Wednesday, May 24, 2017

R.I.P. Sir Roger Moore.

We mourn the passing of actor Sir Roger Moore, on May 23, 2017, at the age of 89. 

Roger Moore was the personification of British suave… and cool, regardless of the role. 

Beau Maverick, a late but welcome entry to the classic western series MAVERICK, TV’s Simon Templar in THE SAINT (the role I’ve historically associated him with), and my most recent Moore discovery THE PERSUADERS, with Sir Roger so perfectly paired with – and played against – Tony Curtis! 

But, unquestionably Roger Moore’s greatest achievement was making the role of James Bond “his own”, in the wake of Sean Connery’s indelible imprint on Agent 007!  

Indeed, one needn’t press me too hard to get me to admit a preference for Moore over anyone else in the role – especially on the two occasions where he encountered wacky Sheriff J.W. Pepper, played by actor Clifton James, who also passed away earlier this year.  

And “Moonraker”, which I liked so much I parodied the title for a Donald Duck secret agent story - "Tycoonraker". 

On a completely unrelated note, it was Roger Moore who convinced friend David Hedison to take the role of Captain Crane on the weekly television version of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-1968), after Hedison had turned down the same role for the previous feature film version of VOYAGE in 1961.  Moore had come to realize the virtues of regular work and pay on a regular series with THE SAINT (1962-1969), and so convinced Hedison.  

Ironically, it was his television work on THE SAINT, and perhaps THE PERSUADERS as well, that LEAD Moore to the cinematic role of Bond.  

  Thank you, Sir Roger Moore, for so many great – and historic – moments!   

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fun With Comics: Dis-Armed and Dangerous!

We all know how violent Tom and Jerry cartoons can be – at least the GOOD Tom and Jerry cartoons!

But, for all of Tom’s suffering…

…has an act of violence this shocking ever come his way? 

Consider the cover of 1955’s TOM AND JERRY # 133.

Now, examine the reprint of that cover for 1966’s TOM AND JERRY # 231. 


We may never know the gory details, but it appears that Tom has LOST HIS LEFT ARM!  Shudder! 

…And those callous little mice just go on swimming as if nothing has happened! 

Ah, but fear not, folks… some skillful surgery, perhaps on the part of Doctor Droopy, restored Tom’s arm for the next reprinting of this cover for 1978’s TOM AND JERRY # 308.   

"Shhh... Don't tell him how I did it, folks!"

So, all’s well that ends well!  

Then again, we only see Tom's RIGHT ARM, don't we?!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Surveying the Sixties!

No folks, this Blog is not dead... though it really should have come back long before now.  Unfortunately, its humble proprietor remains (all together now) horrifically busy with life's necessary chores and obligations, a need for more sleep in order to carry out those chores and obligations, and joyously still writing for IDW and Fantagraphics

However, we do take occasional time to enjoy ourselves, as noted in THIS BLOG POST by friend Marc Whinston. 

It details our activities of Saturday evening April 15, 2017, when Esther and I hosted something I've wanted to do for a very long time - and hope to do more of in the future. 

Also, as an added bonus, HERE is a link to Marc's post on a presentation I did at our Cinema History Class - aka the "Thursday Night Horror and Sci-Fi Appreciation Society".


Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year 2017! 

My plans to return to this Blog later in 2016 didn’t exactly come to fruition, did they? 

However, I’m still optimistic for a return some time in the first half of 2017.  But, since I’ve never failed to wish you all a Happy New Year yet, please have a very Happy New Year – and enjoy this festive (…for Eega Beeva and Ellsworth, at least) illustration by our friend Debbie Anne Perry!  I think it should have been an alternate cover to IDW’s MICKEY MOUSE # 15, the issue released most closely to, but not past, New Year’s Day!  Don’t you?     

...Though, shouldn't Eega's noisemaker go "Pfwee!"?

Please rest assured that things are good, but also remain (all together now) “Horrifically Busy” – though it sure feels good to squeeze out this Blog post. 

The (all together now) “Horrifically Busy Period” also cut into my IDW work during the second half of 2016 as well – but I still have a few things coming up.

A Two-Part Uncle Scrooge vs. The Beagle Boys with a medieval twist.

Super Goof’s rematch with a daringly different looking Dr. Dunk. 

Goofy gives romance advice to Clarabelle via an online video (!).

And Ludwig Von Drake lectures us on the subject of The Moon.  …He can do it too, because he's already been there!

Before I go, I just wish to thank each and every one of you for your support of this Blog.  It is that support that I hope to live up to in the new year of 2017!   And, thank you, Deb, for an illustration wonderful enough to sit me down at Blogger once again! 

After all, I can't let Melvin be a more prolific Blogger than me, can I?  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Going Dark for a While!

Ever see those Blogs that don’t get updated for weeks, maybe months, and sometimes even a year or more? 

Of course, you have!  We all have.  Some of them are even operated by very good friends of mine. 

Well, since beginning this Blog in August, 2008, I would strive to never let that happen.  And, until very recently I’ve been successful at honoring the commitment between Blogger and Readers. 

But, circumstances have become such that I can no longer provide the “level of service” that the readers of and visitors to this Blog have both become accustomed to – and truly deserve.  So, for the foreseeable future, and rather than “let you down” or keep you wondering as to this Blog’s operation, I will (hopefully, temporarily) suspend all such activity.  

Rest assured the primary reason for this suspension is that old culprit “Horrific Busyness”, primary caused by the Day Job becoming more complex and all-consuming almost by the day – added to certain other life circumstances that have also contributed to the tumultuous mix.

Know that, whatever those circumstances, it is nothing harmful or injurious to me, to Esther, to our health, property, or relationship.  It is merely a multitude of events conspiring to severely limit my time at the computer.  Something (actually, MORE than any one thing) had to go and, unfortunately, this was it. 

Do know that, while the Blog may be in blackout, you will continue to find me in the pages of the IDW Disney comics and Fantagraphics’ series of Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse hardcover books.  Please continue to support both these worthy endeavors, as this is one golly-wower of a time to be a Disney comics fan!     

I have every intention of returning to this Blog.  I enjoy it – and especially your support of it – too much to walk away!  It may be weeks, or months, or for the remainder of the year.  I cannot honestly predict, but we will return to resume our regular merriment.  I thank ALL of you for the many years of support.  It has given me great joy! 

We’ll close (for now) with a few less-somber items…

As I said, you will continue to find me in the pages of the IDW Disney Comics…

MICKEY MOUSE # 13: “The Twelve Buttons of Napoleon”.  Long lead story by Romano Scarpa with with Pete, Trudy, Morty, and Ellroy (who you met in Issue #12, courtesy of Scarpa and Thad Komorowski).

WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 733: “Night of the Living Text” written and drawn by the great Casty!  An amazing, outlandish, genre-parodying adventure that goes where few, if any, comic book stories have gone before – and I’ve read a lot of ‘em, folks!  

I’ve just seen the first lettered proof of it, and this may very well be one of my favorite comic stories of all time!  Certainly of this modern era, at least!  I cannot say enough about what Casty has done with this, and I’m honored to have helped bring this story to the United States!  If you liked “Plan Dine from Outer Space”, you will LOVE “Night of the Living Text”!

MICKEY MOUSE # 16: “Rain, Rain Go Astray” Another short Super Goof back-up drawn by Jack Bradbury – with a somewhat different version of “Dr. Dunk”. 

And, in some stage of completion, a wonderfully bizarre team-up for Mickey, Donald, and Goofy… with two utterly amazing “guest stars”.  Giorgio Cavazzano really pulled-out all the stops for this one!  I don’t exactly know where this will appear, but I suspect it’s destined for a future issue of WDC&S.

Over the next two Fantagraphics Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson releases, I will discuss the introduction of Eega Beeva into the strip – and his decades-delayed entry into American Disney comic books, as well as his lasting impact since that entry.  And, a wonderfully bizarre Outer Space Adventure for Mickey and Eega – courtesy of the limitless and fantastic imagination of the strip’s writer Bill Walsh, with some great cartooning by Gottfredson to pull it off! 

I hope you'll be there for all of it!  

And finally, some DVD recommendations…  

Remember how utterly fantastic the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION DVDs used to be?  Few, if any, animation DVDs have lived up to that standard since – especially lately! 

However, there is a new series of DePatie/Freleng Enterprises theatrical animation DVDs that come as close to that grand old GOLDEN COLLECTION feeling as any new animation DVDs are ever likely to come!  

Imagine commentaries on individual cartoons, and special documentary features, with respected animation historians such as Jerry Beck, Greg Ford, and our very good friend Mark Arnold! 

There will be sets for every non-Pink Panther theatrical DFE series, and I suggest you get them all! 

And, although it’s been out for several months, any fan of LOST IN SPACE must get the 50th Anniversary Blu-ray set – even if you have the earlier season-volume sets of a decade ago. 

Beyond episode transfers far in excess of the previous, sorta-inferior ones, there are episode commentaries and features with surviving cast members, certain episodes optionally offered as their initial CBS network presentations with bumpers and mid-sixties era commercials inserted, promos from both the original run and years of syndication, the Hanna-Barbera animated pilot, a 2000s era animated pilot test sequence, the Jonathan Harris segment of the A&E TV series BIOGRAPHY, and more than I can even think of at the moment!   

This is the ultimate, Holy Grail for any LOST IN SPACE fan! 

And, there’s a new LIS comic out that has just released its second issue!  Gotta love THAT!    

It’s been a tremendous amount of fun (though bittersweet) preparing this final entry – and that makes me want to continue!  So, we will return. 

Meanwhile, thank you all for making this such a great time!   

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

We're Still Here!

Very sorry for the uncharacteristic and prolonged absence from Blogging, but I'll bet everyone's lives have had periods that are just like Donald's in this great William Van Horn cover -- and this has been one of mine!  

My usual designation of "Horrifically Busy" doesn't begin to describe it, but know it's nothing personally horrible or injurious... just busy.  

The "day job" has totally dominated the last several weeks, there have been things to write for IDW and Fantagraphics (that's the GOOD part of being "Horrifically Busy"), and even domestic and personal obligations have run at a much higher pitch than normal as of late.  

I haven't even been to the comics shop for more than a month, so most of you are caught up on comics I still have not seen, much less written about.  

But, I *do* expect to finally go this evening, when DONALD DUCK # 12, with my dialogued "Vicious Cycles" is out - even if I have to force the time to do so.  

There are unpublished comments that I will also get to soon, but don't let that stop you from sending more.  Indeed, they will cheer me up and help get me back into the groove. 

Anyway, I hope to have a post on DONALD DUCK # 12 soon - if, for no better reason than I've ALREADY read it, and that'll save me some time!  

Oh, and look for a cameo by two unexpected characters in "Vicious Cycles", and we'll see you soon!

UPDATE:  Wednesday evening, I did go to the comic shop and picked up a month-plus of comics - including DONALD DUCK # 12.  

Then, I did a rare thing!  It was a PERFECT day in New York, and so, rather than go straight home, I pulled into a McDonald's, ordered some food, that included some perfectly hot and fresh fries, sat in my car with all the windows open and read "Vicious Cycles" while eating those perfect fries and some small burgers!  

It was wonderful, and exactly what I needed to help shake off the "Horrifically Busy Blues"!  

I'd also like to thank everyone who has welcomed me back, and know that I will get all the backlog of comments published, with my usual responses, over the next 2-3 days.  

...Then, we'll be caught up and can move forward again!  Thank you all for your patience! 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Good Luck and Bad(?) Luck for Gladstone Gander.

Looking at the current cover of IDW's WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES... anyone reminded of this cover from Disney Comics' DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES? 

Hmmm... I wonder if, at least according to the visual evidence of the cover image, is this REALLY "The Day Gladstone's Luck Ran Out"?   

Yes, he's slipped on a banana peel and is destined to fall down a manhole... but, if not for that, the SAFE, improbably flung from an undisclosed great distance, would have otherwise killed him!  

Maybe, once he enters the manhole, there's even a ladder or other hand-hold for him to grab on to, so he doesn't hit the bottom, or splash into some icky, dirty water.  ...Or even a discarded mattress floating by down there for him to land on!  

And, to boot, Donald is even going to lose a delicious PIE while observing the incident!  

Oh, and one more thing, as Columbo might have said; Who or what, in the "American Disney Comics Universe" circa 1991 would have the power to throw a safe like that?  Some villain who stole Super Goof's goobers?  

Maybe he's off to catch the safe - but won't be in time to save Donald's pie!