Marathon Monday is going to be hot! One year when I ran Boston the sun was brutal and the temperature was hovering around 90 and, believe me, in that heat you take almost every water stop! At the 24-mile mark is Coolidge Corner, and tomorrow, one day before 25,000 pairs of running shoes go by that spot, Morgan Spurlock will be at the Coolidge Corner Theatre for the premiere of his new documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.
Friday morning, Spurlock was on PRI’s The Takeaway, talking about comic books and the San Diego convention.
Spurlock says that without the involvement of Stan Lee and Joss Whedon he probably wouldn’t have gotten permission from the convention to make the movie, but Morgan is a known name and his reputation precedes him — in a good way, I think. He’s a friend to fanboys and a kindred spirit. Speaking of somebody with a reputation, here’s a picture of me with Smilin’ Stan “The Man” Lee at a show in NYC a couple of weeks ago.
When I was down in New York I stopped at the table of the Jack Kirby Museum. I donated some money and chatted with the guys representing the organization. We talked about the Kirby family’s ongoing litigation with Disney-Marvel, and we agreed it’s a shame how the company took the path it did, rather than offering an out-of-court settlement.
There’s a vocal contingent of Jack supporters who are out to make Stan the bad guy for stealing credit that rightfully should be shared with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. But the well was poisoned long before the so-called Marvel Universe came into being in the 1960′s. As the late Joe Simon said on page 114 of My Life in Comics, “Jack always thought Stan had told his uncle that we were working for DC. He never gave up on that idea, and hated him for the rest of his life — to the day he died.” The hard-line Jack supporters have taken Kirby’s hatred to heart, and I think their zeal has caused them to lose their perspective. As I told the Kirby Museum reps, I will not support Jack by hating Stan.
I was going to try posting something, but decided to focus on getting ready for my trip to NYC. This time tomorrow Denro and I shall be hob-nobbing with Joltin’ Joe Sinnott, Stan “The Man” Lee, and the Fonz! Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…..
I’m getting ready for the New York Comic Book Marketplace show in, you guessed it, New York. Denro and I will be heading down there on Friday. Going through a portfolio of original art, I came across some stuff I did myself, over twenty years ago, when I was an occasional contributor to the Comics Buyer’s Guide. The late Don Thompson bought pretty much everything I submitted, except for a cartoon that made fun of writer Peter David’s barf bag puppets. These are a few cartoons I never submitted.
Here’s my take on what really happened after the Fantastic Four were bombarded by cosmic rays. The caption is “Sue! Where ARE you?? SUE!!”
In this one I wondered, “What if Disney bought Marvel Comics?” At the time the idea was silly, but now it’s reality!
I did bunch of strips paying homage to Calvin & Hobbes, calling them the names of two other philosophers, Carlyle & Hobson. I had Calvin-Carlyle’s parents commit him to a psychiatric institution, where he meets Dennis the Menace.
P.S. This one is from an attempt at doing a comic strip.
Denro tipped me off that Barnes & Noble stores have bargain-priced copies of Mark Evanier’s book Kirby: King of Comics. I bought one for $12.95, so now I can keep my autographed copy on the shelf. This deal is, from what I can see, available only in stores.
As I have said before, Jack “King” Kirby — a title given to him by Stan Lee — was the greatest creative force the comic book biz will ever have. Kirby’s family has, so far, been unsuccessful in getting money out of Disney-Marvel, and that’s wrong, because the corporation owes the man a lot.
A TV show I enjoyed a lot as a kid in the 60′s was Dragnet. When I was older I learned that Dragnet had not only been on TV in the 50′s, it had first been a radio show. The revived Dragnet returned with its old formula, and supporting cast members, intact. In the intervening years Sgt. Joe Friday had apparently been overlooked for promotion, despite his unbroken string of cracked cases and successful arrests.
In the Fifties, Dragnet dealt with some hard facts of life, such as drug addiction and sex crimes. When Jack Webb returned as Joe Friday ten years later, he used the show to crusade against the growing influence of the youth culture. There was an anti-Summer of Love attitude, and Hippies were depicted at best as misguided and confused kids, or as drug addicts hiding behind the trappings of Eastern religion. Parents were concerned about the rapid pace of change in Sixties, and many were struggling with rebellious teenage children. In 1968 the world seemed to be coming apart at the seams, and Webb offered a clear, unwavering view of right and wrong. It’s my opinion that the popularity of Dragnet helped to get Richard “Law and Order” Nixon elected in 1968.
Even the growing ranks of comic book collectors, empowered by the Batman TV show, weren’t spared Webb’s critical gaze, as seen in the infamous “Superfan” episode. I saw this when it first aired, and it starts off nicely enough, with a brief history of Hollywood, but towards the end it’s painful for an old fanboy to watch, because I have to admit there’s a lot of truth in what Stanley says.
Getting back to Dragnet in the Fifties, the link at the end of this sentence searches eBay for Dragnet OTR. “OTR” stands for “Old-Time Radio,” and as you can see there are plenty of sellers offering Dragnet radio shows. Anybody who buys one of these collections is wasting their money, because they’re available for free on Archive.org, from a wonderful organization of enthusiasts called the OTRR — the Old Time Radio Reseachers Group.
If you don’t feel like downloading and unzipping the files, you can listen to Dragnet on Tunein.com. I’ve been having a lot of fun doing that for the past few weeks. It’s interesting to compare the radio and TV versions of Dragnet. For example, here’s an episode from 1955 called The Big Deal.