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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From The Archives: My LEGO Pyramid

Somewhere in my teens, I grew bored with LEGOs. I briefly explored abstract creations with the specialized pieces of Technic and Classic Space, and created octahedrons using the classic bricks.

Eventually, I used a 50x50 base plate, and constructed a pyramid with bricks. Using almost every brick I had, I corbelled each brick so that half of each brick was attached to the one below, creating a stair-step angle. I had to calculate which row would have which color to maximize the use of bricks. I only used one cheat: a blue layer needed a brick, and I had to laminate slats to create the needed brick. I soon discovered that each side tended to buckle towards the middle of each side, which necessitated the use of braces along the bottom half of the pyramid.

Since this was a pyramid, I felt that the interior should have some sort of ritualistic purpose, and designed a complex structure inside. However, all that remains of this are some schematics drawn on graph paper. LEGO does offer a digital construction program on their website, and I might reconstruct this digitally.

Once completed, I stored it away in a cabinet with the remains of my other LEGOs. Roughly eight years later, I dusted it off, and wrote a paper for an architectural history class, investigating the use of LEGOs and corbelling techniques. I passed the class... and the original paper awaits rediscovery via Macintosh System 9.

What follows are pictures taken with my Treo cellphone, as I deconstructed the pyramid. Almost very brick is classic, although some were from Classic Space sets.











Plot Factory: Boy Meets Girl

My freshling year at Cornell College, I took my English requirement in the Spring. Sitting in South Hall, trying to type a report on a PC with a three-color monochrome screen (orange type, white type, green type), staring out the window at the warm weather, I started the following to keep from going crazy. The original draft had 78 choices for Girl, and 68 for Boy. I added more, ending with 108 Girls and 95 Boys.

Later, when I transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I turned this list into a french-door binding for an art class on non-adhesive bindings. The professor, Bonnie O'Connell, then invited me to adapt this into a fifteen-by-fifteen print for an invitational portfolio. I spent Spring Break typesetting the text, fueled with Double Stuff Oreos and Mountain Dew.

The Big Idea: Start with the basic plot. Select one possibility from each, and use that to write a story.

Plot: Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love with Girl.

Girl is:
engaged/promised to another boy.
a figment of Boy's imagination.
using Boy to get revenge on her parents.
a different religion than Boy.
not interested.
possessed by Cthulu.
suffering from an Electra complex.
from the wrong family/social class/gang/species.
jail bait.
pregnant.
all of the above.
Boy's mother.
Boy's father.
really a boy.
Boy's long lost sister.
J. Fred Muggs in drag.
a terrorist.
Boy's assassin.
a leader of a small European monarchy.
an alien humanoid from another planet.
a prostitute.
a mafia princess.
Typhoid Mary.
an IRS agent.
an agent for the KGB.
a porn film star.
an advertising copyrighter.
actually Cleopatra.
a private detective.
a time traveller trying to prevent the future from happening.
a psychologist studying acute sexual deficiencies in human males.
a right-wing, flag-waving, God-Bless-Amurika Christian.
a swimsuit model.
a television producer.
a writer of Gothic romances.
an editor for the National Enquirer.
a fugitive.
a foreign spy.
a statue.
a mermaid.
an insurance salesman.
a robot.
a millionaire.
a ghost.
a psychopath.
a nymphomaniac.
a militant feminist.
a manic depressive.
a masochist.
a sadist.
schizophrenic.
terminally ill.
a vampire.
a werewolf.
a nun.
a contributing editor for People Magazine.
a painting.
a drug kingpin.
an actress looking for her big break.
a donut dolly during the World War Two.
an animal.
a witch.
Catherine the Great.
a Neanderthal.
an undercover police officer.
Boy's reflection.
Boy's teacher.
an animated cartoon.
a comic strip character.
Boy's nanny.
Boy's guardian.
Boy's step-mother.
Boy's niece.
Boy's aunt.
Boy's grandmother.
Boy's mother-in-law.
a clown.
an Olympian immortal.
Boy's professor.
Boy's minister.
minister's daughter.
an hallucination.
Boy's evil twin.
an Army drill sergeant.
the anti-Christ.
Boy's daughter.
a telephone sanitizer.
a foreign exchange student.
a junk bond broker.
Death.
a mime.
a spokesperson for "No Excuses" jeans.
kidnapped by gangsters.
an angel.
a blood-sucking alien looking for a host.
boy's student.
a gold digger.
a zombie.
a Valkyrie.
Eva Braun.
a KGB agent who was using Boy, but who has since fallen in love with Boy.
a cheerleader.
Boy's warden.
an orphan who was raised by black widow spiders.
the Pope.
farmer's daughter.
is Elvis in cognito.


Boy:
kills Girl.
kills himself.
kills himself and Girl.
kills Girl and serves her to parents as main course.
kills Girl's family.
kills Girl's boyfriend.
blackmails Girl.
keeps Girl captive in basement.
marries Girl.
marries another girl to escape from Girl.
dumps Girl for European model.
sells Girl into slavery.
loses Girl.
turns Girl over to the authorities.
abandons Girl in the Amazon rain forest.
leaves Girl waiting at the altar.
enlists Girl in the United States Marine Corps.
marries Girl's sister.
marries Girl's mother.
seduces Girl's brother.
enters a monastery.
enters an insane asylum.
joins the Merchant Marines.
joins the Peace Corps.
joins the French Foreign Legion.
changes his identity to escape from Girl.
changes his gender to escape from Girl.
defects to Albania.
gets drafted.
participates in questionable genetic experiments.
escapes to the Amazon, and is never heard from again.
turns himself over to the authorities.
is cryogenically frozen to escape Girl.
flees to deserted island in the South Pacific.
volunteers for missionary work in New Guinea.
writes bestselling novel about his experiences with Girl.
assassinates the President of the United States to show his love for Girl.
appears on late afternoon talk shows.
overthrows a small African dictatorship.
wins a Nobel prize.
writes best selling love song about Girl.
saves Mankind.
dies from sheer boredom.
becomes a chronic alcoholic.
withdraws into himself.
fails blood test.
starts Armageddon.
dies from shock.
is never heard from again.
wakes up.
does nothing.
doesn't care.
self destructs.
sells soul to the devil.
builds a luxurious palace for Girl.
has torrid love affair with Girl's mother.
leaves wife for Girl.
dies from battle wounds.
elopes with Girl.
rapes Girl.
has deep meaningful relationship with Girl.
kills Girl's brother.
creates a popular television sitcom about Girl.
loves Girl anyway.
forsakes family heritage to marry Girl.
undergoes operation to be equal to Girl.
dies in Girl's arms.
writes Doctoral thesis about Girl.
volunteers to fly the Army's experimental fighter, is lost somewhere over the Caribbean.
kills Girl's rabbit, makes rabbit stew.
gains infinite wisdom, realizes that Earth is illogical, and destroys it.
marries Girl, has 2.3 children, makes $25,063 a year, and dies an average death.
asks Girl to prom.
ridicules Girl in front of entire student body.
writes, directs, and produces TV Movie of the Week about Girl.
performs questionable genetic experiments on Girl.
joins police force to find girl.
dumps Girl for Girl's brother.
reveals that he, too, is what Girl is.
remembers previous appointment, leaves Girl.
wins lottery, enters life of decadence.
elopes with Girl's moose.
accidentally kills Girl's brother.
reveals secret identity to Girl.
writes bawdy limerick about Girl.
goes AWOL to elope with Girl.
wins six Olympic Gold medals, becomes immensely wealthy, and forgets about Girl.
joins leper colony to escape from Girl.
is exiled from society for associating with Girl.
rescues Girl.
invents time machine to escape from Girl.
invents faster-than-light travel to escape from Girl.
changes gender to fulfill Girl's sexual needs.

This Is Only A Test

My True Fans will recall one of my earliest posts, "Testing Email Posting", where I posted a tongue-in-cheek test.

The following was the inspiration for my test. I acquired it from my uncle, Herr Doktor Hans Steffen, business professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I do not think he ever administered this test, although I do recall him laughing over the questions.

(I do know of one English professor who administered a test over Hamlet with one question: "At the end of the play, who survives?")

You have four hours.

From the Archives: Buttons


Here are a sample of buttons I have collected up to circa 1994. This is not the complete collection, but just the best. Many were purchased when I was in my hippy rebellious stage in college (purchased from a counter-culture / progressive catalog based in Minnesota). Others were collected from comics shops, others were lying around the house, a few I actually purchased in stores or found at garage sales.

Since then, I have found many more, mostly via science fiction conventions. (The "Watergate" button is an example.)

If you are wondering, the "Mutants for Nuclear Power" button was pristine at one time. The stains are from water damage, not radioactive material. Now that I think of it, a luminescent button with that design would be pretty cool...

YouTube: Martha Stewart and Cookie Monster

Here we see Cookie Monster visit Martha Stewart's kitchen, to bake cookies.

Of course, the word "cookie" cannot be spoken, lest Cookie Monster loose control. Of course, the magic word is spoken, and Cookie barters with Ms. Stewart to satisfy the cookie monkey on his back!

Enjoy!





Something a bit more serious:

From the Archives: Self-Portraits From The Erlangen Comic Salon

As you saw in the previous post, I attended the Comic Salon in Erlangen, Germany, in 1994.

It was my first comicbook convention, and I guess a was a bit uncertain what to expect. As comics events go, this was quite interesting... the city embraced the show with the Lord Mayor having breakfast with many of the guests, the train station had advertising to promote the festival, and there were comics displays in the local bookstore window.


Wandering around the convention hall, I soon realized that various guests were drawing free sketches for attendees. I quickly departed for the nearest stationery store and purchased a drawing pad.

What follows are various self-portraits I commissioned from the guests. Many artists do not regularly draw self-portraits, and most hesitate before drawing.

This is a pencil sketch of/by Henrik Dorgathen. He won the Max und Moritz Preis for Best German-Language Comics Artist. Space Dog, a story told entirely in icons, had been published the year before, but I was short of funds, and Mr. Dorgathen graciously drew this quick sketch.



This artist, unfortunately, is lost in my memory. He is German, but that's all I can hypothesize.






This is Hunt Emerson's self-portrait. Mostly unknown in the United States, he is probably best known for his adult humor comics, such as Casanova's Last Stand.







Scott McCloud visited Erlangen to promote the German editions of Understanding Comics and Destroy! He was situated up on a mezzanine, and seemed a bit forlorn.

The next day, I visited him again, and had him draw an abstract version of himself.





Finally, we have Neil Gaiman, who is not known for his artwork (although he did create one of the first 24-hour comics). Since this was back in 1994, he was not yet a rock star, and the line, while lengthy, moved quickly. Don Rosa, on the other hand, had to hand out tickets for his Duck drawings. Of Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, and Don Rosa at the Ehapa booth, Don Rosa was the most popular. (Yeah, that was typical of Erlangen. Joe Kubert was also there, signing archive editions for another publisher, but he was only autographing his books.)

The next Salon is in June 2010. I suspect the festival has gotten more popular, although the comics scene in Germany is still a bit nascent.

From the Archives: Neil Gaiman

While travelling around the world in 1994, I spent two months in Europe, mostly visiting family in Hannover.

While there, the biennial Comic Salon in Erlangen was taking place, so I took the train south to northern Bavaria. The Salon was quite amazing, as the entire city embraced the culture and art of the medium! The salon itself was small as compared to other comics shows I've attended... The MoCCA Festival is probably the closest comparison to what I experienced in 1994.

My German is passable, allowing me to survive well enough on my own. I knew very little about the European comics scene, attending mostly because many American (and British) guests had been invited by German publishers. I learned first of the Salon because of Don Rosa, then met Will Eisner, Hunt Emerson, Scott McCloud, Joe Kubert, and Neil Gaiman. What surprised me the most were the free sketches most artists made for attendees! I quickly bought a sketch pad from an art store, and collected many sketches. I was extremely fortunate to be one of the first to get a sketch from Don Rosa, who actually produced FINISHED artwork... pencilled in blue, then hand inked! Not a quick sketch, but what would be considered a commission... I asked for a Guardians of the Lost Library motif (the story had just been published in May) and he delivered! Of the others, I asked for self-portraits of each artist, since many do not publicly produce them.

I had spent three months in New Zealand while travelling (and would have stopped my wandering there had immigration not been so difficult), and found all of Neil Gaiman's early stories for 2000 A.D. He graciously signed them, and then even agreed to a quick self-portrait. This might be the only time he has done this, so I am sharing this with the world. The original is on A4 paper.

Later, during the Max und Moritz Preis reception (the awards ceremony was held at the Opera House, preceded by a comedic gymnastic performance), I eavesdropped as Mr. Gaiman told a cautionary tale of an actual industry professional. Of course, I've kept it to myself, as it is not my story to tell.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From the Archives: LEGO "Wir Bauen" Idea Book

Yesterday morning, the grandkids (my nieces and nephew) came over to play.

Being the cool uncle that I am, I excavated my box of LEGO bricks from the basement.

When I was younger, I was a LEGO fanatic, having inherited the toys my three older brothers had outgrown. Every Christmas, I would get one big set (or some smaller ones). For those box-shakers out there, rattling LEGOS have a sound unlike any other! Sure, you know there are LEGOs inside, but what kind? And what are you going to build?

My friends were Space Lego fans (Star Wars influence, circa 1980), so most of my sets are from the early years of that series. (Alpha-1 Rocket Base, Starfleet Voyager (suh-weet)...)

I have lots of the older, traditional bricks (now known as Creator), and used them to build a massive pyramid on a 50x50 base plate. That was my swan song as a child, although I did use that model as the basis of a paper on corbelling for an architectural history class at university.

So, while I was digging around the boxes, I found some older manuals. The following pictures are from a magazine-sized book which was old when I first saw it. I have no idea what the original looks like, but as a kid it was both fascinating to look at and frustrating to contemplate. Here were little dioramas, little Legoland displays I could make, but the pieces were too exotic! (Clear bricks, those rare quarter-column curved pieces, flags!)
The text is German. "Wir bauen" translates to "We build". I love the illustration style, somewhere between photo and illustration. Note that brick edges have been highlighted to help builders decipher brick placement. This document is from the early 1960s, as LEGO entered that market in 1959. Possibly 1964, when instruction manuals were first produced. The staples were lost years ago, so I have arranged the pages thematically.

Enjoy!
























Friday, December 25, 2009

BN.com Top 1000 Titles Graphic Novels and Comics 12.25.2009

BN.com Top 1000 Titles Graphic Novels and Comics Friday 25 December 2009
(reviewed at 12:01 AM)


Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #4) by Jeff Kinney
Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780810983915
Sales Rank: 196
Pub. Date: October 2009
List price: $13.95
Online price: $11.16
Member price: $10.04


The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb by R. Crumb
Hardcover - Not appropriate for children
ISBN-13: 9780393061024
Sales Rank: 258
Pub. Date: October 2009
List price: $24.95
Online price: $16.21
Member price: $14.58


Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #1) by Jeff Kinney
Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780810993136
Sales Rank: 304
Pub. Date: April 2007
List price: $12.95
Online price: $10.36
Member price: $9.32


The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #3) by Jeff Kinney
Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780810970687
Sales Rank: 314
Pub. Date: January 2009
List price: $12.95
Online price: $10.36
Member price: $9.32


Diary of a Wimpy Kid Four Book Set by Jeff Kinney
Hardcover - 4 Hardcover books
ISBN-13: 9781615579181
Sales Rank: 403
Pub. Date: December 2009
List price: $52.80
Online price: $34.32
Member price: $30.88


Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Barry Marx (Editor)
Paperback - REV
ISBN-13: 9780930289232
Sales Rank: 462
Pub. Date: April 1995
List price: $19.99
Online price: $12.99
Member price: $11.69


Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #2) by Jeff Kinney
Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780810994737
Sales Rank: 481
Pub. Date: February 2008
List price: $12.95
Online price: $10.36
Member price: $9.32


Cyanide and Happiness by Kris Wilson, Matt Melvin, Rob Denbleyker, Dave Mcelfatric
Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780061914799
Sales Rank: 491
Pub. Date: January 2010
List price: $13.99
Online price: $10.49
Member price: $9.44


Logicomix : An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos (Illustrator) , Annie Di Donna (Illustrator)
Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781596914520
Sales Rank: 704
Pub. Date: September 2009
List price: $22.95
Online price: $14.91
Member price: $13.41


The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Hardcover - 3-volume set
ISBN-13: 9780740748479
Sales Rank: 730
Pub. Date: October 2005
List price: $150.00
Online price: $97.50
Member price: $87.75


On the Money: The Economy in Cartoons, 1925-2009 by The New Yorker, Gladwell, Malcolm
Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780740784903
Sales Rank: 940
Pub. Date: September 2009
List price: $24.99
Online price: $16.24
Member price: $14.61


In Odd We Trust by Dean Koontz, Queenie Chan (Illustrator)
Paperback - Graphic Novel
ISBN-13: 9780345499660
Sales Rank: 957
Pub. Date: June 2008
List price: $10.95
Online price: $8.76
Member price: $7.88



The Fine Print:
While I am an employee of Barnes & Noble, Inc., the data presented below is general information from the public website. I have not researched any proprietary sales data, nor do I speak in any official capacity for Barnes & Noble. You can do the same thing I am doing, using the bookmarks listed below. (The easiest way: enter “graphic novels” in the search bar at BN.com. On the left side, you will see a frame titled "Browse Graphic Novels". Click on “bestsellers”. The website sorting differs from the sales ranking (probably due to differing algorithms), so scroll through the listing of ten titles. Unlike other searching, where a user can show 100 titles at a time, this screen can only showcase ten. Click on “next” to continue your research.) I have no knowledge on how sales rankings are calculated. I hypothesize that since the site refreshes periodically throughout the day, that a rolling calculation of sales is performed, where recent sales are weighted more heavily than older sales. Also, sales are in relation to other titles, not a set number of copies sold. The sales rank is sequential. Just as two football teams can be undefeated in a football poll and one may be rated higher than the other, so too are the titles here listed sequentially in relation to everything else. Of course, analysis can only be compared to the titles NOW. Retail sales were difficult last year, and with the media dubbing “Black Friday” as “Grey Friday” this year because of reduced consumer spending, this year will be just as challenging.I will survey the BN.com website weekly (and daily if possible) and at approximately the same time. Here are the bookmarks I use to survey results:
http://browse.barnesandnoble.com/browse/nav.asp?env=web&endecaid=&visgrp=fiction&bncatid=1133349&cds2Pid=16864&linkid=1511365

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?SZE=100&SRT=S&WRD=comic%20book

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?SZE=100&SRT=S&WRD=comic%20strip

http://browse.barnesandnoble.com/browse/nav.asp?bncatid=1133350&visgrp=fiction&isendeca=y&Ns=SALESRANK_SORT&sid=65213F09810C&act=M9

From the Archives: Chic Young's All New Blondie #211

Blondie, Volume 7, No. 211, December 1974
Cover by Paul Fung, Jr. (Wow... quite a biography! His NCS biography can be read here.)

In the feature story, "Blondie: Heritage of a Super-Bumstead", Dagwood suffers from a jumpy stomach. To calm it down, he creates one of his signature sandwiches.
The ingredients, as disclosed in the story: relish, mustard, pickles, olives, catsup, horseradish, sardines, peanut butter, cheese, beans, onions, and mayonnaise.

Dagwood eats only half the sandwich. Alexander's friends disturb Dagwood's nap, and Dag erupts in fury! Dagwood demolishes a tree, notices that he's damaged the front door, and quickly realizes that his sandwich has granted him super powers! He retrieves the other half of the sandwich from the refrigerator, but before he can analyze the contents, Blondie drags him away to fix the front door!

While Dagwood repairs the front door, Daisy and her pups devour every last bit of sandwich, causing Dagwood to start from scratch. (It is not shown if the dogs develop super powers.) Will Dagwood rediscover the source of his powers?

The editors tease further adventures, and according to the Grand Comics Database, a second story was printed in the very next issue. (This is quite unusual for a licensed comicbook. Usually, the editors would wait for sales figures and reader letters before deciding to continue a particular story. Perhaps the writer and artist had this written as a two-parter, and the editors decided to split it over two issues to maximize sales.)

Blondie #214 showcases the five-page "Tonic... With A Real Kick" featuring "Super-Dagwood". Since the series ended shortly thereafter, I suspect they do not exist. (Although I know many fanboys are salivating over the idea of "Super Blondie"...) John Byrne did work at Charlton during that time, and could revive the idea. (Dagwood and Blondie make a cameo in Fantastic Four #276, when Reed and Sue move to suburban Connecticut.)

(Hey... I just noticed... those big black eyes, the strange feathered hair... Dagwood looks like an extraterrestrial alien!)

From the Archives: Star Trek #7, March 1970

Ah... one of my favorite "bad" comics!

Star Trek #7, published by Western Publishing Company in March 1970. The issue has been collected in Star Trek: The Key Collection, Volume 1, published by Checker Book Publishing Group, LLC. Apparently there are known credits for this story, but I will be charitable and respect their anonymity.

"The Voodoo Planet", a twenty-six page story, involves the Starship Enterprise discovering an exact replica of Earth.

Here we see the Enterprise, as it approaches the planet on Page Two. Note the exhaust from the nacelles. This error is repeated later on the same page, and two pages later, as the ship travels over Paris on Page Four. (Perspective is badly drawn. Either the Enterprise is smaller than the Eiffel Tower, or the Enterprise is far in the distance, and the colorist could not use the limited palette to create a sfumato effect.)

Panels on later pages show the exhaust from the nacelles without color (unlikely to be contrails, as the ship would have no exhaust to create them). Only one panel shows the Enterprise without exhaust. Every other panel uses the exhaust, with speed lines, even though the speed lines would have been sufficient to denote movement.

So, Kirk and Spock beam down to what they think is Paris, only to find it deserted. There, they find a copy of the Eiffel Tower, several feet shorter, and constructed COMPLETELY out of papier-mâché. (Shouldn't they have used plaster of Paris?) Before Spock can theorize how a large 100+ foot tall Eiffel Tower constructed out of glue and paper could support its own weight without collapsing, an mysterious "laser beam-ray" strikes the tower, causing it to collapse. Kirk and Spock flee, barely escaping as the Tower crashes into the papier-mâché buildings which surround the Tower. (Although Google Maps shows that there are few buildings near the Tower, I will ignore this error, as this is a Voodoo Planet, and verisimilitude is not required to achieve the desired effect.)

Soon, news arrives from Earth via "relayed galaxy radio photograph". Not video, PHOTOGRAPH. In the 23rd century. Relayed across light years of distance almost instantaneously. The news? The Eiffel Tower has collapsed in Paris, at "exactly 12:40 P.M."!

Spock glances at his wristwatch chronograph (I guess classic design never changes), and deduces "That was precisely the outer-galaxy time here that the papier-mâché tower toppled on us!" Doctor McCoy conjectures, "Could it be some sort of weird, deep space voodoo I wonder?"

As the Enterprise flies over "Rome", the laser beam appears again, demolishing the Colosseum of Rome! The Enterprise triangulates the source of the laser beam, and rockets (literally, there's exhaust from the nacelles) to a nearby planet. The ship hides in a debris field of space trash and Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down for reconnaissance. (No redshirts.) There they find a primitive voodoo tribe (although the natives are only throwing spears at human targets, not actual effigies). The natives are subdued with hand to hand combat (the sound of the phasers would have been too noisy, but fisticuffs aren't?), and the control room of the laser fortress is entered. Before our heroes can subdue the villain, a small button is pressed and... the Sphinx is destroyed!

Kirk and Spock are subdued by voodoo dolls (action figures!) manipulated by the natives, the pain too excruciating to allow Spock or Kirk using their phasers on the natives! The villain? The nefarious Count Dressler! Leader of a small kingdom on Earth, Dressler was "the only fanatic in power who sought to produce hydrogen bombs when all Earth was negotiating to ban them!" (Kirk) (Wait... they still had H-bombs on Earth? After a nuclear holocaust? And independent countries? What was the United Federation of Planets doing all this time?)

Escaping in a ROCKET ship, Dressler lands on a planet "hostile to Earth's ways". (No, not Qo'noS.) Dressler mastered the natives, stole their secrets, and became their leader. (Wait... why didn't the natives just make a voodoo doll of Dressler?) Dressler, in typical supervillain fashion, then demonstrates his voodoo technique in front of Kirk and Spock. Instantly, the Tower of Pisa is toppled! While Dressler gloats, McCoy rescues Kirk and Spock, fisticuffs subdue the natives, and, without firing phasers, our heroes retreat back to the Enterprise.

There, they once again experience extreme voodoo pain (but not death) but with McCoy's pain killers, they can concentrate enough to research a solution. (My solution? Use the ship's phaser and level the laser fortress, killing the villain and a few natives, while preventing thousands of deaths on Earth.) Spock then discovers that a similar technique was used by a Vulcan clan known as "pain casters". Spock synthesizes the Vulcan herbs, and Kirk and Spock undergo the voodoo rite.

Free of the pain of the action figures, Kirk and Spock (again, no red-shirted security) subdue Dressler, and transport him back to the Enterprise. Kirk then decides, without any sort of trial or rule of law, with no regard to the destruction of priceless landmarks and human suffering, to exile Dressler to an unpopulated planet. (Hey... you don't suppose George W. Bush read this comic, do you?)

So... Spock discovers an incredible weapon which can be used across vast distances... and it is never heard of again. (Although, perhaps the Tantalus Field used a similar technology.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From the Archives: Walter Lantz Andy Panda #4 (reprint)

This comic book is copyright 1959, 1958, 1957 by Walter Lantz Productions, Inc.


Here's one of my favorite stories from my childhood collection of comics. (Comics I collected before becoming a serious collector in 1984.) These comics are dog-eared, creased, sometimes coverless. But flipping through the covers to find the comics I wanted to blog about, I could recall many of the stories. Dennis the Menace, Richie Rich, Super Goof and other Disney comics,l Sad Sack... good stuff!

The following is one of my favorites, even though the character is not well known, especially in the Midwest, where cartoon shorts were non-existent, and I did not see a Woody Woodpecker cartoon until 1985 (in Austria!). Andy Panda is a Mickey-Mouse-type character. His friend is Charlie Chicken, who causes most of the trouble.

In the following nine-page story, Andy has a mice problem. Charlie plots numerous schemes, all of which fail miserably. As you will see in the story, Charlie finally succeeds...miserably!
The moral of the story?
Build a better mousetrap, and the mice will beat a path to your door!