1/28/09

Is DC really so clueless?

DC ComicsImage via Wikipedia

On the web site I have RSS feeds for blogs from a variety of comic sources, including publishers Marvel and Dark Horse. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an RSS feed for DC Comics. I guess if you want to keep up with DC you'll just have to visit their website every 7 days or so.

But, I did find this helpful page that explains what are comics, and how you might go about purchasing said product. In response to the question "What are comics?" they write:
A. Variously referred to as comics, comic strips and comic books, the comics format as we know it today is a unique art form and literary medium that originated in the U.S. in the late 1800s. Its popularity exploded in the U.S. in 1938 with the hugely popular introduction of SUPERMAN. Ironically, it has become relatively more popular in many other countries around the world, where adults and children read it avidly. At its simplest, a comic is a series of words and pictures that is presented in a sequential manner to form a narrative.

Although many people regard comics as purely humorous or think theyĆ¢re meant only for younger readers, this is far from the truth. Today's comics span a wide range of styles and genres÷you only need to browse through our Comics and Graphic Novels to see the incredible variety that just this one company has to offer.



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1/26/09

What's your B.Q.?

This public service comic was in numerous DC comics from the 60's. This particular scan is from Metal Men #19.

On brotherhood week (Feb. 20-26)
"An unstinting dedication to freedom, tolerance, and individual dignity gave us our mighty nation. United and determined, we must stand ready to preserve our legacy." -- President Lyndon Johnson
A) Check on column for each item listed to test your likes and dislikes.
Alligators, Baptists, Cabbage, Catholics, Detective Stories, Foreigners, Indians, Jews, Long-hair music, Negroes and Spiders.
B) Do you believe that "all men are created equal?"
C) Do you think all young people should have the same chance for education, sports and jobs?
D) When a new child comes to your neighborhood, do you go out of your way to make him feel at home?
How did you make out in test A? All of us have some things we don't like. When they're vegetables or insect -- no one cares. But when they're people -- you hurt them and cheat yourself.
If you scored 3 Yes answers on questions B, C and D -- You're okay!
If you didn't -- you'd better start thinking about it!

Published as a public service in cooperation with the national social welfare assembly coordinating organization for nation health, welfare and recreation agencies of the U.S.

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Fruitman, subtext or not?

"The Bunny Ball Fantasy Theatre presents Fruitman's Vacation," from Harvey's Bunny comics #6 (December 1968).
Fruitman was a regular backup to Bunny comics.
As the Toonopedia says:
Fruitman (aka Percival Pineapple) was a "special" superhero — not quite in the sense of "special" education, but tending in that direction....Percy could transform himself into any kind of fruit. Thus, he could squirt citrus juice in criminals' eyes (with no hand at hand to slice and squeeze him), make them slip on his skin when he was in banana form (and yet, be unharmed when he switched back), and hide as a grape, blueberry, or some other small and relatively unnoticeable fruit.

Since Fruitman was published in '68, the Stonewall Riots were at least 6 months in the future, but I have to wonder whether some writer somewhere was making a comment about superheroes. Still, as you can see in this episode, Percival's sexual preference is obvious, if a little pathetic. I mean, hanging around on someone's ear?
Also, cannibal jokes are a little over the top. Is Fruitman a repressed version of R. Crumb, or a very tongue-in-cheek send up of all superheroes? You be the judge.
Here's another site that has a couple of scanned Fruitman comics.





1/25/09

When September began - Saturday Morning Cartoons

Today, when people can get 160 channels on cable or satellite and can have practically any movie ever made instantly streamed or delivered to your doorstep via Netflix, it's hard to remember the time when broadcast TV was king. But, when I was a kid, one of the best things about September was the new "Super Saturday" cartoon lineups on the big three networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. The ads would run in comics toward the end of summer, and I could almost get excited about heading back to school given the promise of hours wasted in front of the TV watching car from 7am until noonish on Saturdays.

In memorial of those days, here are some of the two page ads that ran in Archie and other comics during the sixties and seventies.

CBS 1966 Saturday Morning Cartoons
I'm not sure how this works out, since shows seem to be scheduled at the same time. I remember watching Space Ghost, the Impossibles, and the Lone Ranger, and maybe an episode or two of Dino Boy. I also watched Underdog and Mighty Mouse, but probably not in 1966.

8:00Captain Kangaroo
9:00Mighty Mouse Playhouse
9:30Underdog
10:00Frankenstein, JR
10:00The Impossibles
10:30Dino Boy and the Mysterious Lost Vally
10:30Space Ghost
11:00Superboy and Krytpo
11:30The Lone Ranger and Tonto
12:00Road Runner
12:30The Beagles
1:00pmTom and Jerry

ABC 1967 Saturday Morning Cartoons

9:00Casper The Friendly Ghost
9:30Fantastic Four
10:00The Amazing Spider-Man
10:30Journey to the Center of the Earth
11:00King Kong
11:30George of the Jungle
12:00The Beatles

CBS 1968 Saturday Morning Cartoons

I like how the caption in the lower left asks you to "Tear this out and carry it with you everywhere." And don't get Shazzan! at noon confused with Shazam! (a la Captain Marvel). This show is about a boy with a genie. Also, I only occasionally got to see Johnny Quest, since in Michigan the afternoon cartoons were usually pre-empted by football games. So, Johnny usually played at 7am, and even then I had to struggle to get up that early.
8:00Go-go Gophers
8:30Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Hour
9:30Wacky Races
10:00The Archie Show
10:30The Batman-Superman Hour
11:00The Herculoids
12:00Shazzan!
12:30Johnny Quest
1:00pmMoby Dick and the Mighty Mightor
1:30pmThe Lone Ranger
CBS 1969 Saturday Morning Cartoons
Notice that Tom & Jerry were demoted to Sundays at 9am.
8:00The Jetsons
8:30Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Hour
9:30Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines
10:00The Perils of Penelope Pitstop
10:30Scooby-Doo, Where are you?
11:00The Archie Comedy Hour featuring Sabrina the Teen-age Witch
12:00The Monkees
12:30Wacky Races
1:00pmSuperman
1:30pmJohnny Quest

ABC 1969 Saturday Morning Cartoons

8:00Casper
8:30Smokey the Bear
9:00The Cattanooga Cats
10:00Hot Wheels
10:30The Hardy Boys
11:00Sky Hawks
11:30Adventures of Gulliver
12:00Fantastic Voyage

NBC 1970 Saturday Morning Cartoons
The schedule included The Banana Splits, The Heckle and Jeckle Show, HR Pufnstuf, Here comes the Grump, The Pink Panther, Underdog, The Flintstones, Jambo (Starring real live jungle animals).
Except for the Banana Splits and HR Pufnstuf I probably skipped watching NBC cartoons that year. I remember watching one or two episodes of Here comes the Grump, and thought it was stupid. I rented it for my kids recently, and it was pretty much as I remembered.

CBS 1974 Saturday Morning Cartoons

8:00Speed Buggy
8:30Scooby Doo
9:00Jeannie
9:30The Partridge Family 2200 AD
10:00Valley of the Dinosaurs
10:30Shazam
11:00The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine
11:30Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Comedy Show
12:00U.S. of Archie
12:30pmFat Albert
1:00pmCBS Children's Film Festival

I tried to be impressed by the Hudson Brothers show, since they came from Portland, Oregon. The show was like Laugh-In, except for kids (and without the laughs). The main thing I remember about this show was they tried to make a catchphrase of 'Waco' (as in Texas). Unfortunately it wasn't until the Branch Davidian standoff with the FBI that Waco became a household name, and that wasn't funny either. This was also the season to spin off popular sit-coms into animated adventure shows. Who thought the Partridge Family needed to be set 200 years in the future? I guess the same people who thought Archie would be a good teacher for American History.And the animated Jeannie had her own genie named Baboo. Sundays they had My Favorite Martians, a cartoon version of the old TV show, and then Bailey's Comet, which was a science show. Also notice the "In the News" segment, which showed at 25 minutes after the hour throughout Saturday morning.

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1/20/09

Let's go!

Here's one of my favorite comic covers. It's from War Adventures.

Amazon