12/26/10

Ziggy Loses It for Christmas

Both Ziggy and Family Circus have their critics, but yesterday's examples were the epitomes. Family Circus focuses too much cute kids, to the exclusion of being funny. The Christmas edition for 2010 has no punch line, but I suppose it's an acceptable version of the "Merry Christmas" strip.

Ziggy, on the other hand, long-criticized as irrelevant, hammers that point home with an inscrutable Batman / Spongebob movie mashup. Wha?

Is the "joke" that Ziggy is such a loser he's going to see a movie on Christmas? Or, maybe it's that he's going to see a really old movie, since there hasn't been a SpongeBob movie in the theater since 2004. I think the real joke is that my local paper continues to pay to run Ziggy on the comic page while laying off local writers, except I don't see any humor in it.

12/14/10

"3 Story" by Matt Kindt

2,752 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

As of May 28th, 2010, US armed forces have suffered 4,404 deaths and 31,827 soldiers were wounded in action. The Associate Press estimates there have been 110,600 violent Iraqi deaths due to the conflict. All these numbers are staggering, but hard to fathom until you successfully place a story next to any one of the deaths.

A similar sentiment is uttered by one of the characters in "3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man." "When they put a number on it...it just made it real. But cold, like a business transaction."

In this case, the speaker is talking about his son, who was evidently killed in an accident involving Craig Pressgang, the Giant Man of the title.  Craig has a brain tumor which stimulates his pituitary gland, causing him to grow unnaturally large.  As a result he's six feet tall by age nine, more than ten feet tall while in college, and continues to grow to more and more mammoth until his death.

The book is told from three viewpoints.  The first story is Craig's mother's point of view. She mourns her husband's death in battle during World War II, and dotes on her son as a replacement for her lost "Butchy."  Craig's sudden growth ends that hope, and she treats his growth problem more as an act of rebellion than a physiological aberration.  When Craig starts having friends and dating girls his mother feels like "the hat-check girl they walk by on the way to the rest of their lives."  When Craig leaves home for college it's difficult to tell if he's leaving her, or she's closing the door on him.

The second story is told by Jo, Craig's girlfriend/wife. She meets "3 Story" at a protest rally, and there's a cute story detailing how they start dating.  She's an artist who sees Craig both as an architectural marvel and a human being.  The fall in love and decide to get married. Meanwhile, he's contacted by the CIA and given a secret job as a courier.  During their honeymoon Jo becomes pregnant, and Craig continues to grow.

The larger he grows the longer the nerve impulses take to reach his extremities, which is both a metaphor and a reality for someone who is soon approaching 20 feet tall. As a celebrity, Craig participates in the New York Thanksgiving Parade, walking between Snoopy and Underdog.  When he suffers a fit and topples into a building the image evokes the attacks of September 11th, 2001.  Kindt uses a full page to render the image of the Giant Man toppled into a skyscraper under the headline of "Disaster!"

Mirroring the first story, as Craig grows upward his wife becomes more distant, and she literally blocks him out of her life, building a smaller house inside their large house.  Eventually they can't even talk with each other, his voice is too booming loud, while hers is but a whisper in her ears. They communicate via rough messages on a chalkboard.  Since he's been let go by the CIA, and fearing he'll harm his wife or their young daughter, Craig leaves to wander the world in a massive walkabout.

The third and final story comes from the Craig's daughter as she searches for the ultimate resting place of her father.  She's received an advance from her publisher, which she's using to literally follow in her father's footsteps.  She learns the secrets of how the CIA manipulated Craig Pressgang, but she also has new questions as she follows the map.

The way Kindt relates the book of "3 Story" is interesting. Each story is from the first-person point of view, so we never know the internal thoughts of Craig Pressgang.  The only way to know Craig is through the stories told of him by the various characters, or by the images shown on the page. I suggest this is a metaphor for the larger problems in life, like wars, or 9/11, or even economic crises. Problems like these are too large for anyone to fully know unless we can relate to an individual's story.

"Three Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man" is drawn in a thoughtful way. The art has a sketchy, functional look about it, reminiscent of courtroom watercolors, which works well for the documentary aspect of the story. The story can be read in many ways. For example, Craig's abnormal growth could represent the expansion of the US economy and military after WWII.  Or, Craig's distance from his mother could be a metaphor for the growth of the teenager in the 50's.  The wonder of Kindt's work is that it suggests these thoughts without explicitly talking about them.

This book, however, isn't a feel-good, good overcomes evil sort of story.  Craig dies in the end, as do we all.  Yet, Kindt leaves us with a feeling of hope that some of our actions will be understood by allowing Craig to find a resting place near his loved ones. It's as if he's trying to find meaning to all the deaths in wars and tragedies through history.  Additionally, one of Craig Pressgang's most important actions is staring us right in the face. "The closer I looked at everything, the less I seemed to under stand," she says. "I guess ultimately the only clue to his identity was what he left behind."

Here's a link to Kindt's website, and  here's an 8-page new story about the Giant Man.
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12/7/10

Christmas 1969

Sometimes all you want for Christmas is to be 6 again.
Here's a bit of Major Matt Mason nostaglia from the Sears Christmas Book 1969 catalog.



11/24/10

The Science of... Flash #121

In 1961 the world was bubbling with technological advancements.

The spring of that year President John F. Kennedy gave the country the goal of sending an American to the Moon before the end of the decade. Project Mercury was already underway, halfway to its mission of putting a human in orbit around the Earth by February, 1962. Only a few years earlier the Laser had been invented, and by the end of 1962 light emitting diodes would be developed at GE. In addition to the new frontier of space, visionaries such as Jacques Cousteau were working on permanent undersea living facilities. Science and technology were omnipresent and unavoidable.

Evidently DC editor Julius Schwartz and Flash writer John Broome figured that science also sold comics, shown by the "Flash Facts" pages, and the integration of basic scientific facts throughout the stories of the early 60's. A couple years later I'd pore over that information as if it contained the secret footnotes to Einstein's theory of relativity. Re-reading them as an adult, however, some of those facts break down, but they're still interesting.

The first half of Flash #121 is the story "The Trickster Strikes Back!"
 

Centrifugal Force - On one page The Flash performs several acts of super-speed. In the first frame the editor's note says "Flash's astounding speed enables him at times to defy gravity itself!"

Ok, so the Flash can run up walls? I've seen Jackie Chan run up a wall in movies, and I've also seen pretty cool parkour stunts, but how would it be possible for the Flash to run up the side of a skyscraper? Whenever Jackie does it he's using his forward momentum to hold him to the wall long enough to push off with his feet. Unless he's bouncing between two wall, the forward momentum can only last a fraction of a second.

My first thought was "centrifugal force," which would have been wrong. Wikipedia tells me centrifugal force is a fictitious force, created by a centripetal force combined with Newton's First Law: a body in motion tends to stay in motion. When the two forces act on the body it causes it to move in a curve, such as a ball on the end of string going in a circle. When the centripetal force is removed by releasing the string, the ball travels in a straight line.

So, for the Flash to move up a skyscraper he would have to either have had a massive centripetal force applied to him at the base of the skyscraper, or he would have a continuous centripetal force applied to him perpendicular to the building. For the sake of the story I'm imagining he grabbed a horizontal bar at the bottom of the building and swung around that. His speed was great enough to provide the force to fling the scarlet speedster along the path of the building in such a way that he appeared to run up the side.

Gyroscopic Forces & Electrical Circuits - In the third panel of the same page Flash performs a literal high-wire act. "By moving fast I can keep my balance! And the voltage in these power lines won't affect me as long as no part of my body is in contact with the ground."

The second half of the statement is easier to corroborate. In an electrical circuit a ground is used for a return path for the electric current. Since the wires may not be insulated, and also since electricity follows the path of least resistance, if Barry Allen touched both the electrical wires and the ground he would become a literal flash.

It's the first portion about "moving fast" to keep his balance that I question. No matter how quickly the Flash is moving, his inertia (see Newton's First Law above) will make him tend to move in the same direction. If he stumbles he'll stumble quickly and lose his balance. The Flash might want to take a page from the tech of one of the Rogues, the Top. If the Flash was spinning he could use gyroscopic force to maintain his balance.

Aerodynamics - In the final panel the Flash avoids ending up as a street pancake with one of his favorite tricks: "By thrashing my legs at super-speed...I build up enough air pressure under me to ease my descent...and hit the ground slow enough to avoid these wires."

Potentially this could work, like a bumblebee in flight, as long as the Flash had airfoils on his feet. If he had some curved surface or articulated plane that could catch the air and produce an aerodynamic force then it just might work. Unfortunately, despite the little wings on his boots, I have never seen anyone mention that the scarlet speedster's costume is aerodynamic. It's more likely he'd beat the air and suffer some shattered tibia before the stunt was over.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee#Flight

 

In Flash #109 the writer explains how the Flash can penetrate walls "just as a tornado-driven straw can penetrate several feet of solid oak." Evidently that was regretted because they have a new surprise for us: The Flash evades an explosion by vibrating through a wall, perhaps the first time he uses this soon-to-be-common technique. "By vibrating his body at hyper-speed the amazing Flash can penetrate a solid wall because the molecules of his body in super-vibration slide past the molecules of the wall!"

Ok, believe it or not, we already have an example of molecules moving through walls: it's called osmosis. In osmosis water and other liquids move through a semipermeable cell wall without disrupting the membrane. Since humans are mostly water, it's just a short logical step from osmosis to the Flash vibrating through a wall, right?

Luckily, the Flash is able to overcome all these scientific hardships and put the Trickster behind bars once again.

In the second story, "Secret of the Stolen Blueprint!" Barry Allen attends his 10-year college reunion and meets up with a classmate who's working on a new hydrogen power generator. Spies steal the device and the classmate, who knows Barry's a friend of the Flash, asks for the superhero's help.

Persistence of Vision - In order to make it appear that Barry Allen and the Flash are two separate people, the Flash performs a stunt moving at great speed so it seems that both Barry and the Flash are in the room together. As the editor notes, "scientifically this effect is the same as that seen on a motion picture screen where the frames succeed each other so swiftly that they give the appearance of continuous action! By super-speed, Flash is enabled to appear in place as Barry or himself a sufficient number of times per second to fool the eye into thinking he is there all the time!!"

What the writer fails to mention is that in a motion picture camera there is a shutter that interrupts the image between frames, causing us to see a series of individual frames rather than a blur. Using persistence of vision, our brains merge the stream of individual frames into moving images. If it weren't for the shutter movies would be a muddled affair.

 

In the Flash's case, he would have to have some way of darkening the entire room in the transition times between Barry Allen and the Flash. Otherwise, his college chum will see a red blur passing between the images of the two men.

Turbulence - The Flash tracks the hydrogen power plant thieves to a submarine, and dives into the ocean. The editor makes two comments on this page. "At super-speed, the World's Fastest Human can swim for miles under the surface without rising at all!" and "Just as a powerful ship in passing can pull unwary swimmers into its propeller wake, so Flash can create the same effect!"

 
Assuming the Flash does not have hydrofoils on his feet, yes, it's likely that kicking at super-speed can create a turbulence that will pull in the spies. Wikipedia defines turbulences as "fluid regime characterized by chaotic, stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time." Exactly what the Flash is doing with his feet at super-speed.

As far as being able to swim for miles... the average person can hold his breath about two minutes. In various issues of the comic the Flash has run around the world in less than a few seconds. We know from the Flash #108 he can surpass the speed of light. In that case it should be easy to swim for miles in less than two minutes, but the big question is how the Flash can expend so much energy using only the Oxygen available to his limited capacity lungs?

Thanks to the DC Comics Database for a memory refresher on the plots of Flash #121.
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11/21/10

The Science of... Flash #109

Here's another entry looking at the science behind the principles mentioned in the Flash Comics of the 1960's.  In Flash #109 the Mirror Master returns and uses his mirrors again to befuddle both The Flash, and inadvertently Barry Allen.  Even as a kid I could see the "science" of the Mirror Master was pure fantasy, but there were some other aspects of the plot that have some roots in reality.

Air Resistance - The Mirror Master uses a special mirror to shrink The Flash so he's knee-high to a mouse. As he avoids the villain the Flash tumbles from the top of a building, but as the editor notes "It is a fact that tiny animals can fall from great heights without injury! This is because of the slight weight and the buoyancy of the air!"
 
There is a problem with this "fact." The force that slowed Flash's fall isn't the "buoyancy" of the air, since it would have to be the "the net upward buoyancy force is equal to the magnitude of the weight of fluid displaced by the body." In that case The Flash would be swimming in the air, yet we can see in panel that he's falling. The editor must have been thinking of air resistance, or drag. Wikipedia defines drag as "forces that oppose the relative motion of an object through a liquid or gas." So, as The Flash falls, the air resistances slows his descent.

Radiation - The last panel is packed with internal dialogue as Flash explains how he'll use "certain radiation" to grow back to his full size. A quick search on the internet shows that, yes, some amphibians, fungus, and plants grow larger under UV or infrared radiation, but the same search will also yield results showing that some tumors can grow and metastasize under similar radiation. Hopefully The Flash knows what he's doing, since he's full size a page later where we see my favorite "Flash Fact."

 

Tornado Forces - As the Flash erupts a wall the editor notes "just as a tornado-driven straw can penetrate several feet of solid oak, so can Flash at super-speed penetrate solid walls!" This was one of my most favorite Flash facts, as well as a convenient mechanism for speeding up the action. I mean, this "fact" gave the Flash the ability to run through walls -- way cooler than Superman bursting through the wall.  Fortunately for us we're dealing with fiction, since this ability is about as realistic as time-travel.

It's true that a tornado has a lot of force, and can send field grass flying at speeds greater than 200 mph. But most evidence and experimentation doesn't show that the straws pass through trees without harm to either object. MythBusters had an episode dedicated to answering the question whether the grass could go through the tree. In their experiment the grassy missile penetrated less than an inch into the tree.
"Propelling a piece of straw at a palm tree at a distance of 50cm at 320mph (the world record for recorded wind speed at ground level), the straw only managed to penetrate the tree a quarter of an inch. Even firing at the tree while it was bent (to increase the size of the pores in the surface of the tree) at point blank range added no additional distance into the tree. A piece of reed was tested as the sturdiest organic object that might be mistaken for a piece of straw. At both ranges, the reed only managed to go about two inches into the tree. Additionally, Jamie tried a piece of piano wire, and at 50 cm, it flew not only through the tree but through a sheet of plywood on the wall behind it, partially embedding itself into the cement wall."

Regardless of whether the straw could pass through the tree, if the Flash tried to use his super speed to zip through a wall, he'd probably end up partially embedded in it, or considering that he doesn't quite have the same structure as a reed, maybe splattered against it.
Actual straws that thought they were The Flash
Interestingly, during my web search I found I school in Texas that has a research lab studying the effect of wind-generated debris on structures. The lab has a device that shoots lumber, PVC pipes and steel rebar into fabricated walls. Perhaps the Flash should read their report before he tries that trick again.


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11/14/10

The Science of... Flash #108


The tagline to my blog is "everything I know, I've learned from comics." In a way this is completely true, since my original love for learning came from the comics I read. The Flash was especially inspiring, not only because of the superheroics, but because the writer & editor, John Broome and Julius Schwartz, put so many details into the stories. I especially liked the science tid-bits, not always factual, but always carefully documented with a footnote. Let me point out a couple I found in Flash #108.
Fulgurites - In "The Speed Doom!" other-dimensional aliens have been stealing items that were imbued with super speed, such as some fulgurites. According to the editor's note: "A fulgurite is fused sand or rock formed by the action of lightning!" Of course police-scientist Barry Allen knows all about fulgurites and he uses this bit of knowledge to crack the case.

Photo of an actual fulgurite
The Speed of Light - In the course of investigation he's tricked onto a treadmill which is designed to steal the Flash's speed. In a desperate attempt to escape the trap he runs faster than 186,234 miles per second, which is the speed of light. Despite science to the contrary, the Flash breaks this barrier and foils the trap.
 
Evolution - In "The Super-Gorilla's Secret Identity!" Grodd has invented an "Evolution-Accelerator" to advance him along the evolutionary track. Unfortunately, Grodd seems to have fallen victim to the same misapprehension as the Pokemon brood in believing that he can evolve himself. Evolution by definition takes place over generations. Perhaps Grodd meant that he was going to metamorphosize himself, or perhaps cause himself to mutate. Still, that proves even a super-gorilla can make mistakes, which is a good thing for the Flash.
 
A few pages later The Flash attempts to capture Grodd, and demonstrates two scientific principles and raises a philosophical one in just a few frames. First, he puts on such a burst of super speed that his shoes cause friction to ignite the Oxygen in the air, noting that our atmosphere contains Oxygen, and that friction can cause heat. Secondly, he cites the "irresistible force paradox," which boggled my mind in my younger days. Briefly stated: "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?" Wikipedia mentions that the paradox is most often discussed in the context of God's omnipotence ("Can God create a stone so heavy it cannot be lifted, not even by God Himself?"), but I always imagined this as Flash's speed meeting Superman's invulnerability.
Thanks to the DC Comics Database for the summary of the plot.
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10/16/10

Captain Marvel for President (CMA #41 - 1944)

With the midterm elections, and the upcoming 2010 presidential elections everyone remarks how "this time it's different." People cite the war, the economy, and backlash at incumbents. Interestingly enough, you can find cycles of this again and again through history. In fact, the 1944 elections were held in the middle of WWII, at a time when the economy was just beginning to pick up, and one of the candidates was the most entrenched President ever. Wikipedia does a good job summing up the situation:
The United States presidential election of 1944 took place while the United States was preoccupied with fighting World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) had been in office longer than any other president, but remained popular. Unlike 1940, there was little doubt that Roosevelt would run for another term as the Democratic candidate. His Republican opponent in 1944 was New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. Dewey ran an energetic campaign, but there was little doubt, in the midst of a world war, that FDR would win a record fourth term.

I recently picked up a copy of Capt. Marvel Adventures #41 from 1944 and was surprised by the cover.
 

Take a look at the two people carrying Captain Marvel, do they look at all familiar?  Let me suggest they're caricatures of FDR and Thomas Dewey.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Thomas Dewey
I find all sorts of things interesting about this cover.  First, the fact that FDR is carrying Captain Marvel.  Since 1929 FDR had been increasingly paralyzed by disease, and in 1944 his doctor gave him at most six months to live.  In the Internet age this would be the death knell for even a school board candidate, yet FDR and his administration managed to limit public knowledge of his health problems, restricting photos of him in a wheelchair, and completely covering up his failing health.

Second, to portray the sitting president and the presidential candidate on the cover of the most popular comic book of the 40's either says a lot about the comic, or about the candidates.  It looks to me like CC Beck and the writers at Fawcett are poking a bit of fun at the campaign.  1944 was the height of WWII, and also the height of restrictions on luxury items and even staples.  A note above the indicia asks readers to order in advance "We are trying to cooperate 100% in the war effort. With this aim in view, and due to the paper shortage, we a cutting down on the number of copies of each magazine printed....ask your news dealer to reserve your copy."  "Captain Marvel Adventures" was the most popular comic of the 40's, outselling Superman and anything from DC or Timely.  With Capt. Marvel's popularity, I'd say it was a natural and clever jibe to promote him over the politicians.

And finally, the placards stating "Captain Marvel the People's Choice" is just a clever way of advertising their own product.  Sure, he's the most popular, but it doesn't hurt to toot your own horn every once in a while, and this cover gives Fawcett a chance to announce that on the news stand, next to your competitor's comics.


In the story the the likenesses are less pronounced. The "distinguished guest" in the second panel of the story looks more like Mr. Moneybags from Monopoly than FDR.  Once again they him walking, which would not have happened with FDR in a wheelchair.


Note the appearance of Captain Marvel/Billy Batson's assistant Steamboat in the third panel. Reportedly, Steamboat is the first black character in any of the Captain Marvel Adventures (CMA) books, although he's less a character and more of a comic-relief stereotype.  It's a sad reflection on the times and everyone involved in the publication that while they provide accurate and detailed portrayals of real people and places in CMA, Steamboat is such an offensive cartoon.

During the story it turns out that the distinguished guest wants Capt. Marvel to run for president of the Ancient Society of Moose, although Cap is confused due to a persistent jackhammer interrupting their conversation.  Some crooks are also confused, and they try to foil the campaign, sure that President Marvel would come "after us crooks wid de Army and Navy! and Marines!"  Likewise, the Big Red Cheese isn't sure he could handle the responsibility of being president.  In the end he decides not to run "My job is to fight crime, and that's a big enough job for one man!"

The writers give us lots of opportunities to imagine what it would be like to have a superhero as president.  For example,in this sequence the crooks toss a bomb. The crowd goes wild when Cap saves the day. "That's the kind of man we want for president!" "A man of action, courage and daring!"
 
This issue is a real time-capsule of public sentiment at the time.  The lead story isn't "Capt. for President," but "Captain Marvel Battles the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man."  The old wizard Shazam summons Billy to the subway tunnel and alerts him that every four years the living counterparts of the statues assemble some place on Earth to plot further wickedness.  You might recognize Dr. Sivana, who turns out to represent Pride and Injustice in the storyline, but I wonder if the character of Hatred in the last panel was supposed to represent Hitler?  His crewcut and upraised arm certainly suggest it.
 
Throughout the 40's Fawcett would set many of the CMA stories in actual locations with real personages.  In "The Adventure of the Two Heroes in Dayton, Ohio," Billy Batson is assigned to cover two soldiers from the Pacific theatre of war as they speak in Dayton. According to Mr. Morris, Billy's boss, "The city is having a special war bond and speed-up production drive."  Billy meets with Dwight Young, editor of the Journal-Herald and Walter Locke, chief of the Dayton Daily News.  Other local notables, such as Dayton Mayor Frank M. Krebs, radio personalities Lin Mason and Paul Ackerman of WING and WHIO's Dick Cull and "Si" Burdick also appear in the course of the story.  Even the soldiers are actual people, although due to the way the story is edited it's not clearly mentioned that they are Pfc John Bright and Pfc Stanley Kupinsky.

The plot is that some "Jap" spies are trying to kill the soldiers, putting an end to the bond drive and demoralizing the war plant morale.  The villains are obviously demonized, drawn with cartoon features and yellow skin that stands in contrast to the fine-lined features of the real-life characters.  The lampoon is so blatant that it almost interferes with the story at a point where the spies pose as "lowly Chinese" laundry workers in order to gain entrance to the war plant.

This issue also has a great chapter from the ongoing serial The Monster Society of Evil.  Titled  "Chapter 20 Mr. Mind's Book!" it tells the story of how Mr. Mind decides that the pen is mightier than the sword, and his manifesto, "Mind Kampf!", will spread the poison of propaganda and help him crush humanity.  Mr. Mind has his crocodile henchmen print up 10,587,432 and a half copies of the first chapter to give away. Even in his ruthless takeover of humanity Mr. Mind is thinking of the war effort: "If it weren't for the paper shortage I'd print up a billion copies."

The crocodile men are called slaves in this chapter, although Wikipedia suggests they are Crocodile Men from the planetoid Punkus.  It also suggests that they influenced the creation of Sobek for the DC series 52 from 2006.  Personally, I think one of the most memorable and surprising parts of 52 is where Sobek convinces Osiris to turn human, and then eats him.
 

 

Of course, the way comics got their 4th class mail rate was to include a one- or two-page text story.  This issue has "The Fourth Pigeon" by someone named Jack London Berkebile. It's about a young Greek resistance fighter named Nikoli whose family is forced to eat their carrier pigeons for food. Luckily he saves the fourth pigeon, and after Nazis attack his family he sends the bird on its way to warn the Greek guerrillas in the mountains. The story is remarkable for the image of the boy using his own blood from a Nazi-inflicted cut on his face to write the warning message on a scrap of paper.

And finally, since I had the scanner warmed up, here's the back page.  I love how this Dick Tracy Detective Kit offers you the chance to play "Detective Spy, Saboteur games."  It's "almost free" and "worth many dollars in hours of fun to you."
 

10/9/10

Chrysler Comic: Things That Even Dads Don't Know About... (1959)

In this 1959 comic from Chrysler, Bill comes home bursting to tell his dad everything he saw during his guided tour through the "huge Chrysler Corporation," which includes "missles, and air conditioners, and tanks, and cement, and.." all sorts of swell stuff.

The comic covers the new 1960 Chrysler car features: Plymouth's air-scooped fender insert, Dodge's double-barrelled taillight sets, flying V taillights and the Imperial's gunsight taillights (seems to be a lot of focus on taillights). The Constant-control power steering gives their cars "the quick reflexes of an athlete," while the push-button transmission control "works at the flick of a finger."

They also mention the Simca cars, which Chrysler imported from France. "Over 750 quality dealers selling and servicing Simca in this country." In a stunning aside they also mention it got 37 MPG gas mileage on "regular grade gasoline."

From there the comic jumps into the space age, mentioning the missles Chrysler built for the US Army: The Redstone, the Jupiter and Jupiter C, and Juno II. The Jupiter was used in the wold's first space journey, sending a monkey to the edge of space. They also mention the Mercury program, which was a year in the future, and how Chrysler plans to provide the missles for the training flights.

On the back page Bill quotes his dad as saying Chrysler is "one of the most vigorous, dynamic companies in America."















9/26/10

Homage to Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead

2010 photo of a 1987 shirt
In the late 80's I was really into Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead. As an homage to Zippy I enhanced a short-sleeve button-up shirt from Goodwill into a timeless keepsake... at least for me.
The shirt reads. "Punk Rock, Disco Duck, Birth Control -- I am Reporting as a Modern Person...I want to do the Hustle Now!!!", with "YOW" on the back.

I don't remember if I made up the text, or got it from one of the strips in Pinhead's Progress, which came out about that time. Looking at it now Zippy looks a bit robotic, but since it was the 80's that's understandable.

At the time I was in a band Maurice and the Chevaliers, and this was my performance shirt.


 

9/23/10

The Depth of Charles Schulz

The rear-window view of Charles Schulz's body of work is continually in danger of being obscured by late-life Peanuts reprints and MetLife commercials.

Yet, occasionally I spot a strip or frame that has the spark or angst that made Peanuts a national treasure. Here's one example I found on the website www.counter-force.com.

Amazon