Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Veronica" #202 at Borders!

So, I finally broke down and bought a copy of "Veronica" #202 which came out bout three weeks ago in comic book stores and was a sell out. The newsstand copies are now out and I found a couple copies at my local Borders store, so I picked them up for me and a friend.

If you aren't aware, this is the issue that introduces Archie's first openly gay character, Kevin Keller. (Sorry, Jughead doesn't count.)

The sell out has made Archie Publications create their first second printing on a comic book in the company's history. Such second printings are commonplace for the likes of Marvel and DC who have done numerous second prints over the years for things like the death of Captain America and Superman, but this is a first for Archie.

Anyway, for those wanting the first print, check your Borders or Barnes and Noble, or be prepared to pay a premium on Ebay.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Woo-Hoo! My Blog Broke 100!

Readership is up on my blog and on September 27, 2010, I broke 100 visitors in a single day with 101 unique views!!!

This month is also a record with over 1800 visitors so far, so thank you all my loyal and new readers!!!

More Smothers Brothers!!! does it again. They are now issuing "Think Ethnic" on CD. I was going to order a copy of this elusive, exclusive CD, but there were no order buttons on the website.

I got a man on the line and asked him about this and other Smothers issues. He said he's currently working on "Mom Always Liked You Best", and that that would be it as far as Smothers reissues were concerned. I was disappointed.

"What about "American History"? My favorite Smothers album?" I asked.

"Does that exist?" came the response.

I explained that "American History" was one of the funniest ones with Tommy's description of various events of history in his typical style and it had the classic "Mediocre Fred" on it.

The man said that he could definitely get that one out. I asked about other releases, but he says the likelihood of "Smothers Brothers Play it Straight" and Dick Smothers solo album are unlikely to come out since they are basically non-comedy. "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" couldn't come out due to it being TV soundtracks. Fortunately, Smothers DVDs have come out, negating the need for this CD.

I also asked about "Golden Hits, Vol. 2" and he said that this one might be more difficult as it was a compilation. I explained it was a compilation of new performances, but he still wasn't sure. Fortunately, a lot of tracks from this release are already on "Sibling Revelry".

So, I will take credit that I helped the man remember "American History"....

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Looney Tunes Treasury"

I've got to get my hands on this book. It's written by my good friend, Andrew Farago of Cartoon Art Museum fame! I've only seen the cover and I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I take exception here. If the cover's this good, it's got to be better inside!

Hopefully, I'm correct...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Book

My "Cracked" book may not be ready until February, but you can buy this "" book starting in December. It's the first "Cracked" anything in print since they ceased publishing the three-issue "Maxim"-type series in 2007.

New Casper Greeting Card!

Every Halloween I search for something new with Casper on it, because I feel that he's the most natural Harvey character to have out every Halloween. For the past few years, my search has been in vain, although they did have a few puzzles out a couple years ago.

This year I found a Halloween greeting card at Target for only $2.99. Here is the card with the envelope. The inside of the card reads: "Because you are so loved, and so special, that's why! Happy Halloween". It's from Carlton Cards.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Political Humor

Ever since Obama got in there, I've pretty much refrained from taking any political stance in my blog, because it's business as usual for me, which means no comments at all. Bush, Jr. has been the ONLY political figure in my lifetime that has really pissed me off on the way he has done things. A close second was former California Governor Pete Wilson, but I didn't have a blog then to vent.

I am making a happy exception here. For those who don't know, Arnold Schwarzenegger's two terms as Governor of California are finally at an end. He was basically useless as a Governor. So, now we are faced with two new choices, Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown.

Brown was Governor before and he was essentially harmless, but more effective than Schwarzenegger and Wilson, so he earns my vote, not necessarily for what he can do, but because he's a better choice than Meg Whitman for one solid reason.

Whitman has spent millions of dollars of her own money in order to become Governor. In her campaign, she cries that she will fix all of these problems with California, yet continues to spend, spend, spend.

A better solution for Whitman would have been to spend the same amount of money and give it directly to the people that she is purporting to want to help once she becomes Governor, like teachers. She could have been viewed as a great philanthropist, but her incomprehensible need to be a leader, has shown me that if she can't manage her own money, how is she expected to manage mine?

Whitman's big strong point is that she led Ebay to be what it is today. The problem with her statement is that she basically did nothing. Ebay was already on the upswing before she came along, so all she really did was hire more staff, and I'm sure she didn't do it, directly. She most assuredly delegated this work.

Also, she hasn't voted in 28 years, so her knowledge of what's going on is not very good. And, her early ads made her sound like a Democrat, until her handlers told her about this, and then suddenly her ads changed to sound more Republican with stronger restrictions to immigrants and for welfare recipients.

She does have her followers, however, and this old "Richie Rich" panel which was modified by my friend Richard, kind of shows what's happening.

The funniest thing is that Brown has only started to spend recently. Yet while he wasn't spending and Whitman was overspending, they were still neck-a-neck...

Is This the New Al Jaffee Book?

Flipped through but haven't officially purchased the new Al Jaffee book, entitled "Al Jaffee's Mad Life". It's still sitting in my saver at Lee's Comics, but I will be purchasing it shortly after I get a little more money in my life.

Anyway, it's a great book full of classic and brand new Al Jaffee drawings, so this was done with his complete cooperation and is basically an autobiography.

Jaffee is the king of the Fold-In and has been a "Mad" mainstay since 1958. He appeared briefly at "Mad" in 1956 and then defected to "Trump" and "Humbug" before his return. What isn't mentioned is his brief tenure at "Cracked" in 1958 before returning to "Mad".

Jaffee himself did not remember working for "Cracked" when I interviewed him last year, but I sent him a few scans and he admitted, "I guess I did!"

Strangely, this "Cracked" detour is not mentioned in this new book, which gives the impression that he went back to "Mad" immediately after the failure of "Humbug". The reality is that not only Jaffee, but Jack Davis and Bill Elder all went to "Cracked" as "Humbug" met its demise. Harvey Kurtzman and Arnold Roth went back to the safety of "Playboy".

Of course, Davis, Elder and Kurtzman eventually returned to "Mad" as well (Davis in 1965; Elder and Kurtzman in 1985). The closest Roth got was "National Lampoon".

Finally, there is an art exhibit at the MoCCA in New York called "Is This the Al Jaffee Art Exhibit?" from October 5th, 2010 - January 30th, 2011. I hope to attend. but probably won't be able to.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Casper and the Spectrals" #3 is out...

This is an interesting series. It's different than anything you've seen before regarding Casper, Hot Stuff and Wendy, so that some longtime Harvey fans hate it. I find it much more intriguing and hope that this has long-term potential.

Unfortunately, there was a year-long gap between issue 1 and 2 that I don't think that this has found its audience. The wait between 2 and 3 has been much shorter (about 2-3 months), but still...

If you do get a chance to get the series (or potential trade paperback) please do, and let me know what you think...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Danny Kaye

I love Danny Kaye. Whom don't I love that I talk about here on this blog? Anyway, I just watched "On the Riviera". Not the greatest Kaye movie, but it contained a documentary about Kaye that was really fascinating.

Kaye seemed to delve into anything that interested him with relish and didn't seem to mind that he was a high school dropout and had no formal training for his pursuits. As a result, he became a Chinese food chef and an airplane pilot and an orchestra conductor and did all of them well!


For those who haven't experienced Kaye in the movies, I'd highly recommend "Wonder Man", "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", "The Inspector General" and "The Court Jester" among others. All are available on DVD, though the first two are quite hard to find nowadays.

Kaye is perhaps best known to today's audiences for his work in "White Christmas", but he did so much more than that, and you should take it upon yourself to expose yourself to more of his work.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"The Hurt Locker" Review

Finally saw "The Hurt Locker". This is an excellent movie. Some people didn't like the ending, but I found it to be a in-depth study of how real troops can start to treat their tours of duty like it's a video game. Also, it features the bizarre and strange ways that terrorists can hide bombs.

Personally, I would never want to see active combat in my lifetime, and I don't really understand war, in general, but I find war movies, particularly ones like these to be intriguingly fascinating. This actually deserved its Best Picture Oscar win.

My highest recommendation.

Still Working on That Old Beatles Book

Just did a few more entries to take me through the "S's" in my upcoming Beatles book. I am at "So" right now. Just a little bit more and then I will tackle "T" through "Z", and then I can publish. Yay!

Still accepting art submissions in exchange for a free copy of this book. I really need early Beatles and post-breakup Beatles drawings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Allan Sherman Golf Album?

I am a huge fan of Allan Sherman and recently Mark Evanier has been posting a lot about him with various video clips of him on "The Tonight Show".

Sherman died in 1973 and was active until the end. One of the last things he did was write a book called "The Rape of the A.P.E.". It is an excellent and funny read if you haven't had the chance to read it yet.

Also, near the end of his life Sherman voiced The Cat in the Hat for at least two animated cartoon specials by DePatie-Freleng.

One thing I don't know about is his album of golf stories. Rhino Records makes mention of this unreleased album that was supposedly recorded in 1973, on some of their liner notes of Sherman reissues and greatest hits collections.

What I want to know is, was this album ever recorded and if so, why hasn't it been released? When "My Son, The Box" came out a few years ago, I was hoping that they would finally release a bit of it, but maybe it doesn't even exist. Does anyone actually know? Mark?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stanford Theatre Adds to Schedule

For my local friends, there's been a last minute schedule addition for The Stanford Theatre: "War and Peace" on Sept. 18 and 19 and "Anna Karenina" with "We Live Again" on Sept. 25 through 27. These movies weren't listed on the last printed schedule. Here's theater owner David Packard saving a seat for you in his currently empty movie house!

Stanford Theatre
221 University Avenue
Palo Alto

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here's the Hot Stuff Book Cover

As a companion piece to my Casper book blog entry, here's the cover for the upcoming "Hot Stuff" volume, to be released by Dark Horse in November.

The New Casper is Out! The New Casper is Out!

After numerous delays, the first ALL-COLOR volume of Casper reprints from Dark Horse is out today. This is a welcome relief to those who seemed to have hated the five-volume "Harvey Comics Classics" series which featured many pages in black and white.

This isn't the first all-color Casper. Some may remember the short-lived volume produced by Sid Jacobson a few years ago, but this one is more in line to what Harvey fans really want and an excellent companion series to the now all-color "Little Lulu" and "Tubby" series.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"The Harveyville Fun Times!" #74

At long last, the 74th issue of "The Harveyville Fun Times!" is available. Why is this so important? Because this is the biggest issue ever at 60 pages!!!

As a result, everything took a LOT longer. Why the huge issues? Because the next issue #75 will be my last as Editor and Publisher. Ben Samuels will be taking over with #76.

If you are interested in securing an issue, please let me know...

Monday, September 13, 2010

More About "South Park"

Still catching up on my "South Park" episodes. Now I am watching season 13 and season 9 in tandem. I tend to like season 13 better with the Britney Spears episode among my favorites of all time.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone said on their commentary that this is one of those polarizing episodes. Either you are on the train or you are not. I guess I'm on the train, because I found it an hysterical commentary about celebrity. Perhaps I found it more funny because I have been guilty of being "paparazzi" on occasion, though I didn't enjoy it.

I love doing celebrity interviews, but I don't like harassing people for them, and I've seen and met photographers like they showed in this cartoon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dr. Seuss

I went to an art gallery last night promoting the artwork produced by Dr. Seuss not intended for the general public.

I love Dr. Seuss. Currently, I am in the process of buying early printings if not the first printing of many of his books. Amazingly, I managed to secure a first printing of "The Cat in the Hat" and I didn't plan it.

Where I purchased it, apparently did not know what they had and I bought it for about three bucks. First editions now go for a few hundred dollars, if not more.

Saturday Night Live Season Five

Finally broke down and purchased Season 5 of the "Saturday Night Live" series. The reason I hesitated for so long was partially financial, but mainly because my memories of Season 5 weren't that favorable.

I am still correct, but there are still some excellent gems. I know that they were really coasting as evidenced by the fact that out of 20 episodes, half of them had hosts that had hosted before and of those, half of those were hosted by the same person twice.

Also, skits seem a little more bizarre and a lot of times, don't really go anywhere. This set an unfortunate precedent that lasts to this day as the writers and performers of "SNL" know that people will watch even if it is only so-so material and performance.

Looking back on it, I don't think things would have been better had Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi stayed with the cast. I have always felt that "SNL" had reached a peak of sorts on the third season and even though seasons 11-17 are also really good, they have never achieved the heights of 3.

Of course, in comparison to season 6, season 5 seems like genius, and it's the last gasp for the original take a look.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Writer's Block 3

Again, I don't really have writer's block. More that I don't have time to write a blog entry today. I'll catch up tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I Love the Old "Tonight Show"

I regularly read Mark Evanier's blog. See it here. Evanier and I have very similar interests. Recently, he has been posting a lot of old footage from Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show", some with him as host doing his monologue and some with guest hosts such as Allan Sherman or Rob Reiner.

I have been enjoying these clips just as much as he has been writing about them, so I hope he offers more. Of course, most of them originate on YouTube but it's nice when someone takes the time to comment on something really rare and special found on that site, and it's not just someone getting hit in the groin with a football or a screaming bride-to-be.

Anyway, enjoy and please keep reading my blog as well...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Fast Willie Jackson Transcription

I finally finished the first pass on my transcription of the interview I did with Bert Fitzgerald, publisher of the "Golden Legacy" and "Fast Willie Jackson" comic books. I had hoped to get a 20 minute interview with Fitzgerald, but ended up speaking with him for over two hours!!

I now have to do a second pass (much easier) and fill in the gaps where I didn't quite hear what Fitzgerald said or just missed it.

Some of the information is unusable, but overall it was a good interview. The results should appear in "Back Issue" magazine some time in 2011.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Pre-Mad Sergio Aragonés?

Since it's Labor Day and I'm kinda lazy, I'm going to re-post someone else's blog here. To view the original, please click here.

Anyway, without clicking through, this is what the original blog says.

"This morning I set out to fulfill an earlier promise I had made to post some actual Al Kilgore art but was sidetracked by a bit of a mystery. You see, I was seeking verification for a Kilgore tale that appeared in Gold Key's Rocky and his Fiendish Friends #1 when I saw a credit (submitted by Karl Wilcox) attributing a Boris and Natasha 5-pager in that same issue to none other but Sergio Aragonés.

"The more I pored over that tale, the more I believed it to be Sergio's work. Here is one detail that seems to bear his mark:

"A passage from Sergio's official bio states:

"In 1962, he decided to try his luck in America, and arrived in New York with only twenty dollars and a folder bulging with his cartoon work. At first, work was slow in coming and what he did sell didn't pay very well, forcing him to work as a singer/poet in Greenwich Village restaurants and to pick up other odd jobs.

"Rocky and His Fiendish Friends #1 is cover dated October 1962, so this story could conceivably be an example of the work that was "slow in coming." If this is Sergio's art, it predates his Mad debut by quite a few months and might be one of his first efforts published in America, although he had been selling professionally to Mexican publications since around 1954.

"His first Mad piece, "A MAD Look at the U.S. Space Effort", appeared in Mad #76 (January 1963). That piece and the Boris and Natasha piece both revolve around the space program. Intriguing.

"It's only speculation, but perhaps Sergio chose the space program as the subject of the Mad article because he had done research on the space program for the B&N story. That's assuming Sergio DID the B&N story, and since only one person (Karl Wilcox) has made that assertation, I can only say it's a definite maybe.

"Your thoughts?"

My response at the time was/is: "Has anyone bothered to contact Sergio? He could tell you if he did it." I have bumped into Sergio a couple of times since reading this, but asking him about this always seems to slip my mind, so if any of you reading this is in contact with Sergio can ask him and let me know his answer, it would be appreciated.

Again, the original artwork is on the original blog...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Robert Schimmel R.I.P.

I just heard that Robert Schimmel died. Shit! What a sad life. He is/was one of my favorite comedians. While he was exceedingly dirty, he had a class with his vulgarity, which is one of his many charms as a comedian. Happily, I saw him perform twice at the Improv in San Jose.

Schimmel's life was sad because he conquered so many things like a heart attack, divorce and cancer and then he dies in a car crash!

Actually, my favorite Schimmel joke is not dirty. It's the one where he takes his daughter to Sea World to see killer whales in their natural habitat...yeah, having clowns ride on their backs and jump through fire hoops! Then they serve filet of fish. What are these, the acts that fuck up?

Another favorite is when Schimmel talks about a friend who says that if you're swimming in the ocean and a shark starts bothering you to punch the shark in the face. Yeah, and if that doesn't work, you can poke him in the eye with your stump.

He will be missed...

Dick Cavett Show

I have been watching many of the old "Dick Cavett Shows" on DVD. While the shows are quite entertaining, I still haven't completely warmed to Cavett himself. Cavett always seems like a beginning comedian on open mike night trying out new material as he stutters and stammers through jokes.

The amazing thing is that Cavett is actually quite witty and amusing, but never seems to quite get it across to his audience or his guests. I suppose he's better than Ed Sullivan, but he veers dangerously in that direction. As a result, Cavett does come across as more charming.

Take, for example an episode featuring George Harrison. Cavett doesn't really have anything important to ask Harrison and so George kind of sarcastically goes through the interview, which makes George look good, but Cavett look like he didn't do his homework.

On another episode with different participants of Woodstock, Cavett is sitting next to the Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick and when Cavett comes up with one of his multiple witticisms, Slick is usually dumbfounded with a "what?" coming from her lips. This is not to say Slick didn't get it, it's more that Cavett is trying SO HARD to be witty that his "In" jokes have "In" jokes and they feed upon themselves and self-destruct.

But, as usual, it is fascinating to see these shows for all of the wonderful guests, and to see them when they're young and/or alive.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Jerry Lewis Telethon

Yes, I am actually a fan of Jerry Lewis. For instance, when Warner Archives put out "Which Way to the Front?" on DVD, I immediately had to buy it, despite it not being available in stores (although I did see it in Amoeba Records in San Francisco, recently). It's not his best movie, but there's still quite a few of his pre-1970 films NOT on DVD.

So, Jerry's going to the host his annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon...AGAIN, and I'm probably going to watch a little of it, just to see how old Jer's doing. He hasn't looked to well as of late. A few years ago, he was overweight due to some medication and now he just looks kind of feeble, but he keeps plugging away. I miss young Jerry, but I still hope he stays with us for a long, long time.

Admittedly, the Telethon nowadays seems somewhat of a joke. As a child of the 70s, I thought that they would find a cure by now. No fault of Jerry's, it's just that I don't think society makes as much progress on things as they used to, and we also always seem to change our focus. Witness the "South Park" episode from a few year's back where Cartman gets AIDS and holds a benefit, but no one shows up, because cancer is now the new "in" disease.

So, the Telethon carries on, and it is the best time to see Jerry nowadays to say the least as he hasn't made a movie or a TV shows in years.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Allan Sherman on CD

For those of you who missed the limited edition Allan Sherman box set from 2005 called "My Son, the Box", now have a second chance. All of the original Allan Sherman albums have finally been released onto separate CDs. This is only about 20 years too late, but oh well.

I still recommend the box over this because it has tons of extra tracks and is still widely available at a reasonable price ($100 for six CDs), but if you want to piecemeal it, you can buy all of the albums separately for about $12 each. They are:

1. My Son, the Folk Singer
2. My Son, the Celebrity
3. My Son, the Nut
4. Allan in Wonderland
5. For Swingin' Livers Only
6. My Name is Allan
7. Live! (Hoping You are the Same)
8. Togetherness

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Beatles - Lady Gaga - Lindsay Lohan - Paris Hilton - Britney Spears

I know I'm just manipulating my numbers, but it's fascinating to see what people search for so I figured I'd do a test. As you can see by the title of this blog entry, I'm determining what would get the most hits based on the name. Most people as of late search for "The Far Side". Let's see what this does. No photos today...