Once again, some random bits and pieces that aren’t worth a column in and of themselves. Mostly stuff I stumbled across that provoked a memory, humorous things people sent me, and my latest podcast appearance.
Since writing the Fugitive column a few weeks back, we finished Coronet Blue and embarked on a rewatch of the original with David Janssen. It really holds up, though I have to admit that I always am amused that, whenever someone is giving Kimble’s description to the police, no one ever says, “…oh, and GIANT fucking ears, man, like Dumbo ears. They’re huge.”
They really are. This thought reminded me that I wasn’t the only one that noticed. I remembered Mad magazine had done a piece making fun of Janssen’s ears as part of a parody product ad riffing on the idea that if Beatle wigs were a thing, maybe there was a market for other wearables based on celebrity facial features.
Since you can find ANY-thing on the internet, I went looking for the piece. It’s not posted in its entirety, but the original Jack Rickard art was on sale at Heritage Auctions.
As you can see, writer Phil Hahn also suggested a Barbra Streisand nose, a Kirk Douglas chin, and Burt Lancaster teeth, as well as David Janssen ears. The model on the right is a kid who gets each one added to his face until the final shot where he’s wearing all the items along with a Beatle wig. Talk about glamorous!
I remember this so vividly because it was in the first Mad paperback I ever bought, The Portable Mad. Originally published in 1971 but mine was the 1977 reprint.
I hasten to add that I was barely able to remember the cover and it was Doug Gilford’s wonderful index to all things MAD that led me to the rest.
This just made me laugh. It holds true for columnists as well, believe me. I will add that at the old stand, I could always tell when one of my columns was promoted on the CBR front page because I had pretty much all these people show up within an hour. I could have played blackout bingo and still won.
In that same vein, this next one also made me laugh out of all proportion, because it was basically our reaction to the deluge of lunatics that swarmed Kelly Thompson whenever she wrote something that made male comics fans feel threatened or suggested that maybe arrested-adolescent hobbyists shouldn’t be the primary target audience for superhero stories.
Sharing it here so you all can pass it on the next time one of those ComicsGate guys or whoever starts ranting about what a betrayal it is for Carol Danvers to get her own movie but not Mar-Vell.
Somehow, despite not really being a fan of Arnold at all, I got invited back for a third time to guest on the Schwarzenegger-centric Podcasta La Vista, Baby!
As always, it was tremendous fun. This time it was all about Eraser, a movie I like a great deal in spite of it being an Arnold vehicle.
A friend of mine wondered… “Why does Frankenstein Jr. wear a mask? Did he have a secret identity or something? He’s thirty feet tall!”
Never considered it, but now I wonder about that too. There’s no need for it. He basically just hung out in a closet till Buzz called him.
We may never know. But by far the best reply was, “I don’t know why, but I bet he could fool Lois Lane.”
Our other Greg’s review of Marvel’s new Conan and his assertion about how easy it is to construct a Conan story is debatable, I suppose, but I think history bears him out. There was a while there when damn near anyone was able to publish a Conan story. Not even counting the comics or TV shows or whatever. Just prose.
I have read a fair number of them and I am hard put to tell you what any of them were about.
Tor Books, in particular, flooded the market back in the 1990s. I only saw a few of them but upon doing a little internet research, I was shocked at how many there actually were. All new, too, not reprints.
Which isn’t to say they weren’t good. The ones I read were fine. I wouldn’t class any of them as out-and-out BAD. Just not memorable.
Any of them is an entertaining enough way to kill an afternoon. None of them, though, have that Robert E. Howard vibe. I can’t tell you what that is, exactly, but I know that I never had any difficulty recalling the plots of The People of the Black Circle or A Witch Shall Be Born or Red Nails. But the pastiche versions… nothing. For whatever reason, they just don’t stick. I don’t know what the missing element is but Howard had it and these guys don’t.
Certainly you should never read a bunch of them in a row. They really start to feel by-the-numbers. That might very well be what Mr. Burgas was reacting to.
Of those, Turtledove’s is the clear winner, because it tells the story of teenage Conan and Venarium’s invasion of Cimmeria, an event that is only alluded to in other stories; and it’s a different angle than most of the others, which are all firmly set in the middle era of Conan tales, the wandering-mercenary stuff.
Once upon a time, my fan OCD would have prompted me to collect them all, but thankfully I am mostly over that. I may or may not get around to the new comics but I don’t feel like I’m missing out in the meantime. I still say that of the legacy/pastiche Conan writers, the only ones that really nailed it are from comics– Roy Thomas and Kurt Busiek. I’m willing to give the new ones a chance down the road, but honestly articles like this one and this one are not filling me with confidence about Marvel’s plans for the barbarian.
And that’s all I’ve got. Talk amongst yourselves and I’ll be back next week with something cool.