Happy Columbo Day!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Affectionately, Rene

There's not a whole lot for me to add to the birthday entry for Rene Bond I posted last year. Well, I could mention that I have become a pretty popular destination for her on the search engines since then, and I'm not exactly sure why. I guess I should know by now not to question the vagaries of such things.

One thing I could point out is the signature that appears on this photo. I have no way of knowing if it's really Rene's or not, but it's interesting in that spells her name "René." I've seen that spelling in PLAYBOY when she was profiled for the "Porno Chic" article in the August 1973 issue. Since that was probably the only time they talked to her during her lifetime, I suspect her actual name really was René Bond.

Rene Bond would have been 63 years old today. She might be gone from this Earth, but never from our hearts. R.I.P. Rene.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Night To Remember

If you don't know much about the band All Time Low, don't worry, because I don't either. I first heard about them back in April when they visited Sydney Corcoran and her mom in the hospital. You see, Sydney had tickets to their show, but couldn't attend for obvious reasons. So they came to see her instead! I remember thinking, "What a bunch of nice guys!"

Later that night, this happened. (NSFW language)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pason Skin Cancer, Surgery, Hospital, Recovery

We've talked about Pason here a few times, and all of you should know by now how much I admire this lady for so many reasons. She hasn't had an easy path, but she has persevered with class and determination. I've mostly written about her acting career here, but today, we're going to look at something a little different - but still related.

Pason was recently diagnosed with skin cancer on her forehead, and she has written about her experiences here. She's also included some photos, and they are just as eye-opening as her account of what happened to her through the whole process. Sounds like the cancer was caught in time, so thank goodness for that!

While you're over there, why not check out the rest of Pason's site?

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Giant Robot, Use Your Galaxy Gear!"

OK, here are both commercials as featured on the Samsung Mobile USA Youtube channel. The "A Long Time Coming" one is particularly entertaining, since it opens with footage from JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT! There's also footage from such shows as GET SMART!, THUNDERBIRDS, and (as promised) MARINE BOY.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Gear Commercial

I saw this commercial during the NFL games this afternoon. Wow, it really got my attention! I mean, I wasn't expecting to see both Power Rangers and Johnny Sokko! But even if those shows aren't your cup of tea, there are others that may just push your nostalgia buttons.

There is another, longer commercial with more clips and more shows (including Marine Boy!). This is all I found online right now, and I can't guarantee this particular upload will last. I'll probably be revisiting this subject in the near future.

So very cool.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kamen Rider Is Real!

I saw this story earlier tonight, and found it so utterly charming that I thought people would enjoy it. Heartwarming and cool all at the same time.

If the MSN link expires, you can see the pictures (and read the English text) at Vintage Henshin, originally posted by Purplevalkyrie.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Watching You

Watching You by ~celamowari on deviantART

There's this guy at work named Ron, and I think he thinks I'm stalking him.

I'm not sure he's wrong.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tony Camillo's Bazuka - "Dynomite"

There's something so perfectly Seventies about producer Tony Camillo assembling an anonymous studio group named Bazuka and recording a song based solely on the catchphrase of Jimmie Walker's J.J. Evans character on GOOD TIMES. And the fact that "Dynomite" made the BILLBOARD Top Ten and then was almost totally forgotten is the icing on the cake. It is almost the Perfect Storm of 1970s pop music.

...To be honest, I keep expecting more things like this to start happening in the current music environment.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson Doodle

It's Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson in a doodle I did a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I would have embedded the copy from deviantArt, but didn't like how it looked in the blog's layout.

It was good to do some drawing again, even something as cursory as this. More to come, I hope.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dirk Dixon

(Artwork by Igadevil, who hopefully will not kill me for resurrecting this 8 year old piece from the archives.)

Dirk Dixon is a bit of a happy accident. He was originally conceived for the GMB/ROJ crossover story that evolved into the "New Return of Jetman" series. When I first had the idea for GMB/ROJ, I was looking to make up a few minor cannon fodder characters, and wanted to parody assorted hero genres not typically associated with either series. Dirk, of course, was a satire on the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon style of space hero popular in the first half of the 20th century. Since those guys were cardboard in the first place, I had no plans for Dirk beyond a few lines and involvement in a single battle.

As GMB/ROJ evolved into NROJ (which makes me think of NRBQ every time I type it), I searched through the various bits and pieces of already created material, seeing what I could salvage. Dirk was one of the two cannon fodder characters that I decided could be turned into something a little more substantial. Why? Well, it occurred to me that his particular fictional niche is at once both completely divorced from the Japanese superhero genre (due to different cultures and eras of history) and completely in tune with it (the wild absurdity for the sake of an exciting adventure story).

The result turned out to be better than I could've hoped. While I'm proud of all of the work I did on this little project, Dirk turned out to be an inspired concept. By plopping a stereotypical 1930s space hero into a world of Japanese superheroes, I managed to parody the concept a lot more effectively than I could've anticipated. Because Dirk's attitudes, in addition to his trappings, are very much tied into the time period that birthed his type of character.

Dirk is a square-jawed goody goody, as beautifully conceptualized by Igadevil. He's also a racist/xenophobe (take your pick), as evidenced in his first appearance. In later tales, he was revealed to be a sexist, which should come as a surprise to no one. He's largely clueless to his surroundings, and is doggedly convinced that he is RIGHT.

And yet...there's something about him that still doesn't quite come across as sinister. He's a buffoon who plays his part completely straight, and there's something almost charming about that. I can't say Dirk is a character I'd want to hang out with if he were real, but he's a lot of fun to write. As the story took shape, his role expanded and became bigger than I'd first imagined. It also went in a direction I had never anticipated. Of the characters I've personally created for the ROJ stories, he's probably my favorite.

Monday, September 23, 2013

There's No Wrong Time For The Celestials

Jack Kirby is a creator worthy of massive respect. The Eternals is probably my favorite of his latter-day creations. As imperfect as it might be, something about the concept and characters really appeals to me. It certainly doesn't hurt that I was exactly the right age for it to blow my mind when it was originally published.

If you've been reading for awhile, you might recall that the Celestials in particular hold a special place in my heart. So here is another picture of Arishem the Judge. Why? Because I can.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Our Marathon

I'm not sure how or when I ran across Our Marathon. This explains what it's about better than I could. It's a worthwhile project, to be sure, and I knew someone in particular that I thought would be very interested in it.

My friend Sydney has contributed this piece to Our Marathon. It may look familiar to you, and indeed, it is a slightly revamped version of her story as presented here. It is still just as powerful and moving, but now it will probably be seen by even more people. This makes me very happy for her, because hers is a story that should be heard.

Sydney was recognized recently for her contribution to the site. I'm glad I pointed her in its direction, but all the credit for her work is due to her. I sincerely hope she will continue writing, because I think she has an amazing talent for it to go along with her remarkable resilience.

Props to you, Sydney! Keep on fighting!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chaos Theory 2013 Art Show

Friends, it is time to prepare again for the Chaos Theory Art Show! Surely you recall this celebration of all things awesome from past years, no? Well, it's a bit later than past years, but there's a theme and...well, I'll let Eric and Thom explain it to you!

Check it out! Chaos Theory is in full swing as of today. If you have art that you would like to feature in the show now is the time to begin framing and mounting your art! (If you have never submitted art to us then please contact us for details on how to enter a piece.) Chaos Theory opens on October 31st, Halloween night at 6 p.m.! We will be showing Ghostbusters for free on the lawn outside the gallery so come out enjoy a movie outdoors with friends and family. Head over to our trunk-r-treat area and pick up some free candy as well! Art, movie, and candy...What more do you want?

If you're a local artist, this is a quality art show run by quality guys. And if you're local but not an artist, you can still enjoy the festivities. It's a grand time, and I am sure this year will be the best ever!

For more information, download the graphic above, or check out the Chaos Theory Art Show Facebook page!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


This entry on a delightful piece of gift art from Kabuki Katze is a little unusual. Why? Because I'm only showing you HALF of the image! To see the FULL version, you will need to either click here and go to my Tumblr account or click this link to see the image on Kabuki's dA page. But a word of warning - the REASON you're not seeing the full version here is because it is a little bit, ahem, saucy. That means it is very much NSFW for those of you wasting time at work. But that may make it even MORE enticing!

Thanks Kabu! You are a woman after my own heart!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Xenorama #16

Say, didn't we just do this? Well, sure, but why not have another?!? That's right, after an absence of many years, XENORAMA is coming out with its sixteenth issue hot on the heels of its fifteenth issue!

Head honcho David McRobie has all the details here on XENORAMA #16. Or if you just wanna straight up order it right now, you can do that, too. And in case you were wondering - yes, I am involved in this issue!

This is shaping up to be an incredible issue. Can't speak for you, but I am certainly looking forward to it!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rene Bond On Youtube

As you might recall when I have previously talked about Rene Bond and my crush on her, there are not a lot of videos on Youtue of the lady. Well, as it happens, there are a couple of others besides those I've previously linked. Let's look at them, shall we?

This is from BEACH BLANKET BANGO (no typo), a parody of beach party movies. That's why Rene is sporting an impressive Annette wig in this scene. I'm...not sure if that's her singing, though she certainly could sing. It's a very nicely produced little number, all things considered.

This next clip is behind a cut, because it's still borderline NSFW despite being censored. Just be aware of that before you watch!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ListenLikeURBlind: A Follow-Up Report

So, some stuff happened after I posted this entry about ListenLikeURBlind. I decided I should take the time to chronicle the rest of the tale. A buddy of mine pointed out that by talking about this little episode, I am giving these people the attention they obviously want. This is true, and it's a bit of a downside. However, I'm convinced this is attention they'd prefer not to have. Therefore, we soldier on.

The most important thing to know is that on September 10, 2013, I was added to the ListenLikeURBlind Facebook fan page without permission yet again. That marks at least the fifth time this has happened, and it did not go unnoticed for long. Well, in truth, the timestamp for 1:24 PM local time was bogus anyway - it wasn't there at that time. However, after popping back up unbidden, I knew I could not let this go unchallenged.

I went to their page. I left the same comment, with a link to my previous blog post on this subject, on every one of their stories I could. The only thing that stopped me was that I went too quickly and was temporarily blocked by Facebook from leaving comments. Still, I left the comment and the link on 18 separate stories. And guess what? They stayed there until Friday!

On Friday, I suppose that the person (or one of the people) responsible for ListenLikeURBlind's fan page logged in and saw my handiwork. It appears they hid the comments rather than deleting them, but I can't say I care since the message was primarily aimed at them. One would assume they got it, since I am now blocked on their page. Now we wait and see if this action prevents me from being added to their page without my consent. Because really, that's all I want from them - to be left alone.

Since I was looking into things about ListenLikeURBlind, I decided to go back to the beginning for them. That's really not that far - seems it was begun in May 2012. Their results were somewhat modest at the outset, but they got quality feedback for a brand-new page - shares, likes, comments. What's fascinating is that these results have dropped off precipitously even though they are adding fans at a surprising rate. Consider this - even though their "Likes" now number in five figures, they only have approximately 38 "Shares" of their postings for the entire YEAR, and no story was shared more than twice. That doesn't seem particularly viral to me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mr. Metal by Sean Moore

This is a fun one - a full color picture of the alter ego of Paul Mann's embittered business rival Louis Schmidt. Yes fans, it is the return of Mr. Metal! No other real back story involved in concocting this piece, except that I thought Sean Moore would do an incredible job on it. And so he did!

Here's Sean's dA page for this picture!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

State of the Owariverse

Taking a timeout here to talk about the world of Captain Satellite and friends. You may not have noticed, but things have been pretty sparse with Cap and company in these parts this year. 2010-2011 was the highlight for my cast of characters, but they more or less held their own in 2012. However, it's only been through the occasional commission or gift art that they've been appearing in 2013.

This is my fault. After shelving my book project for the nonce, it's been difficult to find the time and inspiration for my characters. This is particularly bad, since it has significantly cut down on both my own works and blog entries in general here. Everything suffers when Captain Satellite gets no love.

Well, I have some doodles that I am hoping to scan. That's a start. There's a discussion on the evolution of Captain Satellite that began a year(!) ago that I'd like to continue. And I'd like to write a story before the end of the year, too. But realistically, I'm not sure that's going to happen. I have a couple of lingering projects that demand being finished, and I need to focus on them. Plus, well...I have other things I need to handle, too. But this isn't the place to be getting into that.

This is just a reminder to my readers and to me that Captain Satellite is not dead. The Owariverse is merely dormant, not forgotten.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Career of (not quite as) Evil

Just because the "BOC Challenge" is finished, that doesn't mean there's no more Blue Oyster Cult in these parts. In fact, just the other day, I was listening to Secret Treaties, my favorite of their albums! Today, we're going to discuss an anomaly about the song "Career of Evil".

As you might remember, "Career of Evil" is one of the songs that made both my list and Kabuki's list in the Challenge. Here's a refresher as far as what it sounds like:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

ListenLikeURBlind on Facebook - A True Story

I want to tell you about a mystery that has actually been going on for awhile. Thing was, I didn't realize for the longest time that it even was a thing. Maybe it has affected you, too. Maybe that's why you're here. It's about "ListenLikeURBlind" or "Listen Like UR Blind", which labels itself a "Community" on Facebook.

One day a few weeks/months (not even sure now) ago, I noticed an unfamiliar page in my Facebook "Likes". I didn't remember clicking on anything called "ListenLikeURBlind", but chalked it up to some sort of error on my part. Maybe I had accidentally clicked something and it had happened that way. I unliked the page (I wasn't interested in it) and went on about my life, not thinking much about it.

Until this past week, that is. Because "ListenLikeURBlind" was mysteriously back in my Facebook Likes. Once was a coincidence; twice meant something was up.

I've changed my password twice. I've logged out of all other devices. I've run a virus check. I'm not hacked, because nothing else has been altered on my account and I'm not sending strange messages. The only thing that's going on is that "ListenLikeURBlind" keeps getting added to my Likes. It has happened at least 4 times now.

My first instinct was to get mad at the page itself. I wavered in this conviction when my investigations turned up things like this, which indicated Facebook itself might be responsible. Now, I am back to my original thinking. And I'll tell you why.

In my looking for information on ListenLikeURBlind, I came across this page on Top-on-Social. Please take particular note of the "Fan Changes" section, and how the "Talking Changes" seems to correspond in reverse - the more fans they accumulate, the less people are talking about them. Kinda curious, if you ask me. As of this writing, ListenLikeURBlind has 31,098 fans (give or take on the current page).

What was really interesting was when I clicked on the Google cache of the Top-on-Social page. It is from June 25, 2013. Do you see? On that date, ListenLikeURBlind only had 6,769 Facebook fans. That means that this page (which remember, I knew nothing about until it was added to my Likes) has accumulated almost 25,000 new fans in two and a half months. Color me skeptical on those numbers.

To compound my suspicions, I checked ListenLikeURBlind's Twitter feed. Not only is it unremarkable, but it only has 77 followers. In contrast to 31,098 (and growing!) on Facebook? HMMMMMMM!

Frankly, I don't know enough about how these things work to develop any theories about what exactly is going on here. Suffice to say, I can VERIFY via my own experience that ListenLikeURBlind is being added to Facebook user "Likes" without consent. It happened to me, so surely it has happened to others. And that makes ListenLikeURBlind's "fan numbers" suspect and (possibly) worthless. Just an FYI to anyone that cares.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I wrote this blog entry (pre-empting fun stuff) for a couple of reasons. One, because this was genuinely bugging me and I wanted to talk about it. But more importantly, I want this story out there for anyone that puts "ListenLikeURBlind" or "Listen Like UR Blind" into search engines. I honestly think the Twitter followers for this little enterprise are more representative of the actual level of interest than the Facebook fans; therefore, I think there's a pretty good chance this blog entry will find its way into the top matches for ListenLikeURBlind.

I've posted a question on Facebook's Help Community about this topic - it can be found here, if you are so inclined. My interest in ListenLikeURBlind is non-existent if it will stop being added to my Likes, and interestingly, it has not been since I posted that question. That was after three straight days of it mysteriously reappearing in my Likes. So, we'll see.

I don't know what is going on here, ListenLikeURBlind, but I am watching you. And I am not amused.

ListenLikeURBlind Linkage (if you dare):

ListenLikeURBlind Facebook

ListenLikeURBlind Twitter

ListenLikeURBlind Blog

Monday, September 2, 2013

Unproduced Star Wars Toys

I have been aware of the The Star Wars Collectors Archive for some time, but since I'm not so much a collector or STAR WARS fiend these day, it's not a place I have lingered. Perhaps I should change this. Tonight, I have been utterly fascinated by their Unproduced Toys image collection. If you were one of those kids like me who wanted that rocket firing Boba Fett, well, this is the page for you. I know more about that guy than I possibly could have imagined.

Haha, I could probably spend a whole week blogging about subsections of this site. Maybe I will!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

1st Issue Special #5 (August 1975)

Can I just say for the record that 1st Issue Special is one of the worst titles for a comic book series ever? I'm going to refer to it as First Issue Special for the duration of this review, but even that is under protest. This was an awful title for a "try-out" series that was in reality often used as a dumping ground for completed first issues of books DC had decided not to publish.

First Issue Special #5 is one of those castoff books, and it almost doesn't seem fair. Jack Kirby did "modern" versions of all his Golden Age DC strips when he returned to the company in the early 1970s, and while both the Sandman and the Guardian (in Jimmy Olsen) are usually remembered, this revival of Manhunter is more obscure. Well, not true - it's the Kirby Connection that is obscure. Manhunter got co-opted by Steve Englehart a couple of years later in Justice League of America and remade into something lurking around the DC Universe to this day.

Thing is, I wonder how closely Steve read this comic? Or if he even did? It's been a little while since I read the JLA story, but the usage of the Manhunters in the intervening years doesn't really hew very closely with how things are spelled out here. Mark Shaw also got changed around a great deal to suit other people's purposes. I guess I shouldn't complain, since DC had already consigned this version to the proverbial wastebasket, but I found it interesting and wish we could have seen Kirby do something with it.

Oh, by the way, that cover? It's totally repeated on the splash page, and that sequence is just as insane as it looks like it would be. "The Chopper" is a pretty crazy villain for a one-off. And then, it's not even Mark Shaw who fights him, but an older Manhunter. I get the idea this unnamed hero is supposed to be Paul Kirk, and I'd imagine someone at DC not being happy about that. After all, the Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter strip (which wasn't even originally intended to be connected to the Golden Age one) was still relatively fresh in readers' memories.

As Kirby superhero comics go, this one is actually a bit reserved. Relatively speaking, of course - it's still pretty wild. There's also a plotline involving a murdered man that I don't think anyone has ever bothered to resolve. I doubt anyone cares at this late date about bringing Al Beefer ("The Hog") to justice for the death of Joe Burk and his numerous other criminal activities. Just the way it goes in comic book land.

I really enjoyed First Issue Special #5, but it did leave me with lingering wistfulness over what might have been. However, it did feature this ad, and that automatically makes any comic book 50% cooler.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Calling All Naomi Morinaga Fans!

I checked Google not very long ago, and Pictures of Naomi Morinaga was the #2 match for Naomi Morinaga. Additionally, this blog clocks in at both the #3 and #10 positions. I still don't know what to make of this foolishness, since I am just a guy living in a rural area of the southern United States. Yet I am responsible for three of the top ten Google results for a Japanese actress? Well, OK.

This does bring to mind an oddity that I am hoping some Naomi fans will help rectify. As I said, my Naomi Morinaga image blog is currently the #2 match for the lady. However, it only numbers a measly 31 Tumblr followers - and one of them is me! If it's so popular, where are the followers? Do the majority of its visitors simply not have Tumblr accounts? I assume yes.

If you enjoy "Pictures of Naomi Morinaga" and are interested in possibly further exploring Tumblr, why not sign up for an account to follow? It's free and easy and you'll even have your own Tumblr when you're done!

EDIT: A reminder that "Pictures of Naomi Morinaga", while tasteful, is NSFW.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Intro To Blue Oyster Cult: Godzilla Bash '94

In our discussion of all things Blue Oyster Cult during our little blog crossover, Kabuki Katze mentioned in a comment that she first became interested in BOC through reading about the song "Black Blade" and its Michael Moorcock connection. Now, oddly enough, I have a similar story. However, it was not Moorcock that brought me to BOC. It was instead the King of the Monsters.

I feel pretty positive that the big intro here for "Godzilla Bash '94" on TNT MONSTERVISION was also my intro to the Blue Oyster Cult song "Godzilla". Listening to it now, it's pretty obvious to me that it's not the original. I have the strong suspicion that it's the remake BOC themselves did for Cult Classic. That album came out in 1994, so the timing seems right. The music sounds too polished to just be anonymous hacks, but I haven't made the effort to dig out the CD to discover the truth. Maybe one day.

Seeing these again also reminds me how great MONSTERVISION was, and how much poorer we are as a world now that it's gone.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The BOC Challenge - Kabuki's Picks!

As promised in yesterday's Blue Oyster Cult-themed entry, I am happy to report that Kabuki's entry also went live on Aug. 21. In the interest of full disclosure, her post was written prior to mine, but I did not see it while putting together my picks. I thought it would be more fun that way. I almost scheduled mine for a time that would have put it later than hers, but I had no way of knowing that either.

Kabuki's post is just as much fun as I was hoping, because between the two of us, we only picked three of the same songs! Those were "Career of Evil", "Black Blade", and "Harvest Moon". The first two were not really unexpected, but the last genuinely caught me off-guard. Both of us only picked one post-80s song, and it was the same one! So check it out already!

Perhaps not surprisingly, three of Kabuki's other picks were in contention for inclusion on my list: "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", "Flaming Telepaths", and "Revenge of Vera Gemini". I was especially on the fence on "Flaming Telepaths" (the segue between it and "Astronomy" on Secret Treaties is a thing of beauty), but ultimately felt like I was perhaps favoring my top BOC album a bit too much. And if you doubt the excellence of Secret Treaties, check THIS out - between the two of us, we selected all but one track from the original LP.

My biggest delight in Kabuki's list is her total dark horse pick of the demo version of the original "Fire of Unknown Origin"! Not that it's a bad song - in many ways, I like this version of it better than the final one that appears on the album that shares its name. I just didn't see it coming, so my hat's off to her for digging really deep into the catalog for this!

As an addendum, there are a couple of songs that were strong contenders for me, except that I think they have been done more justice live than they were in the studio. One of those is "Perfect Water", which was included on the mostly disappointing Club Ninja. Buck Dharma had expressed his own dissatisfaction with the studio version, and the desire to revisit the song. The linked version is from 2003, and is to my mind far superior. The other is "The Vigil" (yet another alien encounters song!), which originally appeared on Mirrors. That version isn't bad at all, but frankly every live version I've heard has made me sit up and take more notice of it. Maybe you'll agree when you check out the concert recording from 2009 I've linked here.

Finally, I think Kabuki should get the last word in summing up quite succinctly how the two of us geek out over "Astronomy":

Favorite Line: All of it.