Monday, November 19, 2012
THE SECRET ORIGIN OF THE FLASH
booklets packaged with undoubtedly delicious candy and sold by the
Leaf Candy Company as “Comicbook Candy.” As previously noted, the
16-page booklets consist of a cover, 14 pages of story and a back
cover advertisement for a DC Super Heroes Collector Album. The
miniature comics are 4-1/4" tall and 2-3/4" wide. A photo of the
display box from which this 1980 product was sold can be
seen at the head of last Friday’s bloggy thing.
The Grand Comics Database has indexed these booklets. Because of
that, we know a lot about them. But not everything.
According to the GCD, Dick Giordano confirmed he was the inker
of The Secret Origin of the Flash cover and he suspected he penciled
it from a layout by Carmine Infantino. Someone at the GCD opined
“it also seems to have a Curt Swan look” and mentioned the Captain
Cold figure. I’m not seeing Swan there, but I do have an alternate
theory as to the layout artist.
I’m getting a “sense” of Ross Andru in these cover layouts. Andru
was a DC editor from 1978 to 1986. He drew covers for several DC
titles during this period and, if I recall correctly, also designed
covers for other artists. As always, I welcome information on this
and other credits for these booklets.
In a comment to this bloggy thing, Bob Rozakis believes he was the
writer on this and the Wonder Woman booklet. If he’s correct - and
I’ve no reason to doubt him - then he can take pride in a job well
done. This is a terrific recap of the Flash’s origin that includes
Barry Allen’s love of the Flash comics the police scientist read as
a kid and still enjoyed as an adult. It also devotes three pages
to the Flash’s battles with his colorful Rogues Gallery and shows
Turtle Man, Trickster, Mirror Master, Captain Cold and Heat Wave.
Don Heck penciled this Flash origin and it sure looks to me as if
he also inked it. Heck was always his own best inker and that’s one
of the reasons I consider this the best of the booklets. The art
is exciting and tells the story exceedingly well.
As with previously discussed booklets, the GCD believes Joe Orlando
was the editor of this one. It offers no credit opinion as to the
letterer and colorist. I’m open to suggestions.
The secret origin of Green Lantern is on tap for tomorrow.
I’m continuing my weekly movie nights, though, most recently, I was
the only one in our home “theater.” These movie nights consist of
a Three Stooges short, a Bugs Bunny or other Warner Bros. cartoon,
a chapter of a serial, and a feature film.
Over the past two weeks, the Three Stooges shorts have been "Men in
Black” and "Three Little Pigskins,” both from 1934. The former is
a spoof of Men in White, a Clark Gable/Myrna Loy drama from the
same year. Says Wikipedia: “Because of the suggested illicit
romance and the suggested abortion in [Men in White], it was
frequently cut. The Legion of Decency cited the movie as unfit for
public exhibition.” Now there’s comedy gold for you.
“Men in Black” has lots of wild verbal and visual gags. Repartee
with nurses, particularly one squeaky-voiced nurse, are moderately
amusing, but I preferred the visual gags of the boys racing from
patient to patient via go-carts and other odd means. This is the
short that coined the famous line "Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor
Fine, Doctor Howard" and also the only time the Stooges would be
nominated for an Oscar (Best Short Subject - Comedy).
In “Three Little Pigskins,” the Stooges are mistaken for a trio of
college football stars and hired by a gangster team owner for a
professional game in which he’s bet a large sum of money. This one
bounces from setting to setting without much success, but it does
have an early performance by Lucille Ball.
Superman (1948) is the serial I’m watching and it’s great fun. I
especially like Kirk Alyn’s portrayal of Superman and Clark Kent,
and, of course, my beloved Noel Neill as Lois Lane. Neill can be
funny one moment and feisty as heck in the next, sometimes within
the same moment. I get a kick out of Carol Forman as the evening
gown-clad Spider Lady, but her acting ability is limited.
The two Bugs Bunny cartoons are also from 1948: “Long-Haired Hare”
and “High Diving Hare.” The former pits Bugs against opera singer
Giovanni Jones and didn’t do much for me, but the latter, which I
hadn’t seen before, is terrific.
In “High Diving Hare,” Bugs is the barker and host of a vaudeville
show whose main attraction is a high-dive. This act is what brings
the cantankerous Yosemite Sam to the show. But, when the star of
that act is delayed, Sam insists - at gunpoint - that Bugs fills in
for said star. Hilarity ensues. You can guess who ends up taking
the high dive again and again and again.
Daughter Kelly was home from college for the earlier of these two
movie nights, so she got to pick the movie. I can only assume her brain
has been damaged by too much studying because she chose That's My Boy
(2012) starring Adam Sandler and Adam Samberg. But Kelly did have
the good sense to fall asleep during the movie.
Sandler plays Donny Berger, who became a “pop-culture icon” after
his middle-school teacher was convicted for having sex with him on
many loud and uncomfortable occasions. Facing jail for not paying
his taxes, the adult Berger tries to reconnect with his son by the
teacher in hopes of getting his son (Samberg) to appear with him on
a televised reunion with the still-jailed teacher.
This is a terrible movie. It’s like Sandler wants to win even more
Golden Raspberry awards. The film attempts to deliver laughs from
hilarious topics like pedophilia, statutory rape and incest. The
only fun thing about it is that the teacher is played by Susan
Sarandon and, in the flashbacks, by Sarandon’s real-life daughter,
Eva Amurri Martino. Otherwise...ewwwwww!
I did only slightly better with my feature film choice for my solo
movie night. Having read about the film in The Otaku Encyclopedia,
I requested and got Love & Pop (1998) from my local library system.
It’s a live-action, sub-titled movie from Japan.
I’ll let Wikipedia describe it:
The film follows four Japanese high school girls who engage in enjo
ko-sai, or compensated dating. This is a practice in Japan where
older businessmen pay teenage girls more commonly to simply spend
time with them, or rarely for prostitution. The movie is also a
coming-of-age story. The main character, Hiromi, does not have the
direction in life that her friends already have. Hiromi's friends
were going to buy Hiromi a ring, but Hiromi refuses to take all the
money because she does not want her friends to be jealous. Hiromi
goes on dates by herself to get money for the ring. Soon, she gets
in over her head. Hiromi falls too far into the world of enjo-kosai
as she tries to hold onto a "friends forever" vision of the past.
I have a great interest in frequently odd aspects of the Japanese
modern culture, even when I find those aspects disturbing. Love &
Joy falls into the disturbing category. It is often tedious with
artsy-fartsy camera work that adds to the tedium. It didn’t really
add to my limited knowledge of compensated dating, but, on what I
guess I could call the plus side, it didn’t eradicate my interest
in the subject. Hopefully, I’ll eventually find another movie or
book or manga that will teach me more.
What I am really enjoying at these movie nights. I’m delighted I
have been able to make time for them four weeks in a row and hope
to keep up that pace. Even though the upcoming holidays will make
That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella