Grocery Store Artifact & PSA: Aging Driver Pamphlet

Like many stores, the one I work at has a community bulletin board and free give away pamphlets, ad-driven magazines and brochures. One pamphlet in particular pictured here gives advice to family members and aging drivers about when it may be time to turn over the keys to someone else.
Yeah, I got some advice…


PS Magazine March 2006: Joe Kubert goes invisible

Some good images from Joe Kubert in this month’s PS Magazine!

Pluses in this issue:

* Cyborg war machines looking for love in all the wrong places.
* Bear!
* How to clean sand out of your crevices.
* Haz Mat PSA’s.
* Good battery care.
* Invisible. Freaking. Soldiers.
* No puppies killed.

There is a problem supplying armor?

Oh noes! No death from above today!

Sir! I wish i could quit you! Sir!

I yam what I yam!

Mmm…polyethyl benzenes!

A soldier in this story learns to his eternal regret that shirking maintenance on your invisibility suit to play the Fantastic Four video game could have fatal consequences. As if any military would allow grunts to do preventive maintenance on a multi-million dollar invisibility suit.

Good to see that the demon bear from New Mutants finally got another gig.


Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies

Postmodernbarney shows us the face of evil in the form of a cartoon mascot for snacks.

While frightening, Dorian’s example is of a stealth-horror. He gives us the psycho…The homicidal maniac who on the surface looks like any other rabbit until it tears off your skin and eats it while whipping skippy in a frenzy with the Sound of Music soundtrack playing on the stereo in the background.

Yet, I find this image of a local Maryland corporate logo far more disturbing.

The happy, scythe-wielding bunny I saw on the side of a delivery truck a few years ago is truly terrifying, but in a manner different than the serial killer offered by the postmodernbarney-meister.

There is something about a cutesy, funny-animal grim reaper gleefully lopping off the heads of the partially entombed-alive victims that makes me lock the doors and keep the lights on at night. The bunny’s name? I bet it’s Jason.


More Money-Saving Comic Covers: First Flight

In 1987 the talented artist Luis Royo supplied this wrap around cover art for Chris Claremont’s verbose alien contact science fiction novel First Flight.

Yes, I bought it when it first came out only because it was by the writer of the X-Men. Yes, I was dissapointed in it because the novel had as protagonists characters clearly inspired by the X-Men’s Storm and Wolverine. The asian, male fight-master mentor of the female lead actually had his genetic structure modified by the alien visitors to make him more cat-like and feral.

Chris…Chris…Chris. Tsk.

Then a few years later the same art showed up as a cover for issue #37 of the Italian comic series Lanciostory Anno VXII (October 1991).

It isn’t exactly accurate to state that the comic cover is ‘money-saving’, unless the rights-holder gave the publisher a discount for recycling old art. If nothing else, it would be more precise to say that the art was ‘time-saving’, instead. It seems pretty clear that Royo (or whoever owns the art) sold the use of the image to the fumetti publisher to use for Lanciostory. While the comics fan in me dislikes seeing recycled images and prefers new stuff AT ALL TIMES, there is nothing at all wrong with it. An artist can sell his portfolio wherever and whenever he wants.

As you can see from using the GCD link above, Lanciostory used painted covers for all their magazines. I recognized only two covers has having been used elsewhere. If there are more that have similar provenance I do not recognize them, though a few seem to have familiar layouts. Issue #37 was not the only time they used recycled art. One is from First Flight and the other used art was previously published as the cover for the 1985 Ace edition of Probe, by Carole Nelson Douglas, which later then graced the cover of Lanciostory #47 (1991).

Previous frugal covers: On The Spot and Dell’s monster anthology.

Joe Kubert Hates Puppies

Uh-oh! A Nazi gets hold of Easy Company’s puppy in the recent Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #3!

While I really like the Sgt. Rock mini, I have been less intrigued by the over all story than I am in finding out exactly when the pup (named Pup, by the way) gets sent to doggie-hell via the Kubert Express.

Probably the best indicator that you are destined for a messy end in popular media is to be an ensign wearing a red shirt in Star Trek, Kyle Raynor’s girlfriend or a puppy in a comic book featuring the talents of Joe Kubert.

Of late the comic blog-o-sphere has been on fire with speculation as to the ultimate fate of the orphan pup adopted by Easy Company’s great big racist soldier known as Bull. Interestingly, the issue is perhaps purposely vague as to what actually happened to the cute little mutt. After all, as Marv Wolfman once asserted, “If you do not personally see a body then they are not dead.”

I have so many questions: Is the puppy only wounded? Did the puppy get hurt at all or was he just surprised? Is it…dead? Oh, Joe, you cruel bastard. How can you make us wait until issue #4 comes out to get the full details? I refuse to believe that a puppy in a Joe Kubert opus only gets assigned one measly panel in which to portray it’s fate. I think there is some sort of comic book law that requires any Kubertesque dog to get at least 2 pages to show it’s death, not counting the obligatory heart-breaking doggie-grave site scene.

A clue as to what ultimately happened to Pup might be seen in Sgt. Rock’s face.

Rock reacts to “The Incident”. I would not want to be that Nazi.

Another puppy-fate clue is comic history. Joe Kubert is known to be pretty hard on the cute little puppies. For Star Spangled War Stories #148 (Dec 1970), Joe and Robert Kahniger once conspired together to drop a wounded puppy from the open cockpit of a World War I fighter plane piloted by the Enemy Ace for no reason!

As proof of Kubert’s dog-hate check this related post from the caveman days of my blog: Luck Is A Puppy Named ..Oops!.

Give me some closure, Joe!

What if the real world was more like comic books?

Okay, this news article about the FBI dropping the ball before 9/11 irks me so much I may vote in the next elections just to help kick out of office every bonehead who was a part of the rampant culture of incompetence that existed. Oh, some people were not directly associated with the system that allowed such a failure? Too bad, bunkie. You were an active part of the system as a whole and you didn’t fix it. You had your chance. Maybe the next guy won’t sit on his thumbs. I’m a firm believer that any large industrialized country, for example: America, has the resources to fix their problems (like porous borders) if they really want to. If they don’t, then someone is taking steps to ensure that a given situation stays a problem. The only reason why any country allows billions per year in insurance fraud is because someone is getting rich off it. No business that allows such money to be falsely claimed stays solvent unless someone on the back end is getting wealthy by allowing it to happen.

Harry Samit, the FBI agent who arrested Moussaoui three weeks before the deadly airliner hijackings that killed 3,000 people, testified on Monday that agency superiors repeatedly blocked his efforts to warn of a possible terror attack.

As any reader of comic books knows, the lower-echelon grunts in the field are always correct in their suspicions and warnings of disaster. If the Pentagon librarian claims that Dr. Doom is going to sink Manhattan, then the brass better heed the words and call the Super-Buddies in to handle it. This type of anti-hero oracle is a tradition going back hundreds of years that popular media, including comic books, has continued to use and makes use of more often than I’d like. It’s an easy, somewhat cliched plot device that creates conflict and suspense while moving the story forwards, even if it is in a predictable manner.

Die Hard, 24, Silkwood, the Bible and Jor-El’s warnings to the science council in Superman’s origin all utilized the story device. I doubt that there is any fictional series in existence that hasn’t used the “I Told You So” premise somewhere in it’s run. It even showed up in Star Trek: Voyager once. The cyborg Seven of Nine was convinced that there was a massive conspiracy of malfeasence on the part of the government. It was revealed that the seemingly related events turned out to be innocent and unconnected, because her initial theory was based on a fallacy. Inverting the plot device had the effect of making the whistle-blower appear unbalanced.

The reason it is used so much is that the basic conflict between subordinate and superior allows for drama. The observer is part-conspirator and is made to feel they are in on the secret. It also lets the reader or viewer identify with the character as an outsider…a rebel…even though the character may be an authority figure.

“Barfetta” MAD Magazine #183 (June 1976)

Month after month the foolish guys in charge never heed the warnings of their subordinates and they always come to regret their stubbornness.

“Sir, maybe you shouldn’t release Etrigan from the binding spells to talk to him…”
“Silence, Lackey! Now, demon. Since I have just freed you I demand you answer my quest – AAAAARRGH!” (This actually happened in the Byrne series Blood of the Demon)

“Ok. On my order, wake up the Hulk with electric shocks to his testicles and focused gamma rays to the aggression-centers of his brain.”
“Uhhh, maybe we shouldn’t, Ma’am.”
“Just do it! I’m in charge here!”

“Mr. Guardian…Sir? Hal’s acting kind of…odd… lately”
“Riiiiiiight. Begone, short-lived one!”

Alien Legion #5 (v1, Dec 1984) is a good example of just this sort of story device.
Of course, in popular entertainment the protagonist always disobeys orders and after being hunted and branded a traitor for a few issues/chapters/hours manages to cut the blue wire just as the timer reaches zero to save the day.

Yet the FBI agent’s testimony makes me wonder…What If?

What if Agent Samit leaked the memo to the press?

What if his superior did a better job?

What if the agent jumped the chain of command and yelled until someone listened?

What if the real world was more like comic books?