Saturday, 23 October 2021

7x7

floh u. trรถdel: couple’s costume ideas—via the ever excellence Everlasting Blรถrt 

 boutonniere: Harriet Parry’s flower arrangements reproduce iconic fine art and classic tarot card designs—via ibฤซdem

microface: a quick quiz to identify whether the subject is a font or a Marvel character (see previously)—via Kottke’s Quick Links  

์˜ค์ง•์–ด ๊ฒŒ์ž„: Squid Games Funko-Pop characters—see also 

pyrrhic victory: the rules of play for a variant called Atomic Chess allows a pawn crossing the breadth of the game board promotion to a scale that would instantaneously annihilate all pieces—of both sides

rollercoaster tycoon: Saudi Arabia transforms a decommissioned drilling platform into an extreme amusement park  

hell no: a sensible horror film

Thursday, 12 August 2021

bodice-ripping

Presently an imprint of HarperCollins publishing, Avon paperback and comics was established in 1941 and entered the market as a rival to Pocket Books, copying their successful repertoire and format and though with a reputation for harlequin and romance fiction did take a decidedly demonic turn in the mid-1960s following and informing the popular surge of interest in Satanism coinciding with the founding of Anton LeVey’s church and Rosemary’s Baby, even publishing the gospel of the former in 1969.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

8x8

united states of wildfire: as the climate emergency escalates, more North American residents are moving into the path of destruction unwittingly 

fitting in: Ze Frank (previously) reveals that even the coolest, calmest and most collected of us are all trying, coping  

d’oyly carte: an islet in the Thames with a derelict mansion built for an opera impresario will be restored to its former glory—via Things Magazine 

caped crusaders: Batman’s sidekick Robin finally comes out 

constrained systems: a tool-kit of alternative image editing effects—via Waxy  

matchi bล:a mesmerising stop-motion study of a magic match stick from Tomohiro Okazaki—via ibฤซdem

 bubblegum pop: the Osmonds 1968 song “Groove with what You Got”  

ฮฑฯ€ฮฟฮบฮฌฮปฯ…ฯˆฮท: Greek capital, archipelago beset by flames

Sunday, 8 August 2021

mst3k s10e13

Airing first on this day in 1999, lampooning the 1968 cinematic adaptation of the long-running Italian comic Diabolik, this episode marked the series finale marked the end of a decade-long experiment subjecting the crew of the Satellite of Love to bad movies. The super villain of the film wreaks havoc along with his girlfriend Eva and sidekick Ginko across Europe for his own amusement and financial gain but also fights wrong-doing with wrong-doing, sadistically punishing criminal activity not aligned with his own. Generally panned outside of Italy as the creators assume familiarity with the characters, the direction of Mario Bava with score by Ennio Morricone later was recognised for its cinematography and became regarded as a cult classic, re-evaluated after the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, a year prior scenes featuring in the Beastie Boys music video for Body Movin’.
Over the course of the episode, the satellite is inadvertently deorbited and returned to Earth with the mad scientist and her henchmen in the lair Castle Forrester liquidating assets and lining up new employment.  There is a touching final farewell.  The show was happily rebooted in 2017 though never fully out of production in the interim.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

turner d. century

A minor super-villain (see also here and here) that first appeared as Spider Woman’s nemesis in a December 1980 issue of the comic, the alter-ego of Clifford F. Michaels’ formative backstory has the character adopted by a wealthy business tycoon for whom his biological father was chauffeur and valet, the benefactor responsible for rebuilding much of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake but was displeased with the moral turpitude and vice that emerged from the rubble.

The magnate attempted to launch a campaign to restore manners and mores to what they had been at the fin de siรจcle but failed and so sheltered himself and surrogate son from the degeneracy and idealise the past with the dress and affectations of a gentleman in 1900. Raging against progress and change with toxic nostalgia, Century tried depopulating the city in various ways in order to start fresh with society (possibly with wax figures as substitutes for actual residents) including a hypersonic weapon, flame-throwing umbrella and magic time horn that kills people under sixty-five (like high-pitched nuisance feedback that only young people can hear). Century’s plans were thwarted and the character killed off finally in 1986, along with a slew of other second tier criminals that needed to be culled from the Marvel paracosm, by vigilante assassin Scourge of the Underworld.

Monday, 10 May 2021

the incredible hulk

First appearing in the first issue of the comic published on this day in 1962, the super hero’s co-creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby lists their influences for the character including Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for their dissociative alter-egos, Frankenstein’s monster and the Golem of Jewish mythology. An accidental exposure to gamma radiation received whilst trying to save a colleague from an experimental munitions blast causes his transformation, often uncontrolled and triggered by emotional distress with these unplanned destructive rampages disrupting civilian life. Initially cancelled after just six instalments in March 1963, Dr Bruce Banner / the Hulk made an immediate cameo appearance in an issue of the Fantastic Four and went on to become a founding member of the Avengers team.

Sunday, 1 November 2020

indigenous voices

We have the chance to sample more of the work of illustrator Jeffrey Veregge (previously) with his cover art featured in a Marvel franchise of Native American and aboriginal super heroes featuring the storytelling and graphic design talents of writers and artist who share the same cultural background and heritage. More to explore at the link above and the series preview below.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

a chicken in every pot

In these days when the overwhelming majority of Americans are either experiencing grave job insecurity with housing and healthcare all bundled together or a hero and a hostage to a broken, exploitative medical delivery system that’s been pared back to maximise profits by eliminating any sort of buffer, Jamie Zawinski—proprietor of San Francisco’s legendary DNA Lounge, a dance hall and live music venue—shares a long dormant memory of a comic panel from 1990 called Give Me Liberty with the president doling out a Christmas turkey for all.
The recollection doubtless jarred awake by the insistence of Trump that his signature block and auto-pen appear on the physical stimulus cheques mailed out to the underbanked (a problem exacerbated by first restricting the fiduciary role of the postal service’s geographical spread and now threatening the institution with insolvency to further isolate and disenfranchise) that will cause a delay in receipt of this much needed, be it insufficient relief—twice the amount that the Obama administration distributed but to remedy a crisis untold magnitudes greater than the recession precipitated by the sub-prime mortgage bubble. It’s a tragically apt vignette of self-promotion and deflection as surrogates for leadership and cohesion. …And two cars in every garage.

Monday, 2 March 2020

bottle episode

Via friend of the blog, Everlasting Blรถrt, we are introduced to a range of fantasy maps in the form of comics cartography in a series of cityscapes, headquarters and hideouts that includes one of the more intriguingly maniacal super villains in Brainiac, Superman’s arch nemesis. An extraterrestrial cyborg (a technopathic probe), Brainiac is responsible for the destruction of Krypton but also saved its capital city by miniaturising the buildings and inhabitants (blissfully unawares) as part of scheme to amass a collection of metropolises and repopulate his home world with subjects to rule over.

Friday, 11 October 2019

anatomy of a typeface

Via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals we learn from graphic artist Nate Piekos’ Better Letterer corner (see also) that traditionally in comic book captioning the “I” with crossbars is used exclusively for the personal pronoun whereas the single stroke “I” is used in all other contexts.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

age of aquarius

Appearing in only a handful of editions of comics since the early 1970s, Wundarr the Aquarian was commissioned as sort of a New Age, enlightened super hero—but has been largely forgotten and disdained, like all those other characters with questionable or dubious super powers. His story parallels that of Super Man (or Moses) with his distraught parents launching him into space for a life among mortal Earthlings.
Wundarr’s father’s apocalyptic prophesies did not come to pass, however, and the home world was not engulfed by its dying sun—leaving the family, to include their estranged son to be menaced by zealots who weren’t happy that one of theirs had left the flock. Having grown into adulthood in isolation (his escape pod crashing into the Everglades in 1951 but with sufficient life-support systems to sustain him until 1973), Wundarr emerged rather simple but a later communion with the Cosmic Cube—a Sword in the Stone type of talisman of such unbelievable power that no one could tolerate a full dose of its strength, save one with Wundarr’s extraordinary energy-damping abilities—gave him inarticulate insight of the nature of the Universe and instilled within him a sense of purpose. Afterward, Wundarr became the charismatic leader of a pacifist cult, trying to impart and give form to what he experienced when coming in contact with the Cosmic Cube—and welcome the coming of the Celestial Messiah. Too bad that Wundarr has been neglected—I think he’d make a good candidate for the next movie franchise once ideas for the current iteration are exhausted.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

mensch und รผbermensch

I’d guess I’d need to categorise this as one of those things the more one thinks about it, the more manifest it becomes, and I had not given much thought to the thesis beforehand that comics as more than caricature or a stock-epithet is an act of cultural reclamation.

The rise of the genre parallels social and political movements that co-opted and perverted mythological themes, pantheons and notions of bodily perfection not in the classical, athletic and temperate sense but in terms of eugenics and dehumanisation. The bombastic fantasy of Richard Wagner and the Nietzschean รœbermensch had been misappropriated and the medium of comics, drawing on real and imagined legendary sources and superhero avatars, is the taking back of such shared heritage—story-telling separated from propaganda. In the beginning, however, these characters sometimes volunteered for deployment—like in the 1940 first issue of Captain America, where the hero is portrayed as socking Adolf Hitler—sometime before the US had actually entered into the war and bucking popular sentiment—in protest to the country’s isolationist policies. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels even went so far as to ban the distribution of Superman comics under the Third Reich over intentional or perceived Jewish roots in Kal-El (close to the Hebrew phrase for “voice of God,” whom was saved from a dying planet in a space capsule but unlike Moses being found among the reeds), but the Third Reich was also very efficient on accentuating and bestowing otherness on people with traits that they would not readily self-identify with. The universes that comics contain is certainly a reaffirmation of narrative, allegory and inclusion and our alter-egos have a mythos that’s forward-going as well.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

inรบtil

Retronaut curated a series of funny comic book panels depicting rubbish superpowers (but does include this image of this Legion-hopeful being summarily rejected). What would your highly specific and apparently of limited utility superpower be? There are unfortunately more and more situations when Colour Kid's abilities could prove useful.