Fans of famed comics artist Jules Feiffer
will surely recall his good-hearted but light-headed character who spontaneously broke into dance to celebrate or bewail any proposition or concept, however absurd. You can see an example of Feiffer's creation to the far right.
Well, it appears that Feiffer did not create such a character, but merely drew from life. Or perhaps the gal whom you see in mid-air, next to the Feiffer panel, was inspired by Feiffer.
For in this BOSTON GLOBE obituary
we learn how "Gabrielle Orcha of Cambridge, a choreographer and playwright," intends to mark her grandmother's passing.
"As a tribute to her grandmother, Orcha has choreographed a dance, commissioned by the Citi Performing Arts Center, that she will perform at the Shubert Theatre in May."
"Dance to Departed Nana." I can't wait.
The creative folks at Marvel Comics pride themselves on the fact that their fictional universe closely mirrors the real one--with the addition of superheroes, natch.
For instance, Spider-Man operates in New York City, not some imaginary "Metropolis."
And when the President of the USA is depicted, it's not Lex Luthor, but the real office-holder of the moment.
But the recent issue number four of the miniseries Foolkiller
reveals a startling incongruity between the Marvelverse and ours.
Either that, or scripter Gregg Hurwitz and editor Axel Alonso have never ridden in an actual airplane before.
You see in this page the fat victim of the trained assassin enter a lavatory on a commercial flight. We'll give Hurwitz and Alonso props for mentioning that it's a tight fit. Nonetheless, enormous victim and killer somehow squeeze in together, whereupon the lav suddenly enlarges like a Tardis.
And then the killer drowns his victim in the potty.
Airline toilets simply do not feature basins of standing water. They operate with the push of a button and a sparse rinse of famous blue chemicals.
This killing, then, requires a larger suspension of disbelief than the existence of the entire Avengers, and will surely jolt any half-awake reader completely out of the attempt at realism.
That's just weird.
I can heartily recommend this book to any reader interested in oddball comics or strange corners of pop culture in general. The authors are acknowledged comics experts, and they've dug up some very bizarre comics, here shown as cover images only, no interior pages from the offenders. Your life will never be the same, after you've been introduced to, say, All-Negro Comics
or Hansi, the Girl Who Loved the Swatstika
I loved reading Harvey Comics
as a kid, and into "adulthood." (They're not published anymore, alas.) Their universe was quintessentially wacked and weird. As famed comics scribe Grant Morrison has remarked in an interview, sometimes the willed naivete of Silver Age writers following the Comics Code produced much stranger stuff than any consciously avant-garde writer could.
Take the two page strip to the right for instance, from an old digest-reprint of some Casper stuff. To parse it is to risk madness.
Is Nightmare indeed a mare, ie, female? if not, and even if so, is that the gayest hairdo ever, on horse or human? Why does a forest gnome like to hang out with a ghost horse? Why is playing human cowboys popular among the gnomes? Likewise riding an airplane. And finally, how demented does a ghost horse have to be, to stick planks up its butt and into its chest, and then purr like a cat, all in an effort to emulate a mechanical device so as to placate a gnome?
How I miss Harvey Comics! Thank goodness Dark Horse is reprinting some.....
for December 1945. Two scans, top and bottom.]
There is nothing spectacularly "weird" about this particular entry in our series, except that the artist is William Steig
, the famed illustrator and author responsible, most notably in Hollywood terms, for Shrek
. It's curious to see him turning his talents to advertising during his early career, as so many artists who later grew rich and famous once did.
Perhaps the true vestige of weirdness here, though, is the image of the proud boy wearing his Jughead cap. You can learn about the history of the Jughead beanie and how to make such a cap yourself at Juggie's Wikipedia page
. Or perhaps you'd want to buy one readymade, either here
But maybe you want to go for the entire Jughead look
Yes, I want my beer to be endorsed by a drunken chipmunk who's been taking fashion lessons from Andy Capp.
Amazingly, despite this appalling choice of spokes-mammal, Stegmaier Beer
remains in business to this day, as you can see if you follow the link.
Any reader ever tasted a "Steg"?
Yes, the San Diego Comic Con
--or "Nerd Prom" as it is sometimes called--might be over for another year. But it's never too late to fill your life with tchotchkes that uphold your geek credentials. And it's especially easy when you have a resource like The Budk Catalog
. Imagine the envy of your nerdly pals--and the instant appearance of a SWAT team--when you parade through your hometown while wearing these Wolverine claws. Hospital coverage due to police sniper fire not included.
When I was a kid, I loved the comic strip THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME
, by Jimmy Hatlo
. It was one of my first introductions to poking fun at irrational or weird human behavior.
What I did not quite realize is that the strip had a revival under artist Al Scaduto
. But unfortunately, he passed away on December 8, 2007, and his last strip ran on February 3, 2008.
Here's an archive of that current version
If only you had been reading Popular Mechanics
magazine for February 1929! Then you could have purchased the same Purple Ray
healing device that Wonder Woman uses! Okay, so it was a "Violet Ray." Same difference, right?
Synchronicity in the creative arts is pretty weird. The independent invention of very similar things. Charles Fort
, one of the masters of all things weird, even had a term for it: "steam engine time." Fort's notion was that when an era was ripe, it called forth certain creations multiple times, without coordination among mere humans.
I was reminded of this recently in a small way while watching the 1942 film TO BE OR NOT TO BE
. In this film, Robert Stack plays a dashing Polish aviator named Lieut. Stanislav Sobinski.
What other fictional dashing Polish aviator premiered right at this time? None other than Blackhawk
, who debuted in August of 1941.
Could it be a simple case of the Blackhawk
comic influencing the scripter of To Be or Not to Be
? Unlikely, given the short span between the debut of Blackhawk and the release of the Robert Stack film, which had to be in production for some time prior.
It's more likely that the plight of Poland under Hitler's invasion called forth the notion of a national hero. But why aviator? Just the romance of aerial combat, I suppose.
Here're pictures of Blackhawk and Stack in his role (leftmost figure, below) to compare. Stack is out of uniform in this shot, but when he's wearing his flying outfit, the resemblance to Blackhawk is uncanny.