Saturday, April 21, 2007

Comics Ad of the Day!


Check this out... Man-Bat, drawn by Steve Ditko. Looks pretty cool to me! Unfortunately, I think this series lasted all of one issue. OK, strike that, two issues. I don't know if there were stories leftover in the inventory when this was cancelled... although I do recall seeing some Man-Bat tales in Batman Family (or in the later Dollar Comics issues of Detective Comics, which featured the Batman Family), but I don't know if they were the leftovers or new tales.

Note the other three titles listed below that... of the three, All-Star Comics is probably the most fondly remembered series, reviving the original title the JSA was featured in (and taking up the numbering from where All-Star left off, even though All-Star Western had already taken up that numbering back in the 1950s). Blackhawk, I believe, got cancelled, then revived (I think Mark Evanier's issues were in the revival series), cancelled again... and then it was revived in a miniseries as Howard Chaykin put his own mark on Blackhawk (which, to be honest, seems to be the same mark he tends to put on nearly anything he writes... there's a lot of parallels in how Chaykin handled Blackhawk and how he handled his own American Flagg, if you ask me).

And I'm sure nobody really remembers Code Name: Assassin.


Genre Movie Image of the Day!


One last Kong image... this is, of course, the Toho Kong, and I believe the balloons are a giveaway that this was from King Kong Vs. Godzilla, because I seem to recall that Kong was kind of airlifted in to attack Godzilla!


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

Here's 80 Page Giant No. 7, from the days when 80 Page Giant was its own separate title, and before they became issues in the regular series numberings in the separate titles.

I believe this one was reissued a few years back, and I probably bought it, but I don't remember much about the stories. To be honest, I've always enjoyed reading Sgt. Fury more than Sgt. Rock (I've also always preferred the Marvel westerns to the DC ones). Perhaps DC's war stories were more historically correct... but Marvel's were more enjoyable to read!

And I just realized that, perhaps, I should've saved this one for tomorrow night! Why? Well, you'll see tomorrow night, won't you? We'll also see if I remember to mention why this would've been more appropriate tomorrow!


Classic Toys of the Day!


From the 1969 Sears Wish Book, here are the Zeroids, which were very cool robot toys made by, I believe, Ideal. Unfortunately, I've never owned any of these toys, although they do seem familiar to me (maybe I saw TV commercials for the things, or maybe I'm just remembering the comic book ads they were featured in).

It's possible that these toys were just a bit ahead of their time... I wonder if they had been released when Star Wars came out, if they might've been a bigger hit? I do know that one of them was reissued under a different name as part of a toy line (the name of which escapes me) that also featured a male figure that was called "The Lord of Darkness" or some such that used the mold from Captain Action's body!

And this post wraps up the Sears Wish Book posts from me! Tomorrow, we start looking at some other toys, with color photos this time!


A Successful Party!

So, in case you're wondering, I consider our party a success!

There were a few minor glitches... the propane tank we exchanged for didn't start spewing propane the first time I started the grill, but I disconnected and reconnected it, and things worked fine.

I do have to remember that when we're grilling burgers, that the temperature has to be set a bit lower... the things were nearly all cooked before the first of our guests (my parents) arrived. Next to arrive were my co-worker Marianne and her husband, Ron, followed by Michael and Vanessa (friends of ours whose boxer, Joe Boxer, is one of Krypto's best boxer friends), Dave (another co-worker), Brandy (my boss) and Kim (her friend in the newspaper's marketing department). I think that was the whole group.

Anyway... we all ate, had plenty of food available, and then played a few games of Left-Right-Center before people had to get going (Brandy and Kim were off to watch some Ultimate Fighting thing, my parents were just getting tired, as were Marianne and Ron, and Dave was running some burgers to the crew at the newspaper who were working the shift tonight). Michael and Vanessa stuck around, and we played a few Friends trivia games with them, after which they called it a night, and Jessi and I got things cleaned up.

We've got a few leftovers here... which I'm sure we'll finish off in the next day or two. We also got a few more fans here of the Left-Right-Center game (Brandy in particular wanted to know where we bought the game).


Friday, April 20, 2007

Recently Received... and to be Received...

In the mail this past week, I received two TwoMorrows mags: Alter Ego 57 (cover-featuring Bob Oksner) and Rough Stuff 4 (cover-featuring Michael Kaluta).

In email yesterday, I got an email from Tammy Caplan, who directed a superhero comedy movie that's available for viewing on Atom Films. She provided the link to watch it, but since my OS9 Mac can't use the software required to watch it, I haven't seen it yet... which is why I'm not providing the link here for you guys to follow (because I won't send you faithful readers blindly forth, y'know).

When I wrote back and indicated the problem, Tammy responded that she could mail me a screener on tape (well, I presume on tape, it could be DVD)... and once I receive it and watch it, I'll decide if I can recommend it or not. I'll still provide the link either way.

Of course, I'll also use this as an opportunity to tell you that if you have something you'd like me to review and offer my opinions on, you can contact me at the email link here, or even mail it to me direct at:

Jon B. Knutson
1313 Horne St. NE #2
Lacey, WA 98503

I'll be happy to check out anything you want to send me, especially if it relates somehow to the various subjects that I cover here... comics, movies, dvds, toys, cds, whatever... and I promise that I will write about it here, and if you provide me a link for a website, I'll include that, too.

I can promise you my honest opinion... whether good or bad!


Yard Work Update

So, this morning, I woke up early, and decided to get some more yard work done. I got the mower out of the garage, rolled it to the front, and mowed the front yard. Well, the part in front of our half of the house, anyway. Then I put some weed and feed down, and finished up the weeding on our half of that garden area. Then I went to the back yard again, and sprayed some weed killer on some of the weeds (using an entire bottle, but not getting all of 'em, by the way).

It's a good thing I kind of half-sort of enjoy doing this, eh? Especially since this is all work for a yard that isn't ours.



Genre Movie Image of the Day: Toho Kong!


I forget if this is from "King Kong Vs. Godzilla" or "King Kong Escapes" -- either way, it'll help give you an even greater appreciation for Kong Classic, eh?


Comics Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

Yep, this is another exploitation cover... this time exploiting the popularity of a certain movie, the title of which I'm sure I won't have to mention.

So, it's Action Comics 456, and features the artwork of Mike Grell. One wonders how this cover might've looked if Nick Cardy, who was drawing a LOT of Superman covers in the 1970s, had drawn it. Not that I think this is a bad cover, in particular... I just don't think that Grell really had his drawing chops down at this point in this career (I mean, really, do we need to see some super-buns on the cover? Sure, he's in full costume, but let's face it, the eye is drawn to the buns of steel that would normally be covered by the cape here).


Comic Book Ad of the Day!


Still looking at ads from the September 1975 DC comics, and here's this house ad for what could've been the first comics mini-series... The Legend of King Arthur!

I don't think a single issue of this came out on the stands at all... in fact, I seem to recall an issue of Back Issue! dealt with this in one of the "Greatest Stories Never Told" series.

It could've been great... or it might've sucked bigtime.


Classic Toy of the Day!


You know, seeing this was the first time that I discovered that not all water-powered rocket toys had to look completely lame (or, depending on your viewpoint, like some kind of device sold in so-called "adult" stores).

This is definitely the coolest water-powered rocket I've ever seen... and it even has a parachute on it!

Still, one wonders how many windows were busted thanks to this going on an errant course...


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Filmation's The Ghost Busters

So, the past few nights or so (except when I was transcribing a Lou Scheimer interview), I've been watching the DVD set of The Ghost Busters, which I also transcribed some interviews for.

I was a huge fan of this show when I was a kid, and still remembered the theme song as an adult (well, mostly). I also remember that as a kid, I thought Tracy was a real gorilla (he wasn't, obviously... he was Bob Burns in his gorilla suit).

Anyway... this must've been Filmation's least expensive live-action show (I should say, all-live action show... I'd guess that the live-action parts of Uncle Croc's Block were fairly cheap, as well). There were only a few sets used, and they were used every episode: the Ghost Busters' office and the hallway outside, the cemetary, and some castle interiors.

Pretty much every episode was structured the same: The show would open up with a teaser in the graveyard, as the ghost (or ghosts) of the week would appear, tells us what their plans were (occasionally directly involving Spencer, Tracy or Kong, when they had some object the ghosts wanted, or in one episode, they wanted revenge on Spencer for something his ancestor did to them), then there'd be the opening credits, then we'd have a sequence in the office.

The office bit would usually have Spencer and Tracy doing some schtick... maybe Tracy did one of his drawings that would become "real" (such as a refrigerator drawing that opened up and had food inside it). Kong would tell the pair to go and get their next ghost-busting assignment.

There'd be a shot of Spencer and Tracy in the beat-up old jalopy driving along a road, then inserts (shot in a studio) of Spencer talking with Tracy, usually complaining about his driving.

They'd then pull up in front of the exact same store, Tracy would go inside and get some item that would have a hidden tape recorder built into it, and they'd play the message from their boss, Zero (the voice of Lou Scheimer). At the end of the tape, Zero would announce the tape would self-destruct in five seconds (sometimes longer). Spencer would get out of the way while Tracy counted down until it exploded, leaving his beanie (yes, Tracy wore a beanie, as well as other hats) in tatters and whatever the object was (anything from a clock, a deer head mounted on a plaque, a bicycle, etc.) hanging in pieces on him.

They'd get back to the office, and Kong would have Spencer find out what they have on the ghost of the week in their files. We'd get some schtick with Spencer trying to open the drawer he wanted to open (which wouldn't open for him unless he pulled a different drawer open, but it would close when he closed the other drawer), and then usually Tracy would open it for him.

Meanwhile, the ghosts would set up house in the "castle" (the set looked like a castle, but the shots of the exterior were of a haunted house -- a painting done by the animation guys). They'd have their own agenda... for example, the ghost of Dr. Jekyll wanted to create a formula that would rid him of Mr. Hyde (who was a separate ghost). Or the ghosts of Billy the Kid and Belle Star wanted to form a new gang and rustle some cattle because they didn't like the food in the afterlife.

The Ghost Busters would go to the cemetary sooner or later (in some episodes, the ghosts went to their office first), and from there, they'd usually go to the castle to face the ghosts in person.

After a bunch of funny bits (well, I found most of them funny) involving the Ghost Busters and the ghosts, they'd get the ghosts to stand still, and then Kong would aim the Ghost Dematerializer at them and turn it on (yelling "Zap!" for some reason). Then there'd be a Chroma Key/Green Screen effect when the ghosts were dematerialized.

And finally, there'd be a wrap-up at the office, with a final pay-off on whatever running gag there was.

The most amazing thing about this show was the number of famous guest-stars they got to play the ghosts! Billy Barty, Bernie Kopelle, Ted Knight, Kathy Garver (Cissy on Family Affair), Barbara Rhoades, Huntz Hall, Marty Ingels, Joe E. Ross, Howard Morris, Jim Backus, Carl Ballantine... those are the most famous ones!

And then there's Forrest Tucker (Kong) and Larry Storch (Spencer), the Ghost Busters themselves! You can tell from watching these shows that they must've been enjoying themselves during the filming (although that may have been partly because they had a reputation for having a few drinks during the filming).

The camera work on this show was pretty impressive, too... one might have expected that they'd use a basic three-camera set-up (like I Love Lucy did, as well as most sitcoms), but the cameras would move... in one sequence, the camera starts out behind something in the castle (a chair, I think), where you can see through the supports as the ghost enters, then it pans up, zooms in... and follows the ghost around, before ending up back where it started again at the end of the scene. Not typical for Saturday morning shows!

You know, this had to have at least helped inspire "Ghostbusters," the movie... I mean, the Ghost Dematerializer was at least partly similar to the tech that Bill Murray and company used... and when that movie came out and was a hit, the story goes that someone at Filmation remembered this show, and they re-developed it as an animated series (which is also out on DVD, or Volume one, anyway, and I've never seen that series before, so I'll have to get to it sooner or later).

It wouldn't surprise me if, having heard that Filmation was doing a Ghost Busters cartoon, someone decided they needed to make a cartoon based on the movie!


Genre Movie Post of the Day: Yes, More Kong!

I hope you're not tired of the Kong images already...


...although this is probably the last of the classic Kong pictures, at least for the time being. Tomorrow, it'll be more Toho Kong!

Anyway... do I have any more stories about King Kong in my life to share? I'm sure I alluded to getting the RBCC Kong issue when I was in junior high school... and I must have bought at least a magazine or two (probably a Famous Monsters) that had a story on what was supposed to be two competing Kong movies! Yes, two different studios had announced a Kong remake more or less at the same time... but only the Dino Di Laurentis version ended up being made.


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

Wow, it's not often you have a comic book with the main character tied up on the cover that's not Wonder Woman or Lois Lane... but this time is Supergirl's turn!

I can only guess that this was during the period that Mike Sekowsky was writing and drawing the book, and was paying no attention to continuity, and had Supergirl exposed to Gold Kryptonite that didn't permanently remove her powers, but rather caused them to "turn off" at inopportune times (to deal with that, she later went to Kandor and got them to equip her with tech to replace most of her powers).

I'll tell you, sometimes I'm amazed that it took so long for DC to kill her off.

Oh, one more thing... "kidnapping" a building?!?!? Really??? "Stealing" the building, and "kidnapping" the occupants I could buy...


Comics Ad of the Day!


This is the 5th ad from the DC September 1975 cover-dated books... and it's a subscription ad!

Check this out for a few minutes... first of all, the images of Batman and Robin are definitely Silver Age in origin, probably already over 15 years old when this ad came out in the comics (one wonders why they didn't have Adams, Aparo, or Novick -- or any other Bat-artist, for that matter -- do some new drawings for this ad).

Next, look at the titles themselves... how many of them still exist today? Action, Detective and Batman are the only ones with the original titles and numbering, Superman became Adventures of Superman...

Superman Family, House of Secrets, House of Mystery, Unexpected, Witching Hour, Young Love, Young Romance, Our Army At War (which later changed to Sgt. Rock), Tarzan... all gone (although in the case of the latter title, the licensing expired, and Marvel got the title).

Justice League of America, of course, got cancelled and then replaced with Justice League International/Justice League America, which got cancelled in turn and replaced with JLA... and now, the current title is Justice League of America again.

World's Finest, Shazam!, Brave and the Bold... well, WF was used for a few miniseries... and I suppose it could be argued that Superman/Batman is the modern-day versio of that. Shazam! had the miniseries "The New Beginning," then "Power of Shazam!", and now there's the two miniseries going, "Trials of Shazam" and "Shazam! Monster Society of Evil" going on simultaneously. Brave and the Bold got brought back as a Flash/Green Lantern mini written by Mark Waid (which was pretty darn good), but now it's back as a team-up book.

So... no war books, no romance books, no licensed books... but the superhero books are back in one form or another!

I wonder, though, why Flash, Green Lantern (which might've already been cancelled at this point) and Wonder Woman aren't on this list, or Adventure Comics?


Classic Toys of the Day!


As promised, from the 1969 Sears Wish Book, here's more Billy Blastoff toys! Now, while Billy himself doesn't look all that cool... check out the robot driving the moon car!

I mean... a robot driving a car. That's been cool ever since Forbidden Planet, and it continues to be cool.

More 1969 space toys tomorrow!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Party Planning and Weed Wrecking...

Figured I'd talk about some non-comic/toy/movie stuff for a post.

This Saturday night, Jessi and I are having a party, which I may have mentioned before (or not, I don't honestly recall). This will be our inaugural barbeque of the summer season, so we're going to cook up burgers on the grill, and provide the buns, cheese, and condiments and toppings for them, as well as some baked beans. Our guests have been requested to provide their own drinks, as well as to bring something to share.

The plan for the evening is to start the party at five... which is when I'll start grilling the burgers. After we eat dinner, we'll play some games, probably mostly the left-right-center dice game I'm sure I told you about.

Of course, with a party coming up, Jessi and I are both concerned with how the yard's looking. In the front of the duplex we live in, there's a sidewalk coming up from the street that splits off to go to each door (there's a patio of sorts, or a porch, really, that goes the entire front of the house, too). In the middle of this is supposed to be a garden of sorts, a flower garden, which (since we moved in) has been completely overgrown with weeds. Our landlord was supposed to get rid of them last fall, but she only got some of it done then, and didn't finish (which of course means the weeds grew back in).

So, last weekend, we bought some weed killer at Big Lots, and sprayed the heck out of that area, but it seems there were just too many weeds for spray to take care of, so this morning, having woken up early, I decided to take the hoe out and see what I could dig out. I did about a quarter of it this morning, and then on my lunch break (because Jessi had an appointment during that time), after I ate my lunch, I worked on it some more... so now it's closer to one-third done.

Maybe tomorrow, depending on if it's raining or not (and if I wake up early or not), I may work on it some more. We're hoping to get this all done before the party on Saturday.

Among the other things we need to do before the party are 1) Clean up the house... which shouldn't be too difficult, as we just cleaned things up last week, and haven't really made much of a mess since then; 2) Mow the front and back yards (again, dependent on it not raining); and 3) Give Krypto a bath (and maybe KO, too), just so he's not looking gray or dirty.

And there's going to be a bit more grocery shopping to do before the party, too... which I'm planning on doing Friday morning before going to work. And somewhere in there, we need to refill our propane tank for the grill!


Genre Movie Image of the Day: Still More Kong!


Are you getting tired of Kong stills yet? I hope not, because I have at least one more Kong pic for tomorrow.

This one, obviously, features Kong's on-screen costar, Fay Wray as Ann Darrow.


Comics Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

Here's the cover for Avengers 83, obviously a foreign edition, but it's still the same cover as the American version! This is another one of those exploitation covers, in that it's based on the then-timely theme of women's liberation... and like most comics interpretations of current events, this one is a bit skewed. When was women's lib about beating the hell out of their male oppressors?

Well, I suppose this interpretation is valid when it's applied to superheroes...

Anyway, this was the second "Valkyrie" appearance, I think... the first one was in The Incredible Hulk, but I believe these are both different Valkyries (I could be misremembering). In both cases, the Vals were women who were being oppressed until the Enchantress cast a spell to transform them into the Valkyrie.

Of course, the third iteration of the Valkyrie appeared in The Defenders, and that one stuck, with Barbara Norris being chosen to be possessed (and later, we learned that it was the spirit of Brunhilde of Asgard that was inhabiting Barbara's bod, later on regaining her own body... and then there was a fourth Valkyrie introduced in the last Defenders series).

I always dug the Valkyrie. I think her early Defenders appearances were among the first books I remember buying off the newsstands. She was strong and sexy, and wouldn't put up with much! Sounds like a dangerous kind of woman to be enamored with, I suppose... but then again, I think I've always admired women who stand up for themselves.


Comic Book Ad of the Day!


You know, I love those tabloid-sized books that DC and Marvel produced in the 1970s (and, I think, even into the early 80s). The vast majority of them were reprints, but there was the occasional all-original book.

DC's tabloid books (except for the Famous First Edition reprints of golden age books) almost all had table-top dioramas on the back cover that you could cut out and assemble... which, no doubt, is one of the reasons these books are rare and pricey these days (well, another reason is probably the difficulty of storing the damn things).

I keep hoping, when I go to comics shows, to come across a dealer who's got a bunch of these books for sale for a buck each... but alas, that's unlikely to occur, isn't it?


Classic Toys of the Day!


Yes, it's more Major Matt Mason, this time picturing even more of those very cool vehicles! I especially like the one with the ball in the back that can hold a passenger (who stays stationary as it rolls).

Coming tomorrow... more of the Billy Blastoff line!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Genre Movie Still of the Day: More Kong!


I think this shot of Kong fighting the T-Rex speaks for itself, doesn't it?


Comics Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

Here's Brave and the Bold #102, and this time, it's the Teen Titans who are doing the protesting... at least they're peaceful protestors, and not beating up anyone! Then again, Batman seems to be the aggressor here...


Comics Ad of the Day!


Still looking at ads from the September, 1975 DC comics... and this set of toy soldiers was all over the comics of this era! And it seems like such a great deal, too... except that I've read that most sets like these were of teeny-tiny figures, maybe half an inch tall at best, that were kind of flat... almost more cut-outs than anything else!


Classic Toys of the Day!


We're still going through the 1969 Sears Wish Book, and here's even more Major Matt Mason, plus some Billy Blastoff toys! I'm guessing Billy was for even younger kids to get in on the space fun.

Oh, Dennis the Menace and Joey there? They appeared in spot illustrations throughout the toy section of that year's catalog.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Genre Movie Still: King Kong!


Yes, I'm posting a genre movie still two days in a row, and I may well post one each day this week... and they'll probably be mostly Kongs!

This one, naturally, is the one, the only, the original!

You know, it's funny... when I was a kid, I'd go to the local library and check out every single book they had on horror and monster movies, and when I had a little extra money that wasn't already spent on comics, I'd buy the rare issue of Famous Monsters... and later, when I was in junior high school, I think the first issue of the RBCC I bought was their King Kong issue (this would've been just prior to the release of the Dino Di Laurentis Kong, naturally)... plus I'd watch every horror and SF movie that our local tv stations would show... but while I probably saw King Kong Vs. Godzilla at least a few times, Konga a couple of times... I didn't see the original King Kong until the summer before the DDL Kong...

...but it was definitely worth it, because I saw it in a movie theater! In Lakewood (a small town just south of Tacoma), there used to be the Lakewood Theater, which never showed new movies, but shows revivals of older movies (for a while, I think they made all their money on midnight showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show). So, before seeing the DDL Kong, I got to see the original on the big screen.

I was blown away by it... and the original King Kong became one of my top 10 movies of all time.

By the way, this same theater is where I got to see a double feature of Creature of the Black Lagoon and It Came From Outer Space... in 3D!


Comic Book Ad of the Day!


Remember the days when it was all the rage to get kids kits like the one advertised above? Most of them were sold at Radio Shack, but a number of them were sold via mail order. Actually, I think RS still carries a few things like this.

Honestly, though that "electric guitar" shown above looks absolutely ridiculous.

This ad was from DC's September, 1975 cover-dated issues.


Classic Toy of the Day!


Major Matt Mason, by Mattel, was a pretty popular action figure line for a few years there. In case you're not familiar with the good Major, he was constructed much like Gumby and other "bendy" type figures. However, the big difference between Major Matt Mason and Gumby was that the Major had a backpack! And this backpack had batteries and a place to plug in various accessories to power them, such as the ones you see above.

I seem to recall hearing somewhere in years past that there was a reissue of some Major Matt Mason stuff, but I don't ever remember seeing it in the stores. I'd imagine that finding these figures in halfway decent condition is difficult, because the more the toys were played with, the more likely the wires would break, or at least poke out from the rubber!!

Still and all, this was a very cool line of toys... and if Mattel decided to do a reissue -- even if they changed from the "bendy" style construction to something closer to the 8 inch Mego figures -- I'd definitely try to find the budget for it!

I don't even want to know what this stuff goes for on eBay...


Comics Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

Crimes by Women is our comics cover of the day... and yes, it is part of the continuing series of exploitation covers... at least, in this case, it's exploitation in the same sense as "women in prison" movies.

Funny thing about some of these old comics covers... and it's obviously in more than this one... it seems that most golden age covers that feature a woman wearing a red dress, said dress is either hiked up (like this one) or slit up the side to show off the gams!

Well, okay, this isn't hiked up so much as being a bit short. Anyway, I don't know if the woman on this cover is supposed to be Bonnie Parker, or from one of the other stories in this issue, or from none of them!


Oh my god...

...I actually have an Internet Movie Database page.

Although I'm only credited there for my transcription work on "Goolians," one of the extras for the Groovie Goolies DVD release... none of the others.

Still... when I checked it out on a whim, I didn't expect to be there at all!


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Genre Movie Still: Toho King Kong!


I won't promise that this will be a daily feature... but here's the first semi-regular post of this new feature, Genre Movie Still! As you can see, I've opted to make this still of King Kong from King Kong Vs. Godzilla the first one, and for no special reason!

Of course, we know that this Kong was a guy in a really bad gorilla suit, and he doesn't hold a candle to the classic Kong, stop-motion-animated by the great Willis O'Brien (and star of one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time). But taken in the context of his Toho environment, I don't have a real problem with him! After all, he was battling Godzilla, also a guy in a suit (although a much better-looking one, IMHO). Even the second appearance of the Toho Kong (with a different suit, if I recall correctly) still featured some good stuff here and there.

Then again, if I can have fun watching a giant monster movie, I can forgive bad special effects, or even a cheesy monster costume. That's all I really want in a giant monster movie... to have fun while watching it!

I didn't have fun watching the Dino Di Laurentis Kong, by the way... I considered it a major disappointment through and through. I've never watched the sequel to it, by the way (you know, the one where we find out Kong didn't die when he fell off the World Trade Center, just got move to a huge ICU until they could give him a heart transplant from a convenient giant female gorilla). I never did see Peter Jackson's Kong, for that matter... but it's not that I've been avoiding it! Jessi and I just never got a chance to go to the movies then, and I haven't picked up the DVD yet (it's on the list... probably we'll look for it next time there's an extra $30 or so available, and we hit a Hollywood Video previously-viewed sale).


Jon's "Rules" For Writing a Blog

Okay, let me preface the rules with a few preliminary statements: There are a number of blogs that I've got bookmarked, and check daily. Most of the blogs I check follow these rules... some follow only a few of them, some follow most of them, some follow all of them. These are rules that I try to follow in my own postings.

1. If you're going to have a blog, at least try to make one new post each day. There can be exceptions to this, naturally... you may state that you'll only post Monday through Friday, for example. If you're taking a break from blogging, you can make a post before your break explaining how long the break is expected to last, and explaining why the break is needed helps, too. You don't have to post a picture of a can of Cream of Mushroom soup with this, by the way! Breaking this rule is probably the fastest way to keep people from reading your blog... I know there's a few blogs I've bookmarked that haven't had a new post in nearly a month, and tomorrow night, if there still isn't a new post indicating it hasn't been abandoned, they're going off my bookmarks!

2. Break up your posts with an occasional post with a photo or illustration. There are some blogs that are just text, text, text... and this can be okay if you at least break it up with some formatting (such as bold or italics... but it is easier on the eyes if you include some pictures at least every now and then, preferrably pictures relating to the post they're accompanying! I use a website called flickr to host the photos and scans I post here, and they've got a pretty good free account option (although I've opted for the annual paid option, due to the volume of pictures I've got there). It's easy enough to get the HTML you need to post the picture in your blog entry.

3. Have some kind of focus to your blog. Yes, that's a rather ironic rule, especially given that this is, after all, a blog called "Waffyjon's Random Thoughts." But the blog does have a few regular focuses (foci?). Most of the blogs I read are easily categorized... some are focus on toys, some on comics, some on cartoons, and so forth. I suppose you could say the main focus of this blog is pop culture stuff (and that's a focus... just look at This Is Pop Culture!), with other stuff in there, too. You can go off on tangents here and there, but having some kind of focus can give you a reason to get people to not only link to your blog, but also get people to read your blog.

4. Don't let advertisements make it difficult to read the blog. One of my favorite blogs, the Bat-Blog, is a major offender here... there are all kinds of blinking and flashing advertisements in the header of this blog... so much so that you have to scroll down to see if there's any new content! I wish it would be reorgnized so that you can see what the first post is, at least! On this same topic, I'm sure that most of my fellow bloggers in the blogosphere harbor some hope, deep down, that some how we can make some money off of our blogging efforts... heck, I've written entire posts that were an attempt to come up with some kind of additional income myself... but let's face it, the odds don't favor it very well. Mark Evanier is the only blogger I'm aware of who can post a link to make a PayPal donation and actually get some results from it (and even then, I'd be amazed if even 1 percent of his daily readers contribute via that link). The vast majority of us probably won't make a cent off of our blogs, and we should accept that when we start doing them.

5. If you have labels available, use them. I don't know if any other blog sites offer labels other than Blogger, but I think they're very cool. If you don't know what labels are, they're basically a link the blog software will create for you with what the subject of that post is. You define what the labels are, and then if someone reads your blog, and wants to, for example, see all the other posts you've written concerning GI Joe, they can click on that link and see all the posts with that label.

6. Offer some insight into your personal life every now and then. This gives your readers a chance to get to know who you are as a person, outside of what your main focus is. I wouldn't be surprised if some people check out this blog to see if there's any news on our foster parenting, and aren't interested in anything else! Telling people about work-related stuff that's on your mind (triumphs and tragedies) is good, too... just be careful to not mention any names! Some employers don't take kindly to their employees besmirching their good name (not that I'd ever do that, right?).

7. Don't whine about other blogs "stealing" from you. There is at least one blog I used to read on a regular basis that degenerated into whining that other blogs were stealing their content... or at the very least, were writing their own take on the same stuff that they wrote about. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you know... and if your blog is where the original thoughts are coming from, someone will call anyone who's copying on it.

8. If you're going to quote an excerpt from someone else's blog, or share a graphic you saw on someone else's blog, for god's sakes, make sure that not only do you credit them for it, but provide a link to their blog, too!

9. Beware of posting too many videos from YouTube or elsewhere in a single post, or even in a week's worth of posts. This was a rule I learned the hard way, when I made a post with four or five embedded videos in it, and then learned that it caused some browsers to take forever to upload the blog entry!

10. Don't make promises you can't keep. If you say in a post that you're going to be doing some other post on a certain topic in the near future, that should mean in the next week at the most... I know it's tempting to try to build up to some major mega-post, and then lose track of time and forget to get around to it (or even feel overwhelmed at what you're attempting).

11. Have fun with it. Writing a blog shouldn't be a chore... it should be fun. If you don't enjoy it, don't look forward to it, chances are you'll find yourself looking for excuses not to blog each day, and then your posts will become fewer and fewer. Honestly, if you don't enjoy writing in your blog, chances are people won't enjoy reading it!

12. If someone asks you a question in comments, respond to it. I think this is, at the very least, basic politeness. You don't have to respond to all comments, especially if the comment is "Great post!" or something like that.

13. Feel free to promote other projects you're working on, but try to keep that from being the main focus of your blog. Heck, I know I should be reminding all my readers every Sunday that I've got a new Cover Stories column up at World Famous Comics, and how many weeks go by that I forget to do so?

Well, I'm thinking I should at least come up with one more "rule" so that the list doesn't stop at unlucky 13, but that's about all I can think of right now!


Comics Advertisement of the Day!


As promised, I'm bringing back the posts of old comics ads! The one you see above was scanned from a September, 1975 cover-dated DC comic, but you'd see this same ad over and over and over again, as Slim Jim was a major advertiser in comics (although mostly in half-page ads). I wouldn't be surprised if, Hostess aside, Slim Jim was the biggest food advertiser in the comics of the 1970s... although an argument might be made for the Clark company (you know, makers of the Clark Bar, and sponsors of the Great Clark Bar Superhero Sweepstakes, or something like that).

The style of this Slim Jim ad is very different from the current (or even most recent before that) Slim Jim ads we see on TV, isn't it?

Oh, I forgot to mention that one variation of the above ad, the full page version if I'm not mistaken, was accompanied by a color comics-style illustration of a werewolf!


Comic Book Cover of the Day!

<no subject>

What is it with protestors on comic book covers and the odds that they'll do grievious bodily harm to costumed characters... or at least primarily red-suited ones? Yesterday's post featured the Flash getting the crap beaten out of him, and today, Daredevil's already been beaten up by them!

Not that I've read this issue, mind you... as I've said before, I tend to find most Daredevil issues mind-numbingly dull to read, at least after the first half-dozen or so up to the point when the Black Widow became the regular co-star.

The cover of this issue seems to have an interesting art team... this is just a guess, but I'm thinking it was penciled by Gene (the Dean) Colan, and was inked by John Severin... the DD figure makes me think of Colan, while the protestor's faces look like Severin.

Well, I was almost kind of close... the GCD says that the cover was pencilled by Marie Severin and Herb Trimpe, with Joe Sinnott inking. Does this mean that I think that Marie and Herb combined look like Colan and John Severin combined? Who knows...


Classic Toys of the Day!


Yes, as promised, it's more Marx action figures, this time with the "Best of the West" line, featuring Johnny West, Jane West, and all the rest, as seen in the 1969 Sears Wish Book!

My own personal experience having Marx action figures was with this line... I remember one Christmas, pretty much all my brothers and sisters and I each got one figure in the Best of the West line... I got General Custer (not pictured here), I think my sister Sandy got Jane West, and brother Jeff got Johnny West... and I don't know if sister Debi or youngest brother Karl got any of them, now that I think of it!

I wasn't all that impressed with General Custer, for some reason... I suppose after GI Joe and Megos, all the complicated rubber attachments for the Marx figures was just a pain (I think his neckerchief was one of the pieces, and you had to fit the thing together at the back of his neck, and I'm sure it was less than two days before I started losing pieces).

I don't blame my parents for making a bad choice here... I'm sure that if we got those, we had asked for those, thanks to some TV commercial or another!

Tomorrow, it's off to outer space with Major Matt Mason!


Sunday Wrap-Up!

You know, one of the confusing things about doing multiple posts in the evening is that the first new entry you write will be the last one read (at least, so far as readers who check the blog every day are concerned)... so I may allude to things here that are supposed to be paid off in posts I have yet to write, but haven't, but that you may have already read...

With that in mind...

I again woke up early this morning, although not quite as early as Saturday. I think I woke up early because I knew Jessi was going to be leaving about nine a.m. to meet some friends and head up to Tacoma for a beading show (yes, beading... nothing wrong with that, Jessi enjoys the hobby, and it's no more ridiculous than comic books, right?). After she left, I fired up the computer and checked my morning email.

I'd made a post to freecycle last night asking for parts for the Mega Bloks Castle, remember? I did say I did that, right? Anyway, I had a response this morning from a very nice woman who lives in the town of Vader (nothing to do with Darth), which is about an hour's drive from here... but when I called her to arrange for a meeting to transfer what she had (don't worry, I'll get to that), she volunteered to meet me halfway at a Wal-Mart in Chehalis (about two exits south from where my late, lamented Taurus bit the dust in January, when Jessi and I were leaving from our last foster parent training class).

Anyway, she told me in her response that she had this stuff that was given her by a friend, but she couldn't figure out how to put it all together, and so it was just sitting around. So, since I'd planned on taking the dogs for a walk at about 10 or so anyway (and I'd gotten in touch with this woman about 9), I loaded up the dogs in the car and headed south, and pretty much was able to meet up with this very kind woman right away, and transferred the pieces into my car.

Now, there were two problems with the pieces she gave me. One, they were dirty, from being stored outside. This wasn't a problem... it cleaned up very easily. The second problem? Well, I was unaware that Mega Bloks made two different versions of this playset... the Castle one, molded in grays (with a few yellow pieces) was a Castle, while the girly one was more of a storybook cottage kind of thing, molded in blues, purples and pinks. Still, the pieces were compatible, and Jessi and I have already talked about getting some paint to make all the pieces have the same color scheme.

On the upside, however, I think there were pieces from two sets in what I was given... not two complete sets, mind you, but two sets nonetheless (there were two pieces that were archways for the doors, which are comprised of a screen printed piece of fabric you attach with velcro... and which were missing from both sets I was given, but that's not a problem, as we have the "door" for the castle). We were almost able to build a full "castle" from the combined parts, although we could still use at least another half-dozen or so wall pieces.

Unfortunately, we'll just have to keep looking at garage sales and the like for more.

Aside from that, the couple that was originally going to meet me and the dogs for a walk with their own boxer had to cancel on me... and so I called Kathy, to see if she and her boxer were available, but she was too busy. I figured I'd be walking the dogs alone (not a problem), when another couple we know who have a boxer called me, and they met up with me after I'd already done two laps around the park, so I did two more with them (which really tired out the dogs!).

Jessi had a great time at the beading show, and while I waited for her to get back, I read a library book, More Mouse Tales (or something like that), which featured behind-the-scenes dirt on Disneyland (I've become very interested in Disneyland lately... not sure why, as we're probably another two years plus away from taking a Southern California trip).

Also while waiting, I got the latest news of sorts about my mom's health. Basically, they're still not quite certain what happened... they ran one test on her, but the results were a bit strange, so they're keeping her overnight again, and will rerun the test on Monday. Mom's not feeling any pain, however, and she doesn't seem too concerned at this time. My own take on it is that the longer they keep her in the hospital trying to figure out what happened but without actually doing something to treat it, the less likely it is something truly serious (this is, of course, based solely on my own emergency room experience from last year, and as such, is probably an invalid theory).

The rest of the day, after Jessi's return? We made a quick run to Big Lots to get some weed killer (we're trying to rehabilitate what's supposed to be a flower bed in front of the house that our landlords never got around to removing the weeds from, and the dandelions have taken over entirely), and then a short run to Grocery Outlet for some groceries... then we headed for home, watched some tv, ate dinner, and Jessi made an effort to find more of the Mega Bloks castle pieces inexpensively.