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Sometimes Your Streaming Shitfest Soiree Really Just Isn’t Worth Your Weight in Salt

16 Apr

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Pictured above: Cary Coatney getting over his case of Bells Palsy.

Allow me to sync up with the other ‘personal health’ blogs I’ve been on a rummaging tangent about.

Two months ago, I contracted an unexpected case of Bells Palsy (see photo above) which seemed to send shockwaves to both friends and family, and while I was recovering, Sherman Oaks area celebrity, Luke Perry died from a massive stroke. Luke Perry was only two years younger than me which made me wonder if I had once more accidentally dodged the pendulum swing of the grim reaper and deflected a Sabrina, Teen Age With  hocus pocus spell meant for me. After all, people in their mid-fifties shouldn’t be dropping dead of strokes without some kind of logical explanation. Bells Palsy is a close cousin of the stroke family and I recently found out from a close relative that a distant relative of mine had once suffered from the same type of paralysis.

Also last month, I was sick (twice) with flu and fever due to this stupid no sugar and no salt diet that a doctor put me on and in a flipped out feverish state, I was blogged in another throwaway mode of how cigarettes and I can’t seem to get a restraining order against each other on weekends when I’m trying to cram in nearly twenty comic book genre related show in an attention span of a weekend.

The stupid unseasonal weather didn’t help either. Usually in Los Angeles, spring likes to come early in late February or early March, but instead we got pissed on by a two-week deluge of El Nino type showers and there was a hardly a day during the first quarter of 2019 that it strived to be above 70 degrees. I have a knack of keeping the thermostat off if it hovers above the fifty mark at night, but sometimes, others living with you think it’s warm enough outside to throw open all the windows and that’s (although a roommate may digress) my own plausible explanation of launching in phase two of cold and flu season.

So it really came as no surprise that a dietitian recently diagnosed me as a possible candidate for Pre-diabetes.

Because I had started topping 200 pounds for my measly 5 foot and four inch frame.

Chalk it up to those spectacular Fatty liver enzymes of which my neurologist alerted to me after he ambushed me with a demand for a blood test.

And so the background harp plays to an unsteady rhythm of a flashback to that fateful day when the Bob Hope Clinic sent me for tests in Burbank after I was so obviously diagnosed with Bells Palsy, that I didn’t need a punch in the face from Homer Simpson (again, see photo above) for me to cry out “Uncle D’oh!”

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Of course, all flashbacks concern trips to comic book shops that you haven’t stepped in for years since those heartful days of working at Warner Bros. In this case, it was The House of Secrets – the lone survivor of a whole gamut of comic book stores that used to be on nearly block stretching as far to downtown Burbank. At least, that’s how I remembered it used to be when I first walked up and down in the early 1990’s on this street before the massive Northridge quake was nothing more than a mild burp conception and my half sister’s stepdad had recruited me to help manage his store in North Hollywood, shortly after the quake happened – this was the go to area for specialty comic book direct market overload.

I’d figured since I was in the area, I’d hunt a few lost items I needed to get my hands on. One item was to serve as a memento to the memory of the Netflix Marvel Universe in a series of graphic novels that were previously seen as chapters of an online comic book on the Marvel website. So far, there have been short compact volumes dedicated to Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Cloak & Dagger, and the Daughters of the Dragon – all the grittiness you’d expect to enjoy on the shows, but I haven’t started the process of diving into enjoying one, because I’m having a hell bitch of a time trying to locate the Luke Cage volume, and you know me, Mr. Completist – will eventually throw a shit fit if I don’t get it my way. I’ve checked three Barnes & Noble in my area and a half a dozen other comic book specialty shops in the area. I’d had no problems locating the others, but it looks as if the Luke Cage got forgotten about (one retailer said to me; why don’t you just download the fucking thing off the Marvel website and read it?)

Because I don’t like reading comic books online, alright??

Jeez, I would hate to resort asking a friend to order it for me on Amazon. That would make me forfeit the hunt and make me out to be a defeatist.

However, one other item proved to be a lucky score for me at HoS, which I had also scoured the Los Angeles Specialty shop community high and low (plus all the Barnes & Nobles in my area literally sold out of their entire stock) for…

 

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This is Graphic novel adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond prose novel of Casino Royale put out by Dynamite Entertainment. Noticed I said THAT it’s an adaptation of Ian Fleming’s original NOVEL and not of the two or three previous movie and television versions, including the decade old movie that starred Daniel Craig in his first outing as James Bond.

Hopefully, this is the start of more beautiful things to come. I’d like to see a couple of the short story collections that were released after Fleming’s death done in a graphic novel style, particularly the titles that became feature-length movies on their own such as “A View To A Kill”, “The Living Daylights”, and “Octopussy” which started out as short stories that originally saw publication in Playboy Magazine during the swinging sixties. Three stories that also first breathed life in Playboy were “Risico”, “Property of A Lady”, and “The Hildebrand Rarity“. None of them have yet to be adapted to the big screen.

Dynamite Entertainment also publishes on a monthly basis, two ongoing series based on James Bond: “James Bond: Origins” and “James Bond 007″. Both titles are steller reads.

So as I went up to the cash register, I ran into one of the masterminds behind The classic Batman Animated Series, Bruce Timm, who I haven’t seen in the longest time in public other than a few San Diego conventions here and there. I used to run into Bruce and series writer Paul Dini quite frequently when I used to reside in Sherman Oaks past Ventura Blvd when the Warner Bros Animation division was headquartered at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. I’d occasionally run into them at the mall and its neighboring Tower Records and they sort of remember who I was when I used to heap praise on them and their show in the news pages of the Comics Buyer’s Guide.

In my whacked out of my mind Bells Palsy condition, I struggled to say hello and Bruce recognized me, but it looked as if my name escaped him and as he was making his purchase (I couldn’t quite make out what he was buying. Perhaps a Scooby Doo Team Up issue?), he asked me how I was and I told him I was making a rare Burbank appearance to visit with my neurologist(in which I wanted to scream: BECAUSE MY FUCKING BRAIN HURTS!), in which he responded, ‘a neurologist? Well, that doesn’t sound good. Wish you luck,’ and then walked out before I could force myself to say ‘take it easy’. And it did hurt to talk. I was in a gemini frame of mind. Two sides of the same coin, but one dormantly weaker to communicate verbal thoughts.

C’mon, we’ve all woken up mornings feeling like this, right?

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During my visit with the neurologist, he did note to me that it didn’t look like a series case and that after I take a quick fixer upper prescription of Prednisone and Valacyclovir (with RX names like that, you would think they walked straight out of Greek mythology), the symptoms should clear away. So as I maneuver my way out of the exam room to pick up the prescription of my magic candy, thinking that I’m nearly home free… and then the doctor calls to halt me in my tracks, “Not so fast, Mr. Coatney. We got to send you downstairs for a blood test.”

A blood test? What the fuck on earth for?

The doctor says, ‘it’s the only way to tell if the medication is compatible for your system .’ What if you’re a diabetic and you didn’t know about it? It could be a potential disaster for you and for me. And we don’t want that, do we?’

Great. A blood test. Hot jiggity jig.

Downstairs, I tried to haggle with the blood sucker downstairs of how he needs to take out.

They want 3 fucking vials full. One long tube and two short ones. Why in the world do they need that much? Are they fucking cloning an army?

So Count Nurse Vlad is trying to sweet talk me about how he’s a big fan of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett (of who I showed up to the office wearing a t-shirt of) and as I’m talking about the new album he put out (At The Edge of Light. out now on Insideout Music) last January…

…and then I lose consciousness, snoring away..

…until I’m abruptly woken with smelling salts rubbed up my nose.

It was the worse fucking feeling in my life imaginable. If Bruce Timm had stuck around I would’ve told him, that it felt like I woke up on a future Batman animated feature called “Up The Anus of the Mask of Phantasm”.

It was like I was in a parallel dimension, back in my living room watching something truly demented and horrific on the ’55 inch Ultra High Definition television I bought recently, but I was being yanked away into a dark abyss as I was revived with smelling salts under my nose and screaming my ass off as I came too.

What a fucking humiliation that was.

Why do people pass out during blood tests?? I just don’t get it.

However google was more happy to supply me with an explanation of why this continuously persists on happening:

The most likely reason you felt sick to your stomach when you had your blood drawn is that your body was having a vasovagal reaction. … Others may feel dizzy, start sweating, look pale, or have a temporary drop in heart rate or blood pressure. Some people will even faint.”

This sudden drop causes some people to pass out while they give blood. Sudden decreases in blood sugar level also cause fainting during blood donation. … This diverts blood from the brain, increasing the risk that someone will pass out during the donation process.”

It also says that a few ways to avoid from passing out is eat a salty snack or drink fluids or avoid any heavy workouts or standing for long lengths of time. So I might try that next time (and they did promise that there will a next time, and a time after that, and a time after…).

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No wonder. I didn’t even have any lunch yet. So after Count Nurse Vlad watched me limp and stumble out of his office and a happy grin that he got his quota of test tubes filled with Coatney juice, (he could’ve at least offered me a lolipop, or a goddamn cookie) I hobbled over across the street to

Poquito Mas.

Poquito Mas is one of those trailblazing authenic baja style Mexican comfort food restaurants that somehow beat all the pale imitations like Baja Fresh or La Salsa to the punch of supreme dominance throughout the greater Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley area. They have the best baja fish and shrimp tacos and enchilladas anywhere in town. A Pan Fried Shrimp Bowl is one of my all time favorite menu items. Expensive, but worth it, and lots of Hollywood celebs seem to agree. You can usually spot Oscar-winning actor JK Simmons chowing down on a low carb taco plate at my neighboring Sherman Oaks location.

Some of the menu is very good in low-fat selections, of which my cute little Asian dietitian recommends I stridently follow her orders because she has ruled me 35 pounds overweight. So mostly from now until June this year: it’s a strict diet of power plates (that usually consists of a quarter of protein, i;e: fish or chicken, a quarter starchy veggies including rice, one half of fresh veggies, carrots, broccoli. cauliflower; etc.).

As of today, I managed to drop 20 pounds to 180, but the fight goes on to drop to 165 by June.

Next week: it’s my annual bashing of someone from the O’Conner clan.

 

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On the 80th Anniversary, There Are Still Bats Hanging Out The Peehole of My Belfry

28 Mar

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(I suck, I suck, and I even suck even some more. I’ve been sick for the past two weeks that prevented me from posting a coherent and intelligible blog. I mean, seriously did anybody make any sense of that sucky mealy mouth nonsense of an eye sore written under high fever and massive phlegm bombing throwing conditions last Tuesday?)

I made have to declare a do-over on that last one. BUT as of today, I’m hundred percent better and am ready to descend about the wild cosplay life of Wonder Con tomorrow that last throughout the weekend down in Anaheim, but sadly that leaves me with little time to compose an entire new blog – so I found another one of Comics Buyer’s Guide pieces of mine dating back 20 years or so to 1999. Although. it’s written in regards to Bob Kane’s passing, there is still enough lingering about to lift the dark shadows in light celebration in honor of the 80th birthday of perhaps this comic book industry’s greatest and second most enduring creation, Batman of which DC Comics is commemorating the event in the 1000th issue of Detective Comics!! I will try to backtrack and make more sense of where my health is headed these past few months plus scattered a few entries here and there will be of how much of a fucking slimeball actor Carroll O’Connor was in real life, a review of two of this year best prog albums so far, and before we all know it,…Free Comic Book Day 2019 is just around the corner and you know what that means…..more capsule reviews up the wazoo!!)  

Here’s another one of those dreadful A Few Words For the Dead letters again; the kind that shatters you out of a low-key blissful hibernation in case anyone’s been wondering about my absence in my contributions of late to this forum. I’ve been on hiatus while I develop my long-awaited comic book project, ( hey, maybe you haven’t waiting for it as much as I am, but I digress )  but I’m not going to use this platform for a plug nor mention the book’s title. Neither am I going to bring up the topic of the day concerning the DC/ Wildstorm merger except for this: I wouldn’t have wanted to be within earshot when Alan Moore woke up to the news that he is once again an employee of DC Comics and wasn’t told until after the contracts were signed.

No, instead I’m here to say a few words about a man, who unknowingly has been a bane for my menial existence, ever since I was three or four years old running around with a cape tied around my neck, screaming out the name of his most fabled iconographic contribution of sixties’ pop culture’s on the top of my bloody lungs while relishing in the care free indulgence of a television show and a toy box full of memories.

As I grew and wised up, I found to be many flexible facets and infinite combinations to a creation that I admit to loving more than life itself. interchangeable with variegated incarnations that still remain fresh and exciting to this very day as opposed to the vapid imitations that followed in the craze of its’ wake.

(Does Moon Knight ring any bells ?)

Yes, Batman has been through so much through these past six decades: movie serials, radio, a popular sixties television show that nearly mesmerized the nation into a numb submission of campiness that heralded in our last days of innocence, a big budget movie series,and an art deco styled animated series that saved face and redeemed both the respect of die-hard comic book readers and critics alike as the definitive version of the Dark Knight.

And Bob Kane has seen a lot in a lifetime.

Bob Kane has seen both the success and the failures of Batman for over sixty years. Nothing could ever separate the two apart in their creative endeavors – for both creator and creation were forever synonymous with each other. Even when I was five or six years old I knew who Bob Kane was. He was Batman’s old man (and Thomas Wayne was in actuality Batman’s surrogate father)and he was as a much celebrated figure in my childhood as the caped crusader.

Hearing about Bob’s passing didn’t surprise me as I thought it would. It’s speculated that he was in ill health ever since the premiere of the Batman and Robin movie fiasco and he had to skip an appearance at the monthly LA Comic Book Convention put on by Bruce Schwartz to talk about the film. The Los Angeles Times had extensive coverage on his life and times on the front page of their Valley Section ( which I later discovered was lifted off the press release on the DC website )and in The Hollywood Reporter, as well as televised reports on the local news station. Variety was the only publication that I read upon which treated the whole passing as a mention in the obituary column.

Another thing got me thinking: How do us current creators ever hope of matching the longevity of such characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and even Spider-man for that matter ? Here I am on the plateau overlooking the new millennium wondering if I have the stamina in these economic crunched times to measure up for the next hundred years with something unique and exciting ? As of today, this comic book industry is not a patient breed. It’s always sales ! Sales ! And numbers. None of these pressures or headaches we have today as compared to Kane or Siegal & Shuster’s back then. I’m sure they and other golden age great creators weren’t hanging by a thread calling their local Diamond Distributor representative and inquiring about their numbers every few weeks.

Well, not to get off the beaten track- Kane’s legacy shall always continue in the pages of DC Comics, some good and some bad. My most favorite impression of the character will always remain in the current animated series shown on the WB. (I’m a sicko when it comes to setting my alarm on a Saturday morning) and needless to say that I’m very excited about a hardcover coffee table book that comes out serving as both a tribute to the series and a walk through guide to the production (Seinfeld: Why do they call it a coffee table book ? Do you serve coffee on the book?)of, what else?

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(I’m going to have to find a new copy of this. Mine’s all bashed to hell)

Batman: The Animated Series ( Harper Prism ).It’s chronicled by one of yours ( well, he should be ) and my favorite writers who never lets a Emmy go straight to his head, Paul Dini, along with Chip Kidd. It’s scheduled to released on December 1 and it should be very well worth the wait after the proofs I’ve scoped out at last summer’s Comic Con International. I know I’m living in a dream when I live in a house in Sherman Oaks, a couple of blocks away from where they do the main production. It’s almost like living life under the sun.

A Slight Detour Around the SigAlert Corner of Unhappy and Unhealthy

26 Mar

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Since my last posting, I’ve been fading in and out of questionable choices I’ve made in life, both good and bad. You can be immortal, if you try real hard or at least reach the status of immorality, if you allow your mind to accept the prognosis.

I was willing to accept the good news and the bad news both simultaneously. On the one hand, I was ready to lie down with the greats such as Stan Lee, Harlan Ellison, George Clayton Johnson, even my old mentor Dan Hunt and take a heavier approach to that all forever time share in that all you can sleep buffet in that great casino in the sky.

But a couple of a weeks back, my neurologist out in Burbank told me straight out that I’m in no danger of checking out soon despite my noticeable hypertension of local area celebs dropping dead left and right – such as Jan Michael Vincent and the most shocking of all, Luke Perry – DEAD OF A FUCKING STROKE.

I just can’t get over that last one. That’s absolutely mind-blowing, if you would pardon the pun – it struck me close to home, not only because he was a celebrity that didn’t live far from me in Sherman Oaks, but for the sheer coincidence that my Bells Palsy, that same star-studded subject of my last blog entry, is oddly derived from those same stroke symptoms.

I’m not ready to jump into that story just yet about my scary visit to the doctor.  I want to examine some nasty habits I need to break such as smoking and eating in front of the tv.

It’s been going nutso the past start of the 2018 – 2019 television season that caused me to upgrade my entire entertainment system.

There’s just too much good stuff to keep track of and when I struggle in trying to keep up, I tend to smoke a lot of nasty cigarettes and eat lots of unhealthy snacks hence the 35 pound weight gain.

And what’s worse, I try to cram it all in one weekend along with reading comics books, and listening occasionally to brand new CDs,

The picture featured above is both my pain and pleasure.

Trying to remember, perhaps going back to last Thanksgiving, I was patting myself on the back for finally hunkering down and joining the UHD – TV watching club by purchasing both a 50″ Samsung UHD TV and an Ultra HD Blu Ray player. But I don’t think I said a single solidary word about me breaking down and having to rush out to buy a Roku device to hook up to the system. The reason why I did this was because my new Ultra Blu Ray player wasn’t compatible with my tablet every time I downloaded the DC Universe streaming app. Every time I tried to screen mirror my tablet through the blu ray player, all I got was a blank screen whenever it came time to jack off to old Lynda Carter Wonder Woman episodes (supposedly remastered in glorious HD). When that Roku roared into life after downloading that DC Universe app, boy what a fantastic difference it made. When Wonder Woman appears into amazing Ultra HD, you can almost swear, that the shimmering gleam off of her pantyhose can practically end up blinding you, and if you concentrate real hard, you might catch a wardrobe function or perhaps a wisp of a Lynda Carter’s pubic hair protruding out of her star-spangled bikini wax.

That’s how magically detailed HD TV really is.

Having been in contact with associates of a media measurement website called Parrot Analytics (it’s how I download data on how many people are watching streaming shows) – they tell me that the DC Universe streaming app is major hit. The service practically gets roughly 20 – 45 million hits a week. How many of those are hard-core subscribers (I haven’t considered myself a year subscriber yet, I pay monthly) are undetermined, but there is lot of hit and run lookee-loos who are definitely curious about the live action content of Titans and Doom Patrol, which they seem to have modeled after the Rated R gritty content of the Marvel Netflix style of shows. And with a new version of Swamp Thing and a fairly unknown Stargirl on the way, the subscriber base can only expand further. I also occasionally tune in for the daily talk show, DC Daily, which if you can put aside any harsh feelings for the nepotism of Kevin Smith of getting a job for his daughter as one of the hosts, you can sometimes find some entertainment value, although I’ve seen some of these interviewers before while surfing through a few Pluto TV channels (they must work cheap).

In addition to the 1975 Wonder Woman, you can check out the back catalog of shows made through the years such as The original Flash show made in 1990s and the Adventures of Superman made in the 1990s’, and some of the recent failures that wound up as cult favorites such as Constantine starring Matt Ryan, Birds of Prey, Human Target, along with long forgotten gems like the Aquaman pilot that went under the name of “Mercy Reef” that has wishful aspirations to be a companion show to Smallville. The current “Arrowverse” crop of shows airing on the CW (Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning with iZombie tagging slightly behind), Gotham, Lucifer, and Preacher are not available with the service because they’re still under contract with Netflix. Although, it was just newly announced that “Krypton”, that’s about to debut its’ 2nd season on Syfy has DC Universe taking the streaming rights of the 1st season (now they tell me just after I bought the DVD season set). Now that the service is in full operation and being quite successful with it, I’m beginning to wonder if they’re regretting the deal made between Netflix and Warnermedia to continue on with new seasons of Lucifer. There is also a long-lost library of animated shows galore with entire seasons of Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Legion of Super-Heroes to keep you occupied between new seasons of Young Justice Outsiders and the awaiting with bated breath debut of Harlequin’s new series.

With my anticipation of new Doom Patrol episodes set to premiere on Fridays,  I usually pair it up with Netflix’s other foray into comic book live action properties such as the debut of Umbrella Academy, which is based on a Dark Horse comic book co-created by Gerald Way (who, in his other full-time job is a lead singer of a band called My Chemical Romance – don’t ask me what these young whippersnappers are listening to these day) which sort of slight peck on the check of weirdness like the Doom Patrol. Which is intentionally coincidental, because Gerald has written for the Doom Patrol at DC. So it’s like a Gerald Way double feature every Friday night – and I don’t even know much about the guy!!

My all-purpose Friday night streaming stack also includes shows from Netflix like Travellers and The OA, and a few selections from my Amazon Prime account (Sneaky Pete, Bosch and Patriot) and then I go cram in an hour of reading time of any of many Marvel Omnibuses. Right now I’m working on the two-volume of load of Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. Remember that magazine from the mid-1970’s that featured black & white comic book story adventure of Shang-Chi, Iron Fist, Sons of the Tiger, or Daughters of the Dragon. Flash forward to the present day and they nearly have movie deals or a Netflix series. Although no longer the case with the former. I have a blast reading all those thick tomes, because back then in their original form, I collected them, read them, drooled over all the artwork (including Filipino artist Ruby Nebres, whose nephew, Albert was one of my best friends in my senior class at Parsippany High) and poured over all the articles on Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris – but I didn’t have the high school reading compensation to understand them at a 4th grade level.

However between all that streaming enjoyment and nostalgia fulfillment – I’m always at risk at endangering my health.

Why? Fucking cigarettes. Shoveling popcorn and sugary treats down my throat. A doctor in his office recently just told me literally days ago while we were rapping about family history that my real life father only survives breathing with one lung due to the massive two pack a day of Marlboro reds he used to smoke (according to what my younger brother told me when he grew up with him in Riverside County, California). I told the doctor, I think I’m the smart one, because I only smoke these lousy Special Select lights that Marlboro that requires a lot of air sucking.

Doctor tells me, it doesn’t fucking matter – the type of cigarette doesn’t discriminate cancer. You can get cancer from smoking too many cigarettes period. Moderation or no moderation.

Grandparents on my mom’s side died of complications of bowel cancer, however, my famous grandfather, one of the inventors of Bosco Chocolate Syrup in his heyday and was a traveling baking consultant towards the end of his life , got the bonus lightning round a couple of months after coming back from a visit from Sweden in the late eighties at the same time that Chernobyl blew its stack and was diagnosed with Post Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and he was practically gone in an instant at age 69.

That’s not really grandfather survival material. But both my grandparents on my mom’s smoked multiple packs a and pounded hard liquor like demon fiends.

I swore that I wouldn’t follow in their footsteps.

But the doctor is trying to convince me that I’m wrong – and I need to be tested early.

And so on it goes on to my Saturday morning comic book show runoff and that usually consist of all the random marvel shows like Runaways or Cloak & Dagger and independent fare like Riverdale or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and then break for the afternoon to go do Saturday errands like bank runs, hanging out at malls, go over and pester local comic store clerks like Heather Keneally over at Earth 2 who just got a cushy job writing comics for Lion Forge. No ciggies required there. – but as soon as I get home around 5 or 6 o’clock….

….It’s Saturday night cartoons (Fox Animation on Hulu, Spectrum on demand for which  the most part sucks, Netflix, DC cartoons (Batman, Static Shock, Zeta Project, Young Justice on DC Universe) and I need to smoke at least a half a pack by then. You know why? So I don’t fall asleep, because in some cases, I’m going to be up until 1 or 2 in the morning getting my Cary Coatney cartoon cavalcade rage on.

Up on Sunday Mornings usually by 8 and 9 and boom the CW/DC Arrowverse shows are on – cigarettes, coffee, and oatmeal – preferably steel-cut with blueberries and raspberries. And by this time, I’m psychologically fatigued waiting for May season finales to finally begin to put me out of my misery so I can summer underway with exploring the great outdoors and swimming pissloads of laps at my apartment complex pool. But the Roku is such a good device at streaming these shows on the CW app, that it puts downloading tablet or watching on a iphone to shame.

So after coffee and a couple of cigarettes are consumed approximately around noon I work on comic book related projects and maintain excel spreadsheets for a friend of my brother-in-law’s on his comic book collection that was handed down to him by a client that he did electrical work. One of these clients had a husband who had passed away and left behind boxes upon boxes of Marvel and DC silver age comics numbered into the thousands. So this woman didn’t know what to do with them, so he told my brother in-law’s friend to load them on to his truck and when my brother-in-law got wind of the story, I was contacted to catalog them and we’re supposed to start looking to rent table at local shows to sell them of which I’m supposed to get 20 or 30% of whatever booty that I happen to help unload.

I also try to utilize my training I had at Sony Pictures Television in calculating rating reports on all the comic book genre shows that aired on broadcast, cable and streaming for all my facebook pals and gals. Anytime left over after that, it usually spent on developing comic book plots and synopsis that I still entertain lofty goals of selling to big wig companies. The only caveat that draws the fun out of it is trying to raise the capital to pay lawyers to pitch them for me. On top of that, I’m trying to work an angle of getting a revival of a the final Deposit Man book back on track and I’m probably start making my re-connections with the old gang after I literally post this blog. I already dropped $400 on a cover to be done by local animator and Guns ABlazin’ comic book artist Rafael Navarro. So I might have as well get the party started.

Starting at 6:00 PM on the dot, is what I consider my most important semi-binge of all semi-binge is my consistently revolving Sunday night line up of various TV shows that I try not to include shows based on comic books such as HBO’s The Leftovers and The Deuce, but some comic book shows that I deem too adult like The Walking Dead, The Marvel Netflix shows or Preacher can something slip through the cracks, but mostly I try to watch shows that vary in genre, mixing up a western, a detective show, or a moody character driven drama, but by the time when there’s only fifteen minutes left on the clock and the tension starts to ratchet up in cramming seven one hour shows in six…

I’m outside on the porch having a smoke.

On Sundays I used to live more dangerously by fixing and preparing a huge pasta dinner which always nearly includes pesto and then the rest of evening follows in no particular order: cigarettes, popcorn, cigarettes, coffee and cake, cigarettes.

And does anyone wonder why my blood pressure is topping 150/98?

What the fuck is my problem?

 

For Whom the Bell’s Palsy Tolls, It Tolls For Thee

27 Feb

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It’s not usual for me to write back to back Purple Pinup Guru blogs – UNLESS we’re celebrating Free Comic Book Day- BUT something has to be said about a recent health scare I suffered a few weeks back.

Which of by the date of this posting, I’m not completely out of the woods from this malady I’ve been recently diagnosed with.

I have no doubts that it is completely stress related,  perhaps maybe even in sync with some recent bouts of depression.

I have made no bones that when I have officially embarked on middle-agedom, there was going to be a lot of stigmata attached and that includes a lot of saying goodbye to friends and idols along with the way. Even though I tout as being the master of my own destiny and the happiness I have attained because of my achievement to be exactly where I want to be in life: a gainful position working in the industry that I love best which happens to be in the entertainment industry. So I pat myself on the back of able to earn $1000 bonus, going out to buy brand new HD TVs and blu ray players, affording all the streaming services I can eat, going out on old comic book spending sprees and not missing my favorite prog rock bands whenever they blow through town – but deep down, even as I’m having the time of my life- I’m lamenting a few friends that influenced me to  get me where I am today – at least mentally speaking. Gone is one of my best ever friends, Harry Perzigian. Gone are two writers who have read some of the things I’ve had printed over the years and were kind enough to say nice things about them, particularly George Clayton Johnson & Harlan Ellison. Gone is my former mentor, Dan Hunt, who put me up in his Sherman Oaks home for nearly a decade while he taught me the real value in operating and organizing a comic book store while I pursued in getting my foot in the door at some studios to learn how television ratings work and residuals and royalties are paid. But most recently, I think the unexpected passing of a comic book creator that I’ve known for over twenty years, Batton Lash, the gentlemen creator of the syndicated comic strip, Wolff & Byrd Counselors of the Macabre which I was hoping would be a movie one day. Yeah, that last one really burns me.  Just simply came out of left field. And then there was Chris Squire, the legendary bassist for Yes who died of leukemia. There’s no one I know, who’s gotten over that tragedy.

But this is not really about that. That was just me pondering a question that a medical professional asked me the other day: am I really depressed about anything and that’s how I responded to her inquiry.

What this is truly about IS the scare I put into everybody one Monday morning  a couple of weeks back when I showed up for work.

One look at me and people were worried that I had just suffered a stroke and didn’t know it.

My entire right side of my face all of a sudden without one single iota of warning became paralytic. Words were not coming out of my mouth without it sounding  muffled or mumbled – even though I felt clear and cognate in thought. Both my right side of my eyelid and mouth begin to droop and drool was hard suddenly to keep from leaking out and I had to keep running to the restroom to spit out leftover toothpaste and it wouldn’t come out in a straight line.

My boss insisted on calling an ambulance for me and people in my department were becoming alarmed and scared that I was stroking out because they kept seeing my eyebrow develop a disturbing nervous twitch for no apparent reason. But I wasn’t feeling it and it was hard to form the words in my mouth, that maybe or maybe something unexplained was going on around here.

I flat-out refused a request for an ambulance and my boss insisted on driving me to the Bob Hope Medical Clinic somewhere off of La Brea Ave and that’s where the doctors over there immediately urged me to usher myself  to Burbank to see a neurologist and that’s where he diagnosed me as contracting a case of….

Balls Palsy.

“Balls Palsy? But Doc, what the fuck does that have to do with my own testicles slapping me in the face?”

“Not Balls Palsy, you fucking moron! I said Bell’s Palsy.”, said the doctor chastising me.

Ok, so with that,  I’ll leave you there with that cliffhanger.

So give me a couple of weeks and I’m going to chronicle the whole rigmarole of going through the determination process, the scary blood test I had to take that made me pass out like a fucking babyman, the not so optimistic results of that test (it turns out that Bell’s Palsy is not the only problem I’m suffering from, and this is what I get for walking around Los Angeles thinking that I’m in a certain weight class of immortal, unlike everyone else), the stupid asshole diet I have to be on throughout the spring in order to dropkick 35 pounds, and running into Bruce Timm over at the neighborly House of Secrets, the favorite comic book shop of all fabulous Warner Bros and Disney studio employees before checking in with my neurologist.

So those who have never heard of Bell’s Palsy, here is the Wikipedia rundown. And I caution you – it is not goddamn pretty.

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Bell’s palsy is a type of facial paralysis that results in an inability to control the facial muscles on the affected side (in my case, it’s currently on the right side of my face). Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. They may include muscle twitching, weakness, or total loss of the ability to move one or rarely both sides of the face. Other symptoms include drooping of the eyelid, a change in taste, pain around the ear, and increased sensitivity to sound. Typically symptoms come on over 48 hours. Lingering conditions can cause facial weakness including brain tumor, stroke, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, myasthenia gravis (whatever the fuck that is), and Lyme disease. In minor cases, (and I sure have my fingers crossed that this is a minor case) signs of improvement begin within 14 days with complete recovery within six months. A few may not recover completely or have a recurrence of symptoms.

And that’s just the first paragraph. In the weeks ahead, I will be delving into more research.

Apparently, a lot of famous people such as actors Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Amy Brenneman (whose work I’m currently enjoying on HBO’s The Leftovers), athletes such as Trenton Hasell & Tom Seaver, and Green Party politician Ralph Nader along with scores of others have all suffered at one point or another unexpected bouts with Bell’s Palsy and they’re still around and kicking.

So I guess it’s an honor for me to be in such distinguished company.

 

From High Atop Thunder Prog Review Mountain

25 Feb

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Usually at this time of the year, I’m gathering review data for all the quarterly Nielsen sweep periods as it pertains to all the shows that originated from comic books. However, all of those data gathering bureaus such as ZapitTV and Showbuzz are not really caring anymore to post that kind of data. Everything is streaming this, streaming that and the numbers in the long run are longer fretted about

So I’m going to come up with some alternative subjects to talk about.

Well, haven’t really said one thing or iota about my last year’s progressive rock purchases. Unfortunately, last year I didn’t go out on too many spending sprees to overindulged on new music as I used to in previous years

So we’ll get right down to it. I do apologize in advance for my deep bias of cajoling the K-Scope Music label (which is celebrating its landmark 10th anniversary this year) where most of the new releases I purchased appear on. But that’s how life goes these days.

Riverside The Wasteland (see image above – Insideout Music). I have to confess that this was the absolute hands down album that tugged at my heartstrings throughout the latter half of 2018. Maybe you’ve seen my nod to the passing of Polish guitarist Piotr Grudzinski a couple of years back and my acknowledgment to the sorrow of his loss. No one knew if the band planned on whether they were going to continue without him and shortly after the release of 2015’s Love, Fear, and the Time Machine, and the all instrument experimental Eye of the Soundscape released post-mortem the following year. To this day, the band has not officially released a statement as to the cause of his death.

The decision was made on this latest release to forge ahead as a trio (with a spare guitarist to come help out with the tours) and I think it’s generous of the band towards their fans to keep stoking the creative fire. Certainly bands like Led Zeppelin didn’t carry on to bother with a replacement after the death of their prominent member, John Bonham. What Riverside symbolizes to me in this release of dark spiritual tributes such as the gut wrenching Lament, the proclamation of atonement in the short sweet “Vale of Tears” and the Rush/King Crimson influenced exercising jam of “The Struggle of Survival” is the inseparable bond of brotherhood and that’s the definite revolving theme of this album in the dealing and carrying on of loss. And by the time the end rolls around and the tinkering piano sonata of “The Night Before” with its ode to a fallen comrade doesn’t bring a faint tear to your eye, then you’re just trapped in that bullshit commercial syrupy suicide world of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to forever linger in abstract obscurity.

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The Pineapple Thief  Dissolution (Kscope Music) is the 2nd studio album to feature former Porcupine Tree and current King Crimson tour drummer Gavin Harrison and their 12th overall. (also blu ray Where We Stood) Dissolution comes off sounding a little bit like a sequel to the previous 2016 album, Your Wilderness in which Harrison was credited as guest star. But a smash hit selling concert tour can do strange things to an accomplished season progressive rock drummer – it can make him want to become a permanent member, and with this new release Harrison passes from one PT to another PT. I say Dissolution acts like a sequel before the format of the songs are sort set up the same way: you have tight punchy indie rock singles like “All That You’ve Got” that is similar in guitar shredding style to Your Wilderness’s “Take Your Shot“, the keen percussive expertise focus of  Harrison’s abilities on Your Wilderness “In Exile” echoes the same sentiment on Dissolution’s “Threatening War“. Ditto on the structure of ballads and both this newest effort and past accumulates in 10 minute plus epics of  “The Final Thing on Your Mind” (Your Wilderness) and “White Mist” (Dissolution). The only monkey wrench that deviates from the structure of both albums is Bruce Soord’s choice of throwing in a few two-minute vignettes such as the piano tweaked opening of “Not Naming Any Names” and an acoustic coffee-house number called “Pillar of Salt”. So to basically sum it up: it’s more of the same.  But then again, when it comes to the Pineapple Thief,  I happen to love more of the same.

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Gazpacho Soyuz. (Kscope Music) There is barely a Gazpacho album that I’ve listened to since 2009’s Tick Tock that I ever shown disappointment with the rare exception of 2012’s March of Ghosts. Gazpacho usually tackles unique subject matter that go into the creation of their concept albums. 2009’s Tick Tock was a monumental journey of survival walking across desert, 2011’s Missa Atropos was a reflection of isolation in a lighthouse, 2014’s Demon was a testament of buried family secrets, erstwhile their last studio effort before this one was the horrid wait for the end of the world that may have been encoded by scientists by a freshly discovered binary sequence- so there is no reason why Soyuz chronicling the final odyssey of a failed Cold War era Russian space mission that leaves others frozen in time and unable to capture time to savior for later shouldn’t be in your collection. There’s a lot of variety this time around for the amazing Norwegians (which I previously profiled here). The perfect ambiance of the title track, the nod to Coldplay on the single “Hypomania“,  a song called “Emperor Bespoke while other than being a tribute to Han Christen Anderson could easily be a song that a reunited Peter Gabriel era led Genesis could’ve composed and have it all climax in an epic 15 minute journey of themes  explored earlier in the title track entitled “Soyuz Out” that could one day replace the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s2001: A Space Odyssey.” It was a mid-year release that proved to be so riveting, that I had to get my keyboards out of mothballs to figure out keyboardist Thomas Andersen’s beautifully haunted melodies.

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3.2 – The Rules Have Changed (Frontier Records) – Just as I own a hidden cache of Harry Perzigian demos including a trio of songs written with John Wetton, former 3 frontman and principal songwriter, Robert Berry was secretly working on a set of demos with the late Keith Emerson in a project that hopefully would revitalize the band known in the late 1980s as 3 (a.k.a. ELB or ELP – Lite), but Emerson was heavily considering a name change to 1 if Carl Palmer couldn’t commit due to his duties with Asia. Back in 1988, the trio’s only Geffen Records release. To The Power of Three did achieve good word of mouth had them selling out small venues and clubs (I remember seeing them at a small club at a shopping center in San Diego called the Bacchanal and I still have the t-shirt tucked away somewhere that each member signed the back of to prove it) with their power pop repertoire, scattered ELP classics, and some real respectable covers such as their frantic high-octane version of The Byrd’sEight Miles High“. Some of the themes and motifs introduced on that album some thirty years back resurface here, even down to the recovery of old Roland D-50 digital synthesizer patches. The instrumental passages in this rather 45 minute long short gathering are more braver and adventuresome than their previous effort (lots of Latin fusion, jazz piano, Celtic, and funeral dirge marches to enjoy throughout) and Emerson is credited with the writing of four songs ( One By One, Powerful Man, the hard rocking Somebody’s Watching, and Your Mark on the World)
based on keyboard ideas submitted via cassette tape or e-mail by Emerson to Berry, but it’s Berry who mind-blowing plays each and every instrument. Although the final product songs may sound and come off as a tribute to Emerson, Berry lets us know in the liner notes that some of the songs titles did come from Emerson himself. Berry also pays tribute to another fellow progressive rock playing colleague of his who lost his life to suicide by the name of Trent Gardner, architects of the San Jose area studio based band, Magellan on this album’s title track.

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Lunatic Soul – Under The Fragmented Sky (Kscope Music) is way too short and much more melancholy as compared to Duda’s previous outings but the opening experimental track of He Av En (sound it out loud, you’ll eventually get it) gave me such a rush of nostalgia of harkened memories of the times when I used to hang out with a group of engineers out in North San Diego County and go absolute bonkers with samplers and vocoders. Lunatic Soul is also the brainchild of Riverside’s lead singer and bass player Mariusz Duda when he wants to go off and experiment on his own. It seems Mariusz is centralized on going through the harsh rigors of vocoders as it seems to recur throughout three tracks of this album. In past Lunatic Soul (this being the fifth in the series) album Mariusz evened out between actual normal structured songs and exploring his avant-garde side. This effort seems to be a lot diddle dallying in the studio with shapes and atmospheres, rather than delivering a great collection of songs – but it does ends on two great fantastic tracks. ‘The Art of Repairing” and the wonderful ballad ending of “Untamed“.

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Iamthemorning Ocean Sounds (Kscope Music – DVD/blu Ray)  is the third release from the acoustic leaning progressive chamber duo hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia. In a sense, it’s a do-over of songs from the previous two albums while working out the blueprints of material headed for the new fourth album. So essentially, it’s a work in progress in a sort of Hugh Hefner Playboy Jazz Club atmospheric setting out in some a serene remote recording studio out on the Black Sea shores of Norway where you’re sharing the same intimate ideas and thoughts that go into the process of singer watercolor lyricist Marajana Semkina and mind blowing’ pianist Gelb Kolyadin’s craft of songwriting. It’s taken me quite a while to get my hands on any of iamthemorning’s Kscope releases (not everything is easily attainable in the U.S. as I’m easily baffled that I still have not come across any of Paul Draper’s solo albums or any of his alt-rock alma mater, Mansun in the much ballyhooed indie records out in Los Angeles). So luckily turned in a used copy of their first album Belighted, released nearly five years ago. So when I came upon this new blu ray disc. I would assume that it must have been special ordered for someone who didn’t bother to pick it up. My roommate who watched at the least the first half with me was immensely mesmerized by Gelb’s impromptu piano flourishes and mastery of scales and remarking that the realization has dawned that ex-Yes keyboardist Igor Khoroshev isn’t the only Russian rock keyboardist that kicks ass and how does this petite Russian girl have such command of perfect English diction? Regardless, the duo entices the listener to invoke memories of the early Canterbury scene which was the offshoot of progressive rock in the early seventies that got folk singers and performers to get into the act such as the legendary Fairport Convention. And that’s a good thing.

I also enjoyed watching the concert souvenir of Steven Wilson’s concert Blu-ray, “Home Invasion” which I think I already mentioned before.

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Jeff Lynne’s ELOWembley or Bust  Blu-Ray (Columbia/Sony Music) I fucked up my chances to see the newly reformed ELO led by Jeff Lynne when they passed through Los Angeles last summer, so I settled on getting the next best thing. And boy, what a treat it is. Electric Light Orchestra was perhaps the second live concert I ever saw in my life back in 1978 back when I tried to permanently move to Orange County over at Anaheim Stadium (I was on the bus back to New Jersey within a few days)  of songs selected range from their cult beginnings up to the superstar status of “A New World Record” “Out of The Blue”, “Discovery”, “Time” to Lynne’s current mediocre efforts (I keep saying Jeff, you need Richard Tandy to get back in the game with you. You’ll save so much money trying to pay five keyboard players to tour with you – but I appreciate the nod of mentioning Tandy’s health in decline). The blu ray package is visually stunning, as it acutely makes me pine that I never went to that area of London to check out that arena. (but hey, when I was in London twenty somewhat odd years old – I did manage to count all the holes in the Albert Hall). The people, the atmosphere, the camaraderie of strangers just dancing with each other in the aisles (even event security people get into the act) is as near to euphoria as one is luckily to get. And the band ain’t that quite bad either.

 

LOST CARTOON LEGEND HAS IT

30 Jan

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There are bucket lists AND there is cartoon bucket lists to accomplish before you shuffle off this hand painted mortal animation celluloid plane of existence. Mostly, it’s trying not to leave with matters totally unresolved, like you were rudely interrupted in mid-conversation on a sugary sweet cereal filled Saturday Morning. Which is exactly what I felt when “The Legend of Calamity Jane” first aired on The Kids WB’s Saturday morning block  (now The CW) early in the fall of 1997.

And then it disappeared 3 weeks after its’ debut, leaving 10 episodes unaired.

Why, may you ask??

Well, cartoon legend has it that it was pulled due to concerned citizens that the show glorified gun violence and therefore, Superman The Animated Series episodes had to be aired in its’ place. As if slugfest between super heroes and super villains solved everything. Maybe if the CW at the time didn’t promote it heavily, it wouldn’t have arisen the scrutiny of concerned parent groups. Also, another mysterious ailment had cursed the show: famed actress Jennifer Jason Leigh was originally casted as the title character, but bowed out two weeks before the show was set to debut and had the parts she already recorded scrubbed and was replaced by Barbara Scaff (one of her recent roles was some voice work for the movie Valerian and The City of Thousand Planets – a movie I thoroughly enjoyed saying at the risk of having an avalanche of Chuck Jones styled anvils dropped on my head). No one knows the reason: maybe it was a contract dispute or maybe somebody from some advocacy group approached her threatening some type of legal action if she went through finishing her performances. Nonetheless, during the promotion of the series to draw in the little boys and girls (and big kids like me), Leigh’s voice was used in the commercials leading up to the series premiere.

This isn’t the first time that animation shows have gotten lost or cancelled. There was a rare exception to the rule when CBS once aired an animated show based on a Kitchen Sink comic book called Xenozoic Tales that was retitled Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (to make it more kid accessible, no doubt) and it mysteriously disappeared before finishing its’ initial 13 episode run. People have told me over the years that it had indeed finished it’s run – just not on the West Coast.   It simply got preempted on the West Coast in place of NFL Football. But if there were truly the case, then why aren’t there any episodes to be found in English up on youtube? All the episodes I could find remaining of the series were dubbed in Spanish!! Anyway, bootleggers out here on the West Coast who occupy plenty of local comic book shows are always on the hunt for a complete season run and have offered me a nice cash pittance if I hand over copies of episodes that I have randomly taped.

The same could be said about The Legend of Calamity Jane, that if you search hard enough, you can access all the episodes on youtube of old Canadian broadcasts (thank the magic goodness of VCRs back in the day) with the exception of one or two episodes which are readily available and recovered through Swedish dubbed versions. Although personally, I haven’t time to add it to my Cary Coatney cartoon cavalcade list due to all the new Netflix, Fox Animation, and cartoons I’m already grabbing off the DC Universe Streaming app that includes the new season of Young Justice. But it’s something I’m thinking of getting into once everything goes on hiatus.

So in case, you haven’t already surmised by the title, “The Legend of Calamity Jane” is by no doubt the fictionalized version of historical frontierswoman and female gunslinger Martha Jane Canary who also went by the legendary alias of Calamity Jane back in the rootin’ tootin’ days of the wild west. Along the coarse of the thirteen episodes, she matches wits with Wild Bill Hickok (voiced by Clancy Brown) and philosophical Native American Quanna Parker (voiced by Michael Horse). There’s also  a very controversial episode that I’m ready looking forward to seeing that has Calamity Jane in possible conflict with President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

What attracts me most to the series is that the style of the show is sort reminiscent of the old sixties cartoon shorts of The Lone Ranger and Tonto (which I’m certain will be deserving of its’ own blog someday, if I ever come across a good streaming run) that were produced in Australia that I used to watch as a toddler. They imported to America and lasted for three seasons on CBS from 1966 – 1969.

A decade or so ago, when I was posting a weekly blog up on myspace page, I had investigated two other shows rumored in development. Both harkened back to the 1960’s  when Filmation Animation studio out in Reseda made an attempt on making DC Comics’ Metamorpho, The Element Man into a household cleaner word (i.e.; his body makeup is purely chemical, get it?) after they had great success into making Aquaman a Saturday morning cartoon darling. I got into a big beef one time with Garfield and Friends producer, Mark Evanier claiming that there absolutely no episodes ever produced, but I had heard from a different source that six episodes were actually produced – including a pilot, but they all got scrapped at the last-minute because Filmation was successful in landing the rights to produce an animated version of Batman after ABC had canceled the live series. Not only were plans tossed aside for a second proposed season of Aquaman/Superman Power Hour, but also all new rotation supplemental adventures of Blackhawk, B’wanna Beast, Wonder Woman, and new shorts featuring The Flash never reached past the development stage ( were the character model sheets ever produced, I wonder?) – but at least throughout the television piloting stages, Rex Mason (aka Metamorpho) got a record deal out of it gifting us with this hit single:

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Also going back a few years in my Jonny Quest blog entry found here I also rubbed Evanier the wrong way when I heard about that Hanna Barbara once gave the go ahead signal to Space Ghost creator Alex Toth to totally model prehistoric Saturday morning super-hero Mighty Mightor with a club after they had failed to obtain the rights to Marvel’s Mighty Thor to piggyback onto their newly acquired rights to make a Fantastic Four series. But you can’t win ’em all, right? Thor was eventually bought out by Canadian company, Grantry-Lawrence Animation and was made part of the Marvel Super Heroes roster that aired Monday through Friday as syndicated strips joining his fellow colleagues, The Sub-Mariner, Captain America, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk in all of their xerographic glory.

The Legend of Calamity Jane was a product of France made available through distributors Canal + and France 2.  France 2 was also responsible for the CGI animation on the Iron Man Armored Adventures animated series that used be shown out here on Nickelodeon (an animation studio in France called Moonscoop was producing Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes – another Marvel property at roughly the same period a decade ago before Marvel was setting up an animation studio of their own. A handful of episodes were first broadcast on Cartoon Network and then into the wee hours of the mornings on Toonami, while the majority of the series run went limping onto a dvd collected set). Canal + is part of a large media conglomerate owned by Vivendi and is headquartered in Paris, much like how Turner Broadcasting practically controls the world.

As more and more animated content of all your cartoon favs become easier and easier to fit as a gigabyte in a streaming app, I’ll be there on the scene blogging the hell out of it. In fact, just the other day, I came across an app on my Roku device offering me a chance to download the complete series of Clutch Cargo in all its pristine syncro-vox glory. All 260 episodes, in fact. And furthermore….

We’ll leave it right there.

Next: the best in Prog 2018.

 

Just a Few of Cary Coatney’s Favorite Things (and not so Favorite)

22 Jan

664578__sx360_ql80_ttd_I thought perhaps I would blog about something fun this time around – the good things that I enjoyed in 2018 and a few of the disappointments I suffered as a whole. Not that 2018’s posting output was entirely abysmal and dreadful, but there were a few that weren’t mentioned that should have made the honor roll.

So, here’s a list of things I didn’t get around to talking about last year:

my favorite comic book of 2018 was two hulk fists down:  The Immortal Hulk.

The Immortal Hulk by writer Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett is as close to the perfect love letter to the two legendary tremendous talents we lost last year:  Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. When the only way you can bring out the ‘ol Jadejaws is by Bruce Banner committing gamma bombarded ray hari kari , then you got a death-defying (that’s a guaranteed prone to failure) unique approach to an old favorite.

The  Aquaman/Justice League team up crossover, “Drowned Earth” was a satisfying appetizer to the main surf and turf of the much-anticipated blockbuster Aquaman.

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The Marvel Master of Kung Fu omnibuses (4 volumes) were a great nostalgic read and I still have two volumes of the collected Deadly Hands of Kung Fu left to go. I never thought I’d lived to see the day when I would one day own a pristine hardcover collection of all 36 issues and an annual special of all the Marvel Martial Art influenced superheroes. Back in my middle school and high school years, my Marvel black and white magazine was all the rage to sneak in between your school books and a more pleasant alternative than listening to Ms. Uberto drone on and on about the Magna Carta in Social Studies class, when a nice issue of Savage Sword of Conan or A Planet of The Apes would rather do nicely. In the mighty Marvel black and white manner, you were treated to more salaciousness than a regular superhero color comic. But for some reason, the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu didn’t really grab my attention unless some of the material was reprinted in color treasury editions. I wish that wasn’t the case today, because I just noticed that some of the Iron Fist tales in these two volumes were penciled and inked by Ruby Nebres. I don’t know if he’s still around these days, but I used to run into him occasionally at a house located behind Parsippany High School where I used to hang with his nephew Albert when we were classmates in drama class and he used to show us pages of art from yet unpublished Savage Sword of Conan issues (which is due for an omnibus edition this very month). Man, were those cool!!

Anyway, I was reading last week in one of the introductions written by editor Tony Isabella how he remembers how much of a pain in the ass, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu was to put out and people in the martial arts business really took some of the filler material such as interviews with movie actors, producers, and directors was on equal par with conversations with actual real life dojo instructors. Tony reminiscences about a time when the DHOKF editorial offices got flooded with a series of death threats from people operating an actual dojo in Manhattan who took umbrage about interviewing their rivals from across the streets and they were going to send someone to the offices to help take care of the problem.

I heard that the great homage to the old black and white Warren Magazine horror anthologies called “The Creeps” is now going bi-monthly.  I usually see and chat with one of the writers on that title by the name of Don Glut. I’ve known Don for many years when I used to attend industry networking seminars with him. Don was legendary back in the day when he would write many Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends episodes, the movie novelization of both Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi, amongst other tv shows and classic Ruby Spears cartoons. Don Glut got his start writing loads and loads of sixties and seventies era Gold Key Comic Book such as Doctor Spektor and Mighty Samson, as well as being one of the jump aboard creator of some of the original Eerie and Creepy short stories for the Warren Magazine. So this is a giant comeback for Don (as if he had really gone away) and his stories today are still as sharp as a werewolf’s fang.

Is Namor, The Sub-Mariner slated to make a big splashy comeback now that Aquaman has stolen his great cinematic under the sea thunder? Namor is featured in two new titles shipping from Marvel this January: Marvel Comics Presents Volume 2 # 1 where he shares the spotlight with new tales featuring Captain America & The Wolverine, AND in a new revitalization of The Invaders (which was a favorite title of mine in the mid-seventies) that has Cap, Subby, The Human Torch and Bucky (now the Winter Soldier) taking on new world threats and each other updated for the hipster and millennial generation who long for see Trump rotting away in a Russian gulag.

Favorite prog rock albums Riverside Wasteland, The Pineapple Thief Dissolution, and Gazpacho Souyz. Steven Wilson Home Invasion was my favorite concert blu ray.

Listening to and watching old Gentle Giant concerts on youtube has suddenly become on my favorite past times. I’ll be writing more about the best in 2018 sometime next month.

Favorite movies, The Mule, Green Book, Aquaman, Black Panther, Avengers Infinity War. Didn’t even bother with The Girl in The Spider’s Web. Not particularly blown over by the trailer advertising the upcoming Shazam novel. I thought we were supposed to evolve beyond the petty chessy low budgeted Saturday Morning Filmation live action fare?

Favorite tv shows. Netflix’s Marvel Knights streaming show universe is coming to an end. Enjoyed the new seasons of Westworld, The Expanse, The Alienist, and the Americans. Looking forward to Umbrella Academy and the final season of Marvel’s The Punisher (which surprisingly dropped last Friday without really any advance warning)  & Jessica Jones. I also upped my game by adding Amazon Prime Video to my great 4k Ultra TV streaming fix so I can be ready for the 2nd Season of The Tick AND a whole slew of shows based on other comic books with Garth Ennis’ The Boys leading the charge. I’ll also be on board for the adaptation of the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pritchard novel Good Omens when that debuts.

DC Streaming Service. My roommates rooted for The Titans. I went strictly on board for the new Young Justice series. Fingers crossed that Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing work out well for the service. My pet peeve so far is having the service being compatible with my devices and screenmirroring it through my tablet to my Blu-ray player doesn’t always provide the best optical performance.

Shit I didn’t particularly care for:

No new Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman studio album of new material. I guess they’re just slated to go The Moody Blues route. Playing the same set of songs to ad infinitum until they keel over on stage. I saw around four Moody Blues tours in a row until I realized with the exception of showcasing two new songs, it’s the same exact songs and the exact same order in which they’re played.

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On the morning of January 12th, self publisher giant Batton Lash passed away. NOT A great way to start off my 55th birthday.  Perhaps the average Purple Pinup Guru blog reading lookie loo wouldn’t know Batton from instantly recognizable industry professional giants such as Neal Adams or Rob “super lightbox tracer” Liefeld, but I always looked up to Batton as an independent creator extraordinaire amongst the gravitas of a Jeff Smith (Bone) or a Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise). Batton and his wife Jackie Estrada were there in the beginning for me when I had some semblance of carte blanche in the comic book biz going far back as a quarter of a century when I was a little wet-nosed punk working the pro registration desk at Comic Con International and the APE (Alternative Press Expo) shows up in San Francisco and San Jose all through the times when I writing PR and prose pieces for the souvenir book and Comics’ Buyer’s Guide, my retailer days in North Hollywood carrying their Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre comic books (2 copies were ordered every month without fail) later retitled Supernatural Law to the occasion of finding myself winging it with them at party functions at cons or local LA are signing events where every independent comic book creator was hawking their wares , including myself with my Deposit Man series. Batton was always one to give sage advice about the world of self-publishing. He was part of the gang I tend to gravitate towards. Regrettably my final words with him was a few weeks ago on a facebook post informing him what I thought about a Deadline: Hollywood post reporting that CBS is currently shooting a pilot called Bodin with a synopsis that it’s about lawyers in a haunted law firm who seek legal advice from ghosts.

What a blatant rip-off. Sorry, but I know Jackie and Bat were up in Los Angeles from San Diego enough times to pitch Wolff and Byrd as a potential television series through Universal. They had a development deal in place. Enough people were around to wine and dine them to know who they were and what their properties consisted of.

Batton kept the usual vampires, werewolves, witches and warlocks at bay by having to retain lawyers in order to fight their legal battles (with aid from their secretary, Mavis) for more than seventy issues, some collected in several paperbacks, which I was forced to take on after I could no longer keep up with their floppy schedules. Batton also produced comics for other publishers. His most notable work outside his own self published ventures was a cross-over between Archie and Marvel’s The Punisher released sometime in 1994 and a good handful of The Simpsons stories for Bongo Comics.

Next: More shit I hated about 2018.