Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Morning, No Blues...

Ya, I know -- "Speak for yourself, Bissette!" Well, this Monday morn finds me applying the final coats of poly to the massive new computer desktop that'll be installed into my studio this week (with just enough poly left to slap one coat on the wall-mounted floor-to-ceiling shelving unit), and it's warm outside and I'm prepping for tomorrow's CCS class all day, so it's all good from here.

Some links, updates, and news:

Meet David Paleo: If Taboo still existed, he'd be there!

Thanks to an October email out of the blue from Argentina, and a followup from Mark Martin, whose email to me prompted contact with one David Paleo and a little connect-the-dots to the earlier October email I referred to, it's my great pleasure to introduce you to a cartoonist you've likely not heard of -- or much of, unless you're familiar with his appearances in The Comics Journal oversize specials, or saw his work in Satan's Three-Ring Circus. Meet David Paleo, whose art would be a fixture of Taboo were I still editing/co-publishing that verboten anthology. He's the first cartoonist I've seen whose work echoes and expands upon that of my old amigo Rick Grimes, though I've no idea if David has ever seen Grimes's work. David's work has its own distinctive intensity, and an eye for detail closer to the more Basil Wolverton-inspired underground comix maestros of yore, but don't take my word for it. You'll see what I mean if you check out these single-page illustrations:

  • Niamis

  • Suaz

  • Vvovil

  • Mark also sent me a link to one of David's stories, and it's mesmerizing, hilarious, perverse, and downright anus-puckering in the extreme. WARNING! Be sure you've finished breakfast/lunch/dinner before clicking to this one! You have been cautioned! If you've the belly for it, check out the scatalogical three-page story
  • "Mengeloid!"

  • __

    Where Oh Where is Horrible Hamilton?

    ALERT! ALERT! Aging cartoonist seeking alien artifact from his youth! Does anyone out there know where I can get my hands on a Horrible Hamilton? I would so love to see my old buddy again.

    Last night I caught the first fifteen minutes of the new WB show Supernatural, which left me cold and indifferent, despite the bug attacks peppering every closing for a commercial break. Yawn.

    Now, I remember when bugs were big, I mean, BIG. And I remember when they invaded the pages of the beloved Sears Christmas Catalog back in '62 or '63, via the unexpected appearance of outsized, green, bug-eyed, blood-veined sac bristling, jaws-agape invertebrate extraterrestrials who presented themselves as -- Hamilton's Invaders!

    That Christmas, these objects of compulsive fascination indeed invaded our Christmas, and they were great monster toys. There was no explanation for who or what Hamilton might be, so I assumed he was the main bug, the BIG bug -- Horrible Hamilton -- and here he is, in all his glory:

  • Horrible Hamilton and his Beetle Battle-buster!

  • Both insects moved -- Horrible Hamilton by a rotation of that quartet of legs, activated by pulling a string out of his ass, the beetle by a little motor and wheels in his carapace underbelly -- and if you pried their jaws open, they would automatically close upon contact with, say, a plastic soldier, or one of the futuristic army grunts featured with the following:

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction to Halt Horrible Hamilton's Invaders!

  • Hamilton's Invaders Helmet!

  • I had them all -- and as a matter of fact, that final item -- the helmet, still in its (beat up) box -- is in the Henderson State University/HUIE Library collection of my weird shit, in case any of you doubt my wistful memories here. Lea Ann, quick, display the helmet! Better yet, wear it! It may be all that saves you from... Hamilton's Invaders!

    I gave up my helmet to the greater good of the Stephen R. Bissette collection at HUIE, but I'd sure love to find a real, semi-live Horrible Hamilton. If anyone has any leads, let me know, please!

    These colorful online pix come to you and me courtesy of the marvelous
  • Gallery of Monster Toys.
  • It's a site my amigo Michael Ryan steered me to, and here's what its sponsors have to say about Hamilton's Invaders:

    "A set of imaginative "giant bug" toys. Though manufactured in the 60's, their B-movie style owed more to the 50's. Three large boxed playsets included one giant bug, a military vehicle and a squad of brave plastic soldiers. Several smaller bugs were sold seperately, as were additional vehicles, soldiers and a helmet that kids could wear. The "leader" bug was named Horrible Hamilton, the biggest of the invading insects."

    Explore the site, and have some fun.

    And if this wasn't a toxic enough dose of my obsessions on a Monday morning, or enough of little ol' me to slake your thirst for Bissettiana, I've just completed on online interview for the regional website iBrattleboro site. It's the website for the closest thing to a real town, Brattleboro, VT, where my daughter Maia and son Dan live and work, so it's home sweet home for some of the Bissette clan.

    Anyhoot, iBrattleboro Grand Omnipotent Stomper and contributor Christopher Grotke asked me some pungent questions (including some I've never been asked before -- read all about my high school animation experiments!), so my futher blatherings await you
  • here.

  • That's that for this morning... Have a great Monday, if the Mengeloid didn't put you off your granola!


    Blogger Gene K. said...

    Nice interview with you, Steve - I've blogged it, so the traffic should increase by, oh, one or two people ;-)

    Blogger Mike Dobbs said...

    I too had the Hamilton Invaders...still have the tank, but the bugs are long gone...had the helmet too I think...

    I want to relate a little story which may or not be of interest. I attended the United Fan Con over the weekend and was chatting with the creators of a indie comic. I had done a story on them about a year ago as they're local guys who are doing a full-color standard sized book and selling it at conventions.

    The book is well-drawn in a cartoony way and is fun - imagine that something called a "comic book" actually has a sense of humor!

    Anyway they have produced their third issue and I asked if they had signed a deal with Diamond for distribution. They told me that Diamond had rejected them because the art was inferior and there was no call for the book in the current marketplace.

    I didn't know that Kreskin worked for Diamond, but I guess their review board are all psychics. How would they know what the public wants unless the public gets the chance to actually see a new product?

    This is, of course, the problem with the comic book industry. Everyone knows that a book can catch on fire with readers once they discover it, but if they're not being given a chance, then no one benefits.

    Of course if they had tossed into seome sex or nudity and placed an adults-only tag on it, they might have gotten past the selection board.

    Blogger dfgdfgasg said...

    David Paleo deserves way more recognition than he's getting! Not only are his comics and drawing astounding, he's a really nice guy to boot.
    All of you with some extra dough should get a hold of him ( he doesn't check email often, as he has limited internet access ) and buy an original page- you won't be dissapointed.

    Blogger SRBissette said...

    Thanks for the blog link, Gene; yes, Arctic Luke, David is a genius!

    Mike, thanks for sharing your con story. The writing was on the wall in '97 when the direct sales market implosion left Diamond the only standing player; this is the inevitable result. Arbitrators of taste wielding the self-prescribed "power of the market" is a form of despotism to be despised. I look forward to seeing those comics when we next get together.

    When a lone distributor controls an entire marketplace (whether by design or proxy is of no consequence), this is the inevitable result.

    Would the current Diamond board have sanctioned the entry into the market of a young Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Rory Hayes, or (more to the point and time frame) Mike Diana or James Kochalka? Trying to imagine a comic history sans ZAP, RAW, etc. -- comics that existed completely outside of then-current distribution venues -- is a pretty dire verdict.

    Anonymous sherman said...

    Great story. My mom bought me the delux Horrible Hamilton playset at Jefferson Store in North Miami Beach, FL in the early 1960s. Guess I was spoiled and threw one of my "I want Horrible Hamilton! I want Horrible Hamilton!". Anyhow, my mom spanked me, I cried some more, she felt guilty, and presto, she bought it for me! Helps to be an only child. Guess what, I still have Horrible Hamilton in mint conditon (he still works and scares the heck out of my mom's cat). Got all the other bugs too. However, the blue soldiers, the helicopter and tank and the box are long gone. Had the helmet too, but gave it away years ago. Great to remember the good old days, they seem alot better.

    Blogger J. Steven York said...

    Greetings from a fellow writing(mostly tie-in novels, MechWarrior, Age of Conan, Marvel's Generation X, Star Trek, etc.) Steve. I stumbled in here because, as it happens, I was just thinking of Hamilton's Invaders too, and Google-linked into this post.

    As a child, I had one of the smaller bugs, the tank, and the helicopter. I lusted after the Sears Catalog playset, more for that cardboard cave than Horrible Hamilton himself, who I thought was a bit goofy looking.

    But my holy grail from the line is an item that might not even exist. I've never seen a picture of it, or seen it listed in any price guide or fan site. I have only my childhood recollection of it in a Dollar Store window. To my (possibly inaccurate) recollection, it was probably the Blue Defender's answer to Hamilton himself, their ultimate weapon. As I recall it, it was large, battery operated, and had rubber tank treads. There were flying saucer disk launchers (like the ones on those spring-launched saucer guns that were everywhere back in those days) on the upper deck. Multiple launchers, possibly as many as four, though I'm not sure. It had a bubble cockpit for the driver, like the other vehicles in the line.

    I'd love to find some proof that this thing existed, a picture, or even just somebody else who remembers it. My guess is that if it indeed exists, it may have been released late in the line's run, possibly in limited numbers, and may be very, very rare. If anybody has any clues, I'd LOVE to hear from you.

    Drop by my occasionally updated blog, or my weekly web-comic "Minions at Work," both linked through my web page:



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