Friday, April 29, 2005

Krypto the Superdog Thoughts

I was thinking about posting this last night, but spaced on it... watching this morning's episode reminded me...

I want to see some action figures based on this series! Preferably using the JLU three-pack concept, but without so much duplication of figures!

Here's how I would create three-packs of Krypto the Super-Dog figures...

Set #1 - Krypto, Hot Dog, Mechani-Cat

Set #2 - Streaky, Tail Terrier, Snooky Wookums

Set #3 - Ace the Bat-Hound, Bull Dog, Isis (Catwoman's cat)

Set #4 - Krypto (out of costume), Hot Dog, Lou (one of the Joker's hyenas)

Set #5 - Streaky (out of costume), the Brainiac-like Dog Star, Bud (the other hyena)

Set #6 - Kevin (Krypto's owner), Ignatius (Luthor's iguana), the inflating Dog Star

I also figure that these sets might also be able to be packaged with some kind of accessory... for example, Set #1 could include Krypto's dog house (some assembly required), Set #2 might include a bonus Squeaky figure (Streaky's nephew), Set #3 should include Ace's personal Bat-Wing, and so on.

As you can tell, my idea is mainly to have one of the main characters, a Dog Star member, and a villain. There have been a few other Dog Stars (and I apologize for forgetting some of their names), and there are other characters that should be done in figure form (like Robo-Dog, or the three cats that often show up, as well as this one rat, and Streaky's owner... oh, can't forget Kevin's baby sister!). I don't think we'll be looking forward to seeing the versions of Superman, Luthor and Lois Lane that have cameo'ed!

These figures should appeal to kids who watch the show as well as adults like me who like the characters!


Jon's Comic Reviews, Part 2!

Continuing with the capsule reviews from last night!

Legion of Super-Heroes #5 - OK, let me first say that I've never been overly fond of the whole "reboot" process when it comes to reviving some comics titles... where the creators throw out everything, and start all over again. Often, what was most appealing to me about the title tends to be thrown away (such as the first revival of the Outsiders -- and no, I haven't tried out the current series yet). But the current LSH series is one that definitely works for me!

(OK, so this one won't be quite a "capsule" review!) I've been a fan of the LSH at various times... in my childhood, reading the original stories in reprints (thanks to garage sales, one used to be able to buy 60s comics cheap back then... I remember getting some 80 pg. Giants for a quarter or less), and then, when the Superboy title was taken over by them, I enjoyed those stories (although I have to admit I've enjoyed them more often these days, finding them as back issues, particularlly the Grell and Cockrum issues). I also enjoyed the Giffen issues... at least until the first rebooting of sorts, where we went ahead several years. When the clone LSH was brought out, I tried that out, but ultimately, couldn't stick with it.

The current Waid/Kitson series, on the other hand, definitely has my attention. Now, I may be a bit biased -- Waid is one of my favorite comics writers, and I've always liked Kitson's work -- but this revival of LSH is working for me. The plot is very interesting, but for me, it's the characterizations that matter most in this title... and the character bits throughout every issue are what really hold my interest in this book!

Doom Patrol #11 -- It seems appropriate to review this one right after LSH, because this is another example of a rebooted book that I actually like! But what can I say? Rebooting the entire series and history gives us a living Rita Farr, and I've always liked Elasti-Girl. Getting Metamorpho involved with the team makes a lot of sense to me, too. I can't say I'm overly fond of the DP's costumes (they're kind of reminiscent of the originals, and I can definitely understand why Rita wouldn't want to wear a mini-skirt when she grows to giant-size... but it was a classic look!). I understand this series is headed for the chopping block before too much longer, but I'm hoping it'll somehow survive.

Flash #221 -- This is a title I started picking up again thanks to Identity Crisis. It's been taking me a bit to figure out what's happening on it, but having all the Rogues in the current storyline helps my patience level! I'll at least stick with it for a few more issues (although I still think Waid's run was the best on this title).

Teen Titans Go! #18 -- If you like the Titans cartoon, you'll like this book. If you don't, you won't. I happen to like both, and this issue has a number of visual gags that will at least bring a smile to those of us familiar with the in-continuity versions of these characters!

Adventures of Superman #639 -- I hate cover that give away what happens in the story, and this is one of them. Looking at this cover, you know that by the end of the issue, Superman gets possessed by Eclipso. It's interesting to see how that happens, but still... surprises, people! It also seems to be a bit misleading... on the cover, Eclipsupes is holding a torn Captain Marvel cape, but Cap only makes a brief appearance at the end of the comic -- the real battle happens in the next part!

Space Ghost #6 -- I have loved this series since issue #1... giving Space Ghost an origin is very cool, and I like this spin on the character. I understand a second mini-series is in development, and I'm definitely planning on picking that up! In fact, if the same creators were involved, I'd absolutely support a regular series! Now, if only we can get a modern-day revival of Birdman going!

Seven Soliders: Zatanna #1 -- OK, it's Zatanna. Of course I'm going to buy this book! I liked it, and I'll continue to buy it.

Fantastic Four #525 -- I've long felt that Karl Kesel deserved a shot at writing this book, and he's not disappointing. I hope he'll be able to stay with this title!

Fantastic Four Foes #4 -- I love the concepts this book is using... and the mystery is intriguing!

Teen Titans #23 -- I'm a sucker for any book when it has a storyline in which lots and lots of other superheroes show up... and I've liked this title before this! I also liked the scene at the end when Mia (the new Speedy) reveals she's HIV-positive, and other Titans share their secrets, too... although Superboy still won't admit part of his DNA came from Luthor!

House of M Sketchbook -- The only reason I have this is because it was free. Looking through it, I still don't plan on buying the series.

And that's it!


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Jon's Comics Reviews, Part 1

OK, just some brief reviews of the new comics I picked up today...

Superman #215 - This is the first issue of Superman I've bought in some time... and I was pretty much completely lost all the way through... Superman was in some kind of alternate universe created by Jor-El, and Zod was there... I have no idea how he got there, if this was the last part of the storyline, or what... Brian Azzarello needs to remember that every issue is someone's first issue, and do a better job of filling the reader in!

Seven Soliders: Klarion #1 - Morrison is doing great comics as part of the whole Seven Soldiers thing, and this issue is no exception! A possible explanation for where Solomon Grundy came from is one of the minor points of this issue... which pretty much seems to be the origin of Klarion (no "bum-bum-bum!") the Witch Boy! I'm curious to see where this is going!

The Question #6 - This is the last issue of the mini-series... and frankly, I'm still not sure how I feel about this completely new take on the Question. He's gained some magical abilities that I think Ditko (who created him, after all) would not really approve of, you know? I definitely enjoyed the previous DC Question series more, but also can't help but wonder why it is that my favorite incarnation of the Question these days is the version on Justice League Unlimited!

The Omac Project #1 - Well, the Blue Beetle is definitely dead... but at least some of the good guys are looking into his disappearance! This first issue raises more questions than it answers, but it does make me want to read more!

JLA Classified #6 - Well, thanks to this title, I still get a few more months of Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle and Sue Dibny being alive (as well as Mary Marvel appearing regularlly)! My enjoyment is a bit put off knowing what happens after the events of this storyline wrap up, though....

JLA #113 - Busiek's stepping things up with this issue, in which the JLA pretty much deal with the CSA... but there are other things going on, as well. I have to say that I'm not enjoying his run on JLA as much as I enjoyed his Avengers run... but I'll pretty much always give Kurt the benefit of the doubt!

Hawkman #39 - Wow... lots of stuff in this issue... and I definitely want to know what's happening next... how will the events of this issue affect Hawkman in the long run? Is Hawkgirl really dead? We'll have to wait and see how things shake out!

Green Lantern: Rebirth #5 - We get a full issue of Hal Jordan this time around... but you know, I didn't quite enjoy it as much as the previous issues. Still a good issue, though, and I am looking forward to the new series.

4 #17 - I was originally not picking this series up, not being a big fan of the whole Marvel Knights thing, but it really is a good title. The current storyline involving time travel has been a fun ride (what can I say, I'm a sucker for alternate universe stories).

Superman/Batman #19 - This issue was pretty much just a lead-in to the new Supergirl series. Is Supergirl really more powerful than Superman? This issue seems to indicate that's the case.

And that's all the mini-reviews for now! More tomorrow (or later today, depending on when you read this).


Favor to Ask of the Readers of This Blog!

Hey, before I forget... last night, I was working late and Jessi was in
class, and neither of us thought to set the VCR to record last night's
"Smallville" episode... if any of you happened to tape it, and would be
willing to lend me your copy, please write me at -- I'
even send you a little something for your trouble!


Nightstar in Color!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Nightstar (c) 2005 by Jon B. Knutson

Linda Robinson had long been interested in the stars, even as a child. Her two favorite gifts from her parents were a telescope through which she used to scan the night skies (often staying up past her bedtime), and a star pendant necklace she recieved for her birthday the following year. Her father used to call her "My little night-star," due to her propensity for sneaking out of bed to look at the stars.

This interest continued into her college years, pursing a degree in astronomy. She had originally hoped for a career at NASA, or perhaps working on the Hubble Telescope project, but instead settled for a job at the Puyallup Observatory in Washington State. She found the relaxed atmosphere there and the ability to focus her attentions where she wanted very enjoyable, and didn't regret her decision once she started. She would often stay at the observatory all night, scanning the night skies.

One night, during the annual meteor showers, she saw one meteor landed not too far away from the observatory. Since it was rare for any meteors to survive re-entry in this area, she immediately ran to her car and drove to where she saw it land.

It took a little time, but she found the impact spot... the meteor was no larger than a baseball, but she knew it could have caused quite a bit of damage if it had hit in a populated area. It was also glowing strangely, although no radioactivity was registering on her geiger counter. She reached for it to take it back to the observatory, and upon touching it, she felt an amazing amount of energy transfer from the meteor to her body, after which she blacked out.

Her prone form was discovered by two men who had been up very late drinking, who thought they had it made finding an attractive woman unconscious in the woods. Before they could do anything to her, Linda regained consciousness, and realizing these men's intentions, she only wanted to get away...

...and away she did! She took off into the air, glowing like a star. This, naturally, freaked out the men who were about to attack her, and they ran away screaming. Linda landed, shaken by the entire experience. The meteor was no longer glowing, and she assumed the energy it contained had been transferred to her. She returned to the observatory with the meteor, and talked to her supervisor, Dr. James Rade, about what happened. She trusted Dr. Rade, and he agreed with her hypothesis, although neither of them could determine what kind of energy could be stored in a meteor and be transferred into a human form.

Dr. Rade sent Linda home to rest, and told her the following night they would try to determine the extent of her new-found abilities. Dr. Rade's nephew was a comic book fan, and the following day, he asked his nephew some questions about how superheroes figured out what powers they had (he claimed the conversation at the observatory had been a bit odd the night before, and he figured his nephew would know the answers to their comic-book questions). Rade's nephew told him about how in the Miracleman comic, they used old comics to try out different powers, but he said they would've been smarter to use use a superhero role playing game book to accomplish the same thing.

Dr. Rade hit the local gaming shop to purchase that book, and the following night, Rade and Linda went through the list of powers. Through trial and error, they discovered Linda now had a full range of star-based powers, including flight, the ability to fire energy blasts of various forms of energy (from a straightforward heat blast, to pure stellar energy, and beyond), generate a protective glowing force field, and... most surprising of all... Nighstar was also able to generate an atmosphere around her, to a radius of about 30 feet. This atmosphere could even be generated underwater, creating a bubble of air around her. Her flight power could also be used to alter the effects of gravity on other things, such as increasing it or decreasing it.

Naturally, Linda realized that she had a responsibility to use these powers for good, and that she would get even more excitement out of using her powers than she could have experienced working for NASA or any other agency of that kind.

Taking on the identity of Nightstar, Linda began her heroic activities. When the super-heroes of the Puget Sound area formed the Guardians of Justice, she was one of the first new recruits to the team.

Linda can be impulsive at times, having a great confidence in her abilities, and not always completely thinking through her plans... but she does learn from her mistakes. As Nightstar, she is very serious, and it's rare when she cracks a joke. She is never taken for any less than an equal by her teammates, and in many ways, she is one of the most powerful members of the team.

Like her team leader LaserAvenger, Nightstar often uses some of her spare time to help out charitable institutions, and makes herself available to visit hospitals or do other activities just to help people, whether adults or children, feel better.


Nightstar by Jan Duursema

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, this and the accompanying color version will be the last of these posts for a few days (tonight, I hope to do a blog entry concerning the current comics I'll be picking up later this morning).

Again, this was done at the 1986 San Diego ComicCon... this was actually the first of the two sketches that Jan did for me, and I chose her for it because I loved the way Jan drew women in Arion, Lord of Atlantis.

I'd always had a difficult time drawing Nightstar's hair prior to getting this done... I knew I wanted her hair to be very long (it originally had been shorter, in keeping with her visual appearance being influenced greatly by Sal Buscema's work, especially when he drew Moonstone in The Incredible Hulk), and it was a challenge to draw it longer... Jan really nailed it perfectly, and I've used her technique ever since (unfortunately, the past 10 years or so, I've drawn less than I ever have before in my life, and every time I try to get going on drawing again, something seems to happen to break me off of doing that).

Details on Nightstar as a character in the next post!


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Battlestar in Color!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, before I tell you a bit about Battlestar, I should first admit that I didn't use my original color scheme when coloring this image... and I couldn't find any of my old drawings that were colored, so I kind of winged it. I think I like this version better than the original, though.

Battlestar (c) 2005 Jon B. Knutson!

Matthew Bronson was just your average senior in high school, more concerned with getting dates than getting good grades, despite the fact that his father, Professor Bronson, was famous for his innovative inventions.

Professor Bronson was often contacted by government agencies looking for proposals for high-tech items, and more often than not, the Professor would just submit blueprints and schematics, and the project would be approved on the basis of that alone... or rejected. What wasn't that well known was that he was never happy just creating his ideas on paper, he had to build them to make sure they would work!

The projects that weren't approved ended up being put in storage in the basement of the Bronson household (it was a big basement) until they could be used or re-used.

Matthew didn't pay much attention to all that, however... thanks to his father's inventions and the patents on them, he was able to live in the lap of luxury, at least compared to his classmates. Although at least if he had a used car to drive... it did get upgraded to out-perform the newest vehicles on the road!

One morning, while his father was out of town at a conference, Matthew needed to put some oil in his car. Not finding any in the garage, he went into the basement, knowing his father stored all kinds of things there. He didn't find any oil, but he did find a large crate labeled "Project Battlestar." It wasn't fastened very well, and the glint of metal Matthew saw through the partly-opened crate got his attention.

He pried the crate open, and saw the Battlestar armor, as well as the paperwork on it. Reading the papers, Matthew learned that this armor was designed for the US Army, but was deemed too expensive to produce. Apparently, it wasn't too expensive to produce this prototype, obviously!

Matthew had been a big fan of the superheroes that had been cropping up in the Seattle area, as well as all over the country, and he realized that with this armor, he could become one himself!

Breezing through the instruction manual (his father was very thorough), Matthew donned the armor, and tried it out... accidentally sending an energy blast across the room, destroying the contents of several crates.

Matthew realized that the basement wasn't the best place to try the armor out, so he took the armor off, lugged it up to his car (not worrying anymore about the oil), and drove to the cabin in the Cascades his father had purchased back when Matthew's mother was still alive (she had passed away several years before in an automobile accident).

There, he donned the armor again, and began trying it out. He soon was able to determine how to activate the sensory systems, the flight system, and the multiple weapons systems. He also learned that through an advanced bio-feedback/exo-skeleton system, the armor increased his strength to the point where he could easily lift, say, a city bus.

With the armor figured out as best he could, Matthew flew around the mountains to get a feel for it, and in the process, was able to rescue some stranded hikers. Getting some publicity for this act immediately, Matthew presented himself to Seattle's home-based superhero team, The Guardians of Justice, and upon demonstrating the armor's capabilities, was accepted for membership.

The armor itself is constructed of a beryllium/aluminum alloy, making it lightweight but strong. The helmet's cybernetic circuitry (which was permanently set to Matthew's brainwave patterns when he first put it on) gives him complete control over the armor's systems.

The sensory capabilities of the armor include passive and active sonar and radar, infrared and ultraviolet vision, multiple band transmission and reception, chemical analysis, and other sensory abilities.

The weapons systems range from a form of plasma energy beam (which could be fired in a blast or converted into a sort of plasma energy sword), to a battery of micro-missiles, which could be explosive or filled with knock-out gas.

The suit also protects the wearer from extreme heat and cold, as well as from most forms of conventional attack. The armor's refractory coating provides defense against laser-based attack, as well. The life-support systems protect the wearer from gas-based attacks, and can allow for nearly unlimited undersea travel (the helmet is able to recirculate the air supply, as well as draw some oxygen from water), or provide up to an hour's protection in the vacuum of space.

Flight capabilities are made possible through jets mounted on the back of the boot units, using a form of hyper-compressed air, although a back-up jet system is also in place.

Accepting that his son's desire to use the Battlestar armor for constructive purposes, Professor Bronson has promised to repair the armor and upgrade the systems as new breakthroughs are made.


Battlestar by Mike Gustovich

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's the second in the series of drawings I had done at the 1989 San Diego Comic-Con, this one of Battlestar, drawn by Mike Gustovich, best known for his work on Justice Machine!

I really liked Mike's work on JM, and when I saw him at Artist's Alley, I knew he was the artist I wanted to draw my armored crimefighter!

More about Battlestar with the colored version!


Monday, April 25, 2005

LaserAvenger in Color!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, like I said, this drawing was done by Jan Duursema at the 1986 San Diego Comic-Con. Well, tonight I happened to pull it out, and scanned it into the computer, and decided to color a copy of it in PhotoShop!

LaserAvenger is (c) 2005 by me, Jon B. Knutson... just to get the legalities aside!

Samuel Blake was raised as an orphan... his mother died in childbirth, and his father died before he was born. Since neither of his parents had any family, Sam was made a ward of the state of Washington. For some reason, he was never adopted as a baby or as a toddler... instead, he was shifted from foster family to foster family until his early teens, by which time he was a bitter boy who trusted no one. He spent his teenage years in an orphanage in Tacoma, Washington, attending public schools.

But it was while he was living in the orphanage that Sam met the man who, in many ways, could be considered his real father, a social worker who took a special interest in Sam. Sam was the oldest child in the orphanage, and this social worker (who would've adopted Sam had he not been single, and thus ineligible to do so) impressed upon Sam that as the oldest, he had a responsibility to set a good example for the other children. This social worker (I'm sorry, I don't remember his name) helped Sam develop hobbies and interests, and discovered Sam's natural ability for playing football.

Sam matured rapidly under this tutlage, making a complete turnaround from the bitter child he once was. As much as Sam looked up to the social worker, the other children in the orphanage looked up to him. Sam's football skills in high school earned him a scholarship to Washington University in Seattle, where he initially thought he'd earn a degree in social work.

On his 18th birthday, he received a life insurance settlement from the death of his mother, which had been held in trust until then, which would have allowed him to attend college even without the scholarship, and which he used to rent an apartment off-campus to avoid the distractions that dormitory life often provided (although this didn't stop him from having a social life). He also purchased a used car.

With the money, he also received a mysterious box that was discovered in his mother's possessions... an ornate wooden box that, when Sam opened it, contained two leather wrist bands embedded with a series of large circular jewels. Sam went to various sources to try to identify what the jewels were, but nobody could identify them. He decided to pursue a minor in geology in college in an attempt to learn more about these jewels.

Come October of his first year in college, Sam was invited to a costume party for Halloween night, and he fashioned a "spacey-looking" costume for it, and decided to wear the wristbands with it for effect. But Sam would not make the party.

A telephone call told Sam that the social worker who he felt made him the person he was today had been attacked, and was in serious condition in a hospital in Tacoma. Not bothering to change clothes, Sam threw a trenchcoat on over his costume, putting the mask in the coat pocket, and drove to Tacoma as fast as he could get there.

When he got to the hospital, the social worker was barely hanging on. He told Sam that a local gang was trying to sell drugs to the children in the orphanage until he interfered, and this same gang attacked him as he was leaving the orphanage for his home. Sam barely got enough details about who had done this when the social worker died.

Sam knew the police were on the case, but he felt compelled to find the gang who murdered the man he'd come to think of as a father himself. He ran back to his car, not noticing that the wristbands he wore were beginning to glow.

Sam drove like a madman around the city, looking for the gang, when he saw one who matched the descriptions given him. He immediately hit the brakes, stopping his car and leaping out of it... and took off into the air, the glow from his wristbands enveloping his body.

Sam was admittedly freaked out about this happening, but immediately realized that he had better chance with this newfound ability to capture the gang, and followed the person he spotted from the air until he could find the rest of the gang, learning how to fly as he went.

The gang member entered an abandoned building, and Sam landed nearby, approaching silently. He overheard the gang talking inside, laughing over the beating they'd given his friend and mentor. Sam's rage mounted... and his wristbands began glowing even brighter... until his rage exploded in a burst of pure lasers from his hands, opening a hole in the side of the building.

Sam didn't even question it... but took advantage of the surprise to attack the gang members. They were only surprised for a few moments, however, and several of them drew guns from their coats and began shooting at him. Instinctively, Sam somehow created a glowing force field around him that destroyed the bullets before they could harm him. Not wanting to take a chance on killing any of the gang members, Sam used his fists to take the gang out before the police, alerted by the flashing lights, arrived on the scene. Sam quickly put his mask on before the police arrived, hoping that the gang members wouldn't have had a good look at his face. He explained to the officers who these gang members where, and what they had done. He then began to fly away, when one of the policemen asked him who he was.

His response? "Call me... the LaserAvenger."

Sam didn't appear as LaserAvenger for a time after that, wanting to learn more about his powers. He also changed his major to physics, planning to specialize in the physics of light.

Through experimentation, Sam learned that the jewels on his wristbands somehow absorbed all forms of light, storing the energy for his use. While wearing these wristbands, Sam gained what he referred to as "photokinesis," or the ability to manipulate light. Among the specific abilities he discovered he had were:

The ability to fire lasers from his hands, controlling the intensity and size of the beams... if he held his hands in fists while firing these energy beams, the lasers would be a large, concentrated force... but if he spread his fingers, each finger would generate its own laser beam, of lesser intensity.

The ability to fly, which Sam theorized was by riding photons.

The ability to generate a force field of concentrated photons.

The ability to turn invisible, by warping light around him.

The ability to generate realistic holograms.

The ability to record visual information, which could be played back (without sound, natch) later in the form of a hologram. Unfortunately, this ability is inadmissable in court, because it could be argued that he was creating the playback himself.

The ability to generate blinding bursts of light.

LaserAvenger was the first of the modern super-heroes to pop up in the Seattle/Puget Sound area of Washington, and he feels a responsibility to set a good example for his fellow heroes, as well. He will not kill unless that is the only way to prevent innocents from becoming injured or killed... and then only as a last resort.

He's also the most publically-available of the super-heroes of the Seattle area, making contacts within the police force as well as the local media, and making regular appearances for charitable events. He also makes a point of visiting orphanages in the entire Puget Sound area, as well as visiting hospitals' children's wards.

Because of his demonstrated honesty and honor, his actions are rarely called into question by the police or the media. He recognizes this, and uses his fame and recognition to help promote causes he believes in, although he stays away from politics.

When the first modern-day superhero team was formed in the Seattle area, LaserAvenger was the natural leader of the group.

As he continues his crimefighting, LaserAvenger develops other abilities, although he still does not know where these wristbands came from, or exactly how they work.


LaserAvenger by Jan Duursema

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Way back in 1986, I was in the U.S. Navy, stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation as a journalist. The "Connie" was stationed at NAS North Island, just across the water from San Diego.

Unfortunately, 1986 was the only year I was able to attend the San Diego Comic-Con while I was in the Navy... but I tried to make the most of it I could, naturally!

My buddy Mark Grochowicz went with me -- we'd been friends since before we both joined the Navy, and were both in San Diego when our ships were in port.

I had several goals at this SDCC... attend panels, naturally (I remember going to one for the Spider-Man movie... yeah, it was in the works for a helluva long time!). I managed to meet -- however briefly -- a few people, like Marv Wolfman, Jim Shooter (whom I pestered with questions about breaking into comics and also handed him a proposal for a Nova miniseries), and way, way too briefly, Jack Kirby. I at least got to shake Jack's hand, but I'll always wish I had more time to tell him how much his work has meant to me almost my entire life.

I remember walking past Julie Schwartz and Ray Bradbury, and really wish I'd talked to both of them.

I also attended a seminar on breaking into comics writing held by Mark Evanier, at which I found out I shouldn't have given Shooter my plots!

Anyway, another major goal for me at this show was to get some drawings done in Artist's Alley of some of my own superhero characters. I had no idea how much it would cost, but I had a pocketful of cash to spend on that! So, I hit Artist's Alley, and had Jan Duursema do two of my characters, and her husband (at least at the time, I don't know if they're still married or not) Tom Mandrake do two others. I loved what they did!

I also had Mike Gustovich (of Justice Machine) do one, and Richard Howell did another one (although his was pencils only, no inks). And I loved their stuff, too!

Then... there was Howard Chaykin. Let me give you guys a word of advice... if Chaykin's at a convention doing sketches, only ask for drawings of his own characters. I don't know, maybe he was in a bad mood or something when I asked him to do a drawing for me... but I really wish I'd changed my mind about that. More on that in a future post!

Anyway... this drawing here was one of Jan Duursema's, and is of my character LaserAvenger. I wanted to show off the black and white version before I show you the version I just colored on the computer tonight, and I'll tell you a bit about the character with that post!


Dollar DVDs and Old Animation

As I mentioned before in this blog, I've bought a number of dollar DVDs, mostly ones featuring old animation, old TV shows, and old cheesy "B" and "C" horror movies.

Well, having watched some of these, I can honestly say that some of these "lost" cartoons on these DVDs should've stayed lost.

Take, for example, the couple of old Mutt and Jeff cartoons I've seen... oh my god, these have got to be some of the worst old cartoons I've ever seen! The animation is just plain bad (it's not even up to Famous Studios/Harveytoons "standards"), and the stories are not much better!

I should warn you guys... if you buy any of the Treasure Box Collection dvds that say "Betty Boop and Other Cartoon Treasures," or "Superman and Other Cartoon Treasures," or anything "and Other Cartoon Treasures," that some of the same cartoons appear on more than one disc... which is not always a bad thing (two of the ones I've watched so far have "Popeye Meets Sindbad the Sailor") but sometimes is (there's this one Herman the Mouse cartoon that's not that entertaining that's been on two).

Speaking of the Betty Boop one... that one starts off with "Betty Boop and the Little King," which is not mentioned on the box the disc comes in. For those who don't know, when the Fleischers were looking for new characters to start series on to accompany Betty Boop, they guest-starred several King Features characters with Betty... the Little King was one, as was Henry (neither of them worked out that well... they decided to give the Little King dialogue, even though, like Henry, the strips were all in pantomime... I think they kept Henry mute, though).

The only successful one in this sub-series of Betty Cartoons was the one in which she met... Popeye the Sailor Man! So far, I haven't come across the Popeye pilot on these discs.

Two of these discs to date (the Betty one, which I'm currently watching, and the Mighty Mouse one) have Little Lulu cartoons on them, done by (I believe) Famous Studios, and I'll admit, I've never been much of a Lulu fan... and these cartoons won't change my mind about that! (The Mighty Mouse one has the two Mutt & Jeff cartoons I mentioned earlier)

As I'm writing this, the Betty Boop disc is up to a Fleischer cartoon (non-series) featuring chickens in an Arabian Nights kind of thing... and I've just heard Jack Mercer's Popeye voice for a chicken sultan!

So like I said, some nice surprises... some not-so-nice ones! If you have a fondness for Little Audrey cartoons, you'll find some of these on those discs, too... usually one each.

I think I mentioned in a previous posting that "Popeye and Other..." had two Popeyes, about a half-dozen Superman toons, and a Woody Woodpecker toon... so the mix is rather weird at times!


Just Because...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
...I haven't posted a recent picture of Krypto for a while, here's one I took of him and KO, his "step-sister," about two or three weeks ago!


Final image

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
And to conclude, here's the view from my desk! You can see the prominent location of the TV, handy for watching while I'm at the computer, or when transcribing video interviews.

You can also see the Bissell Carpet Cleaner next to the tv that was working again for a while, and then stopped!


More right...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
(can you tell I've seen a certain tv commercial too many times?). Above my TV hangs a photocopy of the origianal art for Fantastic Four #6, signed by Dick Ayers (another gift from my late wife). Below that on top of the TV is my high school diploma.


And to the right again...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Above my closet hang the three-packs for the entire first series of JLU action figures (which my biggest complaint about is that they keep repeating characters in them... so I have two Supermen, two Batmen, and two Flashes! And I understand that'll continue in future releases). Some interesting choices in this line's first series... I mean, the Red Tornado and Starman haven't had much to do in the episodes, and where's Booster Gold, who had an entire episode to himself? Where's Green Arrow's bow? Where's Supergirl and Captain Atom? And how about more villains, like Solomon Grundy?

Then again, I'm so much of a JLU geek, I'd love to see them do three-packs of the guest-stars from "The Once and Future Thing" episode, i.e., the western heroes and the future JLU members.

And below them, on the closet door, is a poster from "Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python," which is signed by Eric.


Continuing the office tour...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
From the last photo, we pan over to the right once more, and look up, above the door, where I have three of the two-packs of the Hanna-Barbera Adventure Superstars figures... that's Meteor Man and Gravity Girl from the Galaxy Trio in one, Thundarr and Ariel from Thundarr the Barbarian, and Birdman and Avenger from... well, Birdman!

Next to them is the Justice League Unlimited Atom (an eBay purchase) and a Justice League Untra Humanite. Below them is a photo of Jessi and KO, and below that are two pieces of art hand-colored by Dick Ayers of the Fantastic Four and the original Avengers circa #4!


Sunday, April 24, 2005

A little higher up...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
...and you can see a better view of the Superman/Batman shelf, where you can see the DC Direct Krypto figure in his box, as well as the Hallmark GI Joe Turbo-Copter ornament.

Above that are the boxes for those Bat-Vehicles, the Speed Racer Mach V remote control car, Superman and Godzilla alarm clocks, and the Lois & Clark cake topper I made for my wedding.

That's it for today's postings... tomorrow, the remainder!


Toys Galore!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Well, here you can see the bulk of my toy collection!

Tacked to the wall is Moltar from "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" (and one of these days I have to get the rest of those figures). You can also see the Beatles Animated Series figures, as well as a set of G-Force/Battle of the Planets PVCs, a Spirit action figure, and some assorted DC Direct Figures. Above that is the Superman/Batman shelf, with some of the recent Corgi Bat-Vehicles, a Nick at Nite Superman/George Reeves plate, and the ring pillow that was used at my wedding. There's also some Australian fast food premium figures of Clark changing to Superman and Lois Lane.


All the Way Down...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon. the bottom of the stacked shelves to check out my limited DVD collection, many of which are the dollar DVDs I mentioned earlier. Those candleholders in the photo have since been relocated to the living room.


And up...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Well, here's a better view of that top shelf... and in the entry for the previous photo in this series should've mentioned the third shelf down has more assorted books.

And yes, that's a modern Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy sitting atop the shelves. I think I mentioned winning him on eBay. Next to him is a pyramid bank I bought at the Luxor Hotel in Vegas during my honeymoon, and above that is the license plate that I had on my Taurus (and my Hyundai before that) when I lived in Wisconsin.

You can see a little bit of the shelf next to that, on which reside many of my toys... more on those in the next entry!


More Right...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
These next shelves pretty much are a variety of books. The top shelf has four stacks of various Star Trek novels, both original series and Next Generation. Next to those are some other assorted books.

The shelf below that has some other assorted books, two stacks of Xanth novels, some Japanese comic books (Cat's Eye and Dragonball/Dragonball Z), and another of my wedding pictures.


Shifting to the right...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This is just a better view of the shelves from the previous photo (which you can see below this entry).

That dark object on the upper shelf is a baseball cap that says "The Sixth Beatle."


Moving Up Now...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
...continuing the series of photos of my office, we're looking at the top two shelves of my bookcases to the right of my computer table. The top left one is all books and magazines about comics and how they're created, while the top right one is an assortment of collectible paperbacks (such as the Get Smart! series) and other books.

The two shelves below those are all trade paperbacks, from Essentials to Archives and everything in between, sorted so that it's DC, Marvel, then other publishers. I'm sure as I replace the books I sold when I was out of work, I'll need to expand that section considerably!


Another Office View

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, so that corner isn't the only disorganized area. The camera's panned over to the right, slightly, and we're looking at the bottom of my first two bookshelves. The left-hand one, at the bottom, has an assortment of paper for the printer, and above that are CDs and Zip disks, and a few other things for the computer. Above that are various oversized books, from my high school yearbooks to 2 copies of "The Beatles Complete Vol. 1" songbook, some of my art from the past years, a photo album, and the 2 volumes of "Steranko's History of Comics." Moving over to the right, more assorted books, below that, various and sundry VHS tapes I have to go through to find out what I've recorded therein, and then the bins on the bottom shelf are various audio cassette tapes, including my karaoke tapes.

The Porky Pig cookie jar you see on the floor is where I throw my coins in when I've got change from spending cash (as opposed to using my check card).


Another view in my office...

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
...and as you can see, there is some slight disorganization going on... although pretty much confined to that one corner. You can see my Mac, as well as the top of the chair I sit in (a garage sale bargain that I've been using for several years now). That big flat box contains a Rocketeer standee as well as some limited edition prints -- mostly Doc Savage paperback covers -- that I've been trying to decide if I'm going to keep or eBay (and if I eBay them, I have to figure out how to ship them and keep them flat, as well as what the shipping will cost. For that matter, if I keep them, where the heck do I display them? As you'll see in further entries in this photo series, there isn't much wall space available in here).

You can barely make out my Canon i350 printer next to the tower. This printer is the best inkjet printer I've ever had -- and the cartridges are almost half the price of the LexMark printer I used to own, too! The lamp that's kind of stuffed into the corner has yet to be turned on over here, as I have an overhead light that works better for me, so that lamp may be relocated to the garage for a future garage sale.

You can also see a plastic bottle with some dark liquid in it -- that liquid is Crystal Light Raspberry Iced Tea, which I'm drinking only because I'm currently out of Diet Mountain Dew. I have no idea of the CLRIT has caffeine in it or not -- and please don't tell me if it doesn't -- which is why I'm drinking it.

And yes, that's an ashtray sitting next to the keyboard... some day I will quit smoking, but for the time being, I'm working on my weight loss -- one adjustment at a time, you know?